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Author: rustydragonfly
Challenge: Pineapple 30 (till death do us part), Jelly Baby 8 (so, so sorry), Soft Serve 19/50 (Pumpkin Pie 4: bump in the night)
Toppings: hot fudge, gummy bunnies (origfic_bingo October card: bad day)
Wordcount: 715
Rating: teen and up (violence, language, bit character death)
Story: Manifestations
Summary: Majiv earns her keep while overwintering, the only way she knows how.
Notes: Arc 8 has begun. Yes, I'm being an idiot and starting a new arc one day before NaNo. What can I say, it felt appropriate for the season.



The man cowered before her, his eyes fixed on the bolt she aimed at him. She had him backed into a corner, and he’d either break down or turn on her in an instant if she let this drag out too long.

“You were a danger to everyone here,” she said, “and yourself. You should have ended it a long time ago.”

“She-” But he never finished. His breath came in great gasps, and any more speech became nothing more than incoherent half-words. His hands scrabbled at the walls as if looking for an exit that wasn’t there. Majiv’s finger twitched, ever so slightly, on the trigger. She wondered if he’d seen it. Daylight faded fast outside, turning everything dull and grey.

“She wasn’t your wife,” she said. She could still hear the noise in her head, above the racking sobs at her feet. She’d stood outside, listened to the thumps and screams, and she didn’t need to wonder what she’d find when she’d forced open that locked door. “She stopped being your wife when-”

“You fucking bitch!”

Ah. There it was.

She sidestepped as he lunged at her, aiming a clumsy blow at her chin. He tried to make a run for it while she stood aside, but she kicked out at his legs, causing him to collapse, sprawled out, on the floor. He looked up, his face plastered with tears and strands of old wool from the ancient, rotting rug at their feet. Dust settled around them, stirred by their brief confrontation. “You people! You’re supposed to help! You... you... why did you do that to her? Who the fuck are you?” And, yet again, his voice gave way to choked gasps, muffled as he lay at her feet, all the fight gone from him. He’d never had much to start with. He was young, barely older than Dhaymin at the most, and scrawny, and his hair was a greasy, knotted mess, untouched for months, that spilled over the floor.

“Look up,” she said. Who am I? She could say so much to that. She could spill everything out with her audience at her feet, and then walk away knowing nobody could tell. Someone might know her name, her family.

But she wasn’t Sarn, and she told nothing. The young man did as he was told, strands of hair obscuring his face.

“I’m just someone who doesn’t want to pay for your mistakes,” she said, and took aim.

-

The snow was falling again. It was only a light dusting, but the iron-coloured sky hinted of more to come. She retraced her steps, back to where her sled waited. The dogs were growing restless, as if they too wanted to be back before nightfall. This might have been a little wayside settlement long ago, too small to be called a village, only a cluster of houses that offered a better rest to a traveller than a waystation. Now, just like any other place without suitable defences, they stood alone, their windows shattered, their walls smashed. Alone, unless someone had a use for them.

He’d kept her in there months, by the looks of things, and acted as though nothing had happened. It was not the first time Majiv had seen this happen. Some of them came to her and asked for help, and she gave what she could. Some ran, and she hunted them down. But the worst of them all were the ones who denied everything, and screamed when she did what should have been done long ago.

She was grateful for the cold air. It blew away the smells, made everything clean and fresh again.

“Everything done in there?” Her escort smiled as she waited by the sled, and she made the effort to smile back at him. The dogs barked at her approach, ready for the off.

“It’s over,” she said. “You’re safe.”

“Don’t know what we’d do without you.”

Majiv pulled her coat’s hood up. “It’ll be night soon,” she said. Indeed, the sky grew darker by the minute. To the west, a splash of deep red clouds marked the sun’s passing. It looked so strange, she thought, like the only colour in a grey world. “Let’s go now. We don’t want to be here a minute longer.”

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
ichthusfish
Oct. 31st, 2012 04:18 am (UTC)
Creepy. I guess that's a good way to earn your keep; do the jobs that no-one else want to do, or is capable of doing. Majiv does seem to be uniquely suited to it. Wondering about her assistant now. Good luck with NaNo :)
roisin_farrell
Nov. 1st, 2012 01:12 am (UTC)
Majiv is so totally badass and I love it.
bookblather
Jan. 22nd, 2013 07:38 am (UTC)
Oh, ow. Majiv is so... not emotionless, because she definitely feels something about this, but... repressed, I think might be the right word. Maybe not. She's... I feel bad for her here, because I think she feels bad but can't allow herself to feel bad because of the world she lives in. Great job.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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