“You Will Hear Thunder” by Anna Akhmatova Inspires Julie

YouWillHearThunder_AnnaAkhmatova

Dragonheart

This is the bottom, I think, getting up the nerve to leave my car. The old woman, Madame Ming, is standing at the end of the block in the afternoon sunlight, right where the email told me to find her. I drove two circles before I parked, to check that no one else was waiting for me. Portland isn’t New York City, but it’s Old Town, so I have to be careful.

Finally I step out of my car, one hand sweaty on my keys and the other buried in my pocket with the roll of cash. Madame Ming turns at my approach. She is a head shorter than me with cropped gray hair. Her blue tang suit is faded, her arms folded into the deep sleeves.

I stop a yard from her, and she eyes me. I’m wearing my Lewis & Clark College hoodie. So much for being anonymous.

“You have the money?” she asks in accented English.

I look around and nod, not ready to pull out the wad. She moves her hands and displays a bottle, bulbous at the base with a tapering neck, stoppered. Exactly what I imagined a potion bottle would look like. The glass is clear and the mixture inside is a deep, honey-amber like mead.

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Happy Cimmerween! From Julie

Cimmerween!

Feathers

Attilles warned me of the destruction the leggers would bring to the land. As I fly south, smoke from their dying fires chokes me. The sky is still deep gray, though if I squint I can see the hairy sleeping bundles. I have a few more hours to find his body before they wake.

I left the roost yesterday evening when Threnody, the hen from Kouhmar settlement, told me Attilles was dead. His blood feather is in the pouch around my neck. When I try to picture Attilles, Threnody’s gray face looms before me instead, and her words:

“He seduced me. I didn’t know he had your feather, Rai.”

She tried to touch my hand, and I nearly slashed her with the knife I’d readied for myself. Instead, I left. A warrior’s body should be cremated, so the soul can fly…

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