Last week, I started off the series with Mateo’s story. Enjoy this week’s Rule of Three post.
Barren branches swayed over Tanara who was balanced on the balls of her feet digging into the now sporadic patches of yerbias that survived the fires that nearly destroyed the Assart. She pulled the snow white flower that grew a deep burgundy root that she needed for the stranger, Mateo. It would help stave off his soon to be infection.
Her mind wandered incessantly to his brown eyes that were distant but not cold as if he was hiding who he was behind a façade of bravado. Or perhaps he had been spurned before; either way she was unable to distance herself from his face.
She wiped her hands on her skirt and stood. A breeze tickled her face; she stood for a moment to offer thanks to Mother Earth.
A branch snapped behind her. Tanara reached into her pouch where she kept the herbs and pulled out a small dagger. Her shotgun lay safely nestled by the table where she told fortunes. How silly of her to believe it to be safe here in the ghost forest.
“Dimitri” she said, lowering her weapon.
“Expecting someone else” Dimitri answered circling her like a starved coyote.
He moved forward reaching one hand to touch silky black hair, twirling it around his finger.
“You are so beautiful.” he said, leaning forward
“Flatterer.” she said turning away as his lips landed on her cheek.
“Did you help Mateo like I asked you to?”
“Did you tell him his fortune?” he asked.
“No, I stitched him up. I gave him vague prophecies but…”
She stopped as Dimitri pushed her into the nearby tree, grasping onto her throat. He smiled as she gasped for breath, her nails clawing his hand.
Tanara’s struggle made him press a little harder into her flesh. Black dots swam in front of her eyes as he leaned towards her.
“I told you to tell him to go to the Miller house. I cannot enter my own home anymore. I need the book, Tanara.” he whispered, releasing her.
Tanara breaths were shallow as she tried to fill her lungs.
“Tell him to go in three days, Tanara. Or I will come back for you?” he said.
She could only watch as he walked through the dying trees back to Renaissance.
In the middle of a dying forest, Tanara cried to Mother Earth to free her from this duty and from this curse. But, the forest was silent and still and at that moment she knew she was alone.