At least, that’s what it felt like. A hot, sick feeling sat just below his ribs and spread like fire up his spine and into his throat. He hunched around the feeling. Held himself, fingers digging into his upper arms. His sinuses and his eyes burned, and he found himself trying not to cry.
Only, none of that was really his. It was Sor’s guts that felt too heavy, Sor’s sinuses that felt too raw. Her tears, too, in all likelihood. Blurring his vision. Sticking her eyelashes together.
And her magic, curling around his heart and dragging spindly legs over his lungs.
This was worse than any injury he’d ever had to endure. He had to have been bleeding internally. Ruptured something important. Developed spontaneous, stage-four magic-cancer.
Sor’s shop was closed, and locked, and there wasn’t a bell. Zebra did knock, but that only made the glass door rattle in a way that he knew would not carry well through the rest of the building — though, even a wooden door would have trouble announcing visitors to the fifth floor, or the sub-basement Zebra knew was lurking beneath the building.
He stalked around the front, not sure what he was looking for. Katters, maybe, passed out on Sor’s lawn like a drunken idiot. It had been a while since she’d last gone on a bender, perhaps she was due.
If Katters had dragged him out here because she’d been drinking more than she could handle, again, he was going to kill her. Continue reading →
It took Zebra a week to notice Katters was missing.
Well, no. He noticed immediately, or near enough. It was odd, that she didn’t come home that first night, that her bed remained empty clear through to the following morning. Odd that she skipped work the next day, and the day after, and the day after. Odd that she didn’t take her turns in the basement.
But it didn’t sink in that she was gone gone, not until a week had passed.
Zebra’s voice carried, sing-song, through the house, and Katters considered jumping out a window.
Zebra had been bored, lately, and he acted that frustration out in ways that usually ended poorly for her. Whatever he had cooking this time, she wanted no part of it — but before she could even leave the bed, he was at the door.
“There you are.”
“I’m reading.” She held her book up before obstinately settling herself against the headboard.
He walked into the room with the confidence of a pick-up artist on a bus and sat himself on the end of the bed. He had a plastic bag with him, and he let that hang between his knees.