13. Set me ablaze.
What is being human if not to love and feel. What is being human, woman with skin as pale as moonlight and hair the color of ember? Oh, son of demons. I ask you what is it to be human if not to sacrifice.
It had been six days since we met with the Fire priestess; I was no closer to solving the riddle and it was already the day of the blood moon.
We had spent the days in the company of the nomads on the outskirts of the ruins. Kali, the stray dog laid beside me as I puzzled over what the fire priestess said.
You will both have to let go of what you want, in order to get what you need.
“I fucking hate riddles,” I muttered into the sands.
The weather was surprisingly cool. Clouds covered most the scorching heat from the sun and provided a shade so rare, the nomads decided to sing in appreciation. Our adopted tribes people sat around in a circle with their instruments at the ready, but I sat a little ways off watching them as they sang a song that chilled me down to my core.
tohse naina laage mili roshni
tohse man jo laaga mili zindagi
mohabbat jise baksh de zindagani
nahi maut par khatm uski kahaani
“What are they saying,” I asked Bharat. He sat beside me, petting Kali to sleep. I was mildly surprised as to how quickly the two became friends.
Bharat sighed, his eyes to the clouds.
“My eyes are entangled with you and I got light
My heart entangled with you and I got life
Love, which forgives -- gives someone his or her life
Their story doesn't end with their death.”
I felt sick.
I needed to get away. Somewhere far from the music and the people. I need some solitude. I wrapped a blanket around me and walked away from Kali and Bharat. I walked away from the camp and the ruins. I just needed to go as far as I could until I couldn’t hear the music. I needed to find Laurent.
Laurent had been avoiding me the last few days.
“If that stupid shit ran away so that I don’t sacrifice his ass – “
Out in the distance I could make out a lone figure sitting on the desert sands; I made my way over to him.
“I thought you ran away.”
Laurent scuffed. “I am bound to the mirror. All you have to do is say my name and I’ll be pulled back.”
“The blood moon is tonight. It’s either me or you.” I chuckled, masking my angst.
Laurent kept his eyes on the sands. “I should not have bound you to that promise. I did not know the price.”
He was giving me a way out.
I did not know why the decision I had to make tormented me so much. It was rather simple; I did not have to honor the pact. I would be rid of Laurent and become fully human. It was exactly what I wanted. Why was I making things more difficult then they needed to be?
“All we need to do is solve the riddle that’s all. Stop being dramatic. Then we can both get what we want.”
I began to pace. I could already feel the change beginning. It was still day, true but I could feel the anxiousness of the beast wanting to be let out.
“The priestess said we must let go of what we want to get what we need, right? So what I want is to be fully human. What about you?”
Laurent said nothing.
I paced. Towards Laurent. Away from Laurent. Towards him. … Away. Back. Away. Back.
“We need to figure this out. What is it that you want?”
Laurent stood up. “You to stop pacing like a wild animal.”
Away. Back. Away. Back. I paced.
I turned to face Laurent on my millionth pace, and he pulled me to him.
I stood where he held me and I looked into his dark eyes. “We need to figure this out and you’re not helping unless you want to get sacrificed.”
Laurent glared at me. “Fine, you want to know what I want?”
He grasped me tighter and pulled me closer. I gasped as he pushed himself on me.
“Do you really want to know what I want, wolf?”
His eyes were dark and dangerous, deep and wanting.
I couldn’t trust myself to speak but I whispered out, "To be rid of the demon? To be human?"
Laurent leaned to me and whispered into my ear. “You.”
His breath tickled my ear and sent shivers up and down my spine.