Emily glanced through the doorway. Light stretched a corridor. She crept inside. It smelled of stale jewels. She walked halls of ivory and silver. Her steps echoed. It felt like the palace had unravelled over the city and the windows would only look into other gilded rooms. Paintings of gleam and majesty weighted the walls. Vast mirrors flung polished light. She glanced at portraits of past Kings and Queens, but couldn’t read their names. She’d long forgotten all words.
She drifted through an archway. A tall woman stood facing broad windows, looking at the streets below. Her velvet robes had the shimmer of glacier paths. Emily shuddered as Our Lady turned and glided across the floor.
“Speak,” she said. Her voice was as soft as feather float. Emily’s hands were in her cool grasp. Emily tried to run but couldn’t feel her feet. “Speak.” Our Lady stroked Emily’s hair. “Speak,” she murmured. Emily didn’t understand her words. Our Lady’s voice was star whirls. It wrapped Emily. She pressed her ear to Emily’s chest, but Emily had no words inside her. Emily tried to struggle free. “Where are your words?” Our Lady placed her fingers on Emily’s mouth. Her touch was frost thorns. Emily’s heart hurt. The air was solid. It was hard to breathe. “I need your words.” Our Lady clawed at her. “Give me your words.” Her voice became ice-shrill. It raced. Her nails scratched Emily’s face. Emily felt Our Lady’s words rushing over her, spider-fast. Our Lady sank to the floor. Emily looked down at her still and silent body.
Rebecca Harrison sneezes like Donald Duck and can be summoned by a cake signal in the sky. Her best friend is a dog who can count. She’s been nominated for Best of the Net, and was a finalist in the first Wyvern Lit flash fiction contest. Her stories can also be read at Pigeonholes Magazine, Maudlin House, Luna Station Quarterly, and elsewhere.