But there are grave consequences for the mortal and divine when they consort with one another, and the gods will have their sacrifice.
Your eyes snapped open and you glanced around the room—a slow, cautious sweep, searching the darkened corners to find my specter. From the way your gaze remained unfocused, I concluded your gift of sight had faded. Selfishly, I hoped you could still hear me.
“Henri?” you asked with perfect pronunciation. Your voice was low and tentative; the first syllable was deep, a man’s voice, while the second lifted like that of a child. Your body, too, seemed suspended between boy and manhood with long gangly legs and knobby knees. Your face was sharp and pointed, eyes still stunningly beautiful, and your curls were looser but no less alluring. You were the picture of Ephebian beauty, and it stirred something inside me I thought I’d extinguished long ago.
“You called me?” I asked.
You smiled shyly and sat back on your heels while pushing the sweat-dampened curls off your forehead. It seemed you’d been scrying for quite some time. Your eyes were a bit glassy, presumably from the cannabis you’d used to reach a trance-like state.
“I did.” You licked your full lips and dipped your head so that your face fell into shadow.
“Lift your chin so I can see you.” Even though it mattered little for my perception, I wanted the light on your face. A small indulgence.
You did as commanded, raising your head and steeling your gaze like a young soldier staring down his first battlefield. You reminded me so much of…
I shouldn’t make those comparisons. Too painful. Too dangerous.
“Tell me your full name,” I said.
“Orlando Bell,” I repeated as my spirit stretched to dial in on our location. I was dismayed to find you still within my territory. Had Santiago been lying? Had you been under my nose this whole time?
“How have you been?” I asked.
“I’ve been… good.” A flicker of unease crossed your expression. It reminded me of when I’d asked you about Roger, and you didn’t want to tell me. A mixture of sorrow and shame.
“You don’t have to lie to me,” I said with as much empathy as the cold tone of my spirit being could muster. If only we could share this encounter as two bodies.
You dropped your head again and changed positions so that your legs were crossed in front of you while staring at the mirror on the ground. The candlelight flickered in your amber eyes, and I memorized the shape of your face, sharp shoulders, slender limbs, your silent way of contemplation. Even in your youth, you possessed a quiet elegance that would inspire painters of old to beg for your pose.
“I’ve been calling you,” you said.
“I’m here now,” I said as reassurance, “and I’m listening.”
Prize One - Book Bundle
Prize Two - Book Bundle
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