“I don’t know why we did it…. No, that’s not true, I know. We love her, you know? She’s our last daughter. The last daughter we’ll ever have. What would you have done?”

In the dim greeness of this twilight meadow, the folk lay their small girl onto the table. It’s strewn with the candles and flowers that hold their prayers and the small, many-colored notes of curling letters that turn those prayers to crystal. The girl breathes, though her body is torn and the palor of that craven hunting spirit spreads across her. Gabda steps forward from the circle and stands at her head. He lays his own flower, the last, upon the table, and his worn felt hat beside her. His own breath comes painfully as he begins, his rheumy eyes fixed upon her. There are no words and all know their place. His thick old hand, creased with time and work, draws down the light from heaven. His other draws the warmth of the Earth. Flow to my heart and open. Through a slow crack, green, liquid light unfolds. The gifts of the folk are revealed, and the pall of the spirit that hangs over their little daughter. Each note burns with an inner light and their words flow before Gabda’s eyes, each spoken with the voice, the life, of every person he has ever known and loved, but through this all he sees is the girl. The greyness of the spirit upon her snarls and snaps as he touches her skin. The icy, nervous pain of its teeth sinks in, but his hand is not stayed. The words glide down his arm and his hand moves, threads of light weaving each into their little daughter. The spirit screams as his hands work the threads and spirals across her. “She is mine!” it screams. Gabda holds half a beat and his eyes say a single thought “No.” He holds her heart in each hand and the spirit’s poison flows out into the Earth. The heart is translucent. A vessel of glass that will not beat. His face becomes heavy and Gabda reaches into his own chest. In his hand is a simple white note of three beats. I love you. He breathes into her heart and it is glass no more.



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