Something Goes Wrong

Excerpt from work-in-progress “The Song of Isadora”


Cybil jumps awake in a cold sweat. Shivering, without thinking, without knowing, she pulls on a robe and finds Sebastian. His dander is up and she knows her instinct is right.
Something went wrong.
Elsie.
She must find Elsie.Just this once, she whispers to Sebastian. Faster than we can be seen. Elsie must know first.

WIth that, she throws a leg over Sebastian, who increases in size and decreases in hair before taking off through hidden corridors, in a time not seen by any.

This is not a time for subtlety, Cybil believes. Certainly not in front of Elsie. She must know. She must know quickly and she must know now.

As if reading her thoughts – and who knows, Sebastian probably can – he speeds up his pace, reaching Elsie’s room before the door to Cybil’s swings closed.

Elsie.Elsie, come out. Open the–

It swings open. No need to tell me what to do, Elsie speaks in a voice not her own and unheard. Except she’s listened to it her entire life.

You can–

Of course. I thought you were the one who gave me this curse.

Gift, Elsie, it is a gift.

You still really think so? I think it shall be nothing but a curse.

Cybil tries not to show how worried this, everything makes her tonight. Sebastian reminds her why they are there at all with a low growl.

Elsie, we will talk longer later. We must–

Elsie’s eyes cloud with concern and start crying against her will. Isadora? I dreamed, no, I didn’t even sleep this night, but —

Something went wrong. Come with me.

I have to see her. I have to–

Elsie, come with me now.  Cybil stares long and hard at this young girl, this girl-soon-to-be-woman whose eyes turn darker with every word. By month’s end, Cybil thinks without saying, Elsie’s eyes will be pure indigo as her own.

Elsie. I’m trying to explain this as calmly as I can. We have no time.

Cybil suddenly tenderly touches Elsie’s shoulders, as much to calm her own heart as this girl’s.

Elsie, they will blame you.

It’s true, then?

Cybil hears more wonder and pain than she remembers ever feeling herself, as a girl that young.

Something went wrong Elsie. They are going to blame you and I can’t — we can’t let that happen.

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