"Why are you crying?" he asked instead of answering. His hand lowered back to his side and his gaze sharpened. "Has someone harmed you? Was there someone else in here?"
Her lips parted, but no noise left her mouth. The answer died on the edge of her tongue. Her expression twisted with a grimace and her hand lifted, fingers pressing against her temple. Her eyes fluttered shut and, within the darkness of her mind, the ghost girl's face appeared. A slender finger was pressed against the girl's lips, another wintery storm entrapped within her coal-like eyes.
"Ravenna," Vyses said sternly.
"I don't know," she admitted, her voice a mere whisper. That ache returned to her chest, tugging against her lungs and strangling her from the inside out.
Vyses frowned. "Ravenna, look at me."
Her eyes shot open and locked with his.
Immediately, warmth flowed through her. Vyses reached out again. His hands slowly cupped her cheeks, and this time she didn't flinch. Her eyelids seemed to fill with lead, lowering slowly as she let out a sigh.
"Better?" he asked, dipping his head closer to her.
She nodded. "Yes," she breathed out, and leaned back, away from his hypnotic gaze. Her tears had returned yet again, burning at the corners of her eyes until they trickled down her cheeks. His warmth still lingered in her veins, blossoming across her skin like a blush.
"What ails you?" he persisted.
Her half-lidded eyes met his once more. "I'm not human," she whispered. The words slipped out before she could comprehend what she was saying.
Vyses blinked at her, an eyebrow arched. "Neither am I."
The words sailed through one ear and out the other. Ravenna let out another sigh and shook her head. Her nose scrunched up. The haze inside her head seemed to be fading, clearing into coherent thoughts. She glanced back over her shoulder at the window, partially expecting to see the little ghost girl staring back.
A hand touched hers.
Her fingers curled, balling into a fist. Her gaze sharpened and she pinpointed Vyses with a suspicious look. "What are you doing to me?"
"I think you had a little too much fun tonight," he remarked, the corners of his lips twitching upward. "You need sleep."
Ravenna glared at him. "I am not drunk."
"Of course not," he agreed with her. His hand tightened around her wrist and gently pulled her upward, onto her feet. His other hand lightly touched the small of her back, lightly guiding her toward the bed.
Another wave of anger sizzled through Ravenna. She whirled away from his touch, yanking her wrist from his grip. "There was a little girl in here," she snapped, glowering at him. "A ghost."
Both of his eyebrows arched. "And what did this little ghost want?"
"She told me that I would die here, in this room," Ravenna answered. "That this room was cursed and that someone would kill me."
Vyses skewered her with a stony look. "Ravenna, you speak of myths. There is no curse. There will be no murder within these walls."
"Has anyone died here before?" she asked and folded her arms across her chest.
Instead of answering, he said, "It will be morning soon, and your head will ache worse if you stay up longer. You have had too much to drink."
Ravenna's hands curled into fists. "I have not!"
Vyses regarded her with a guarded expression. He turned toward the door, pausing only to look back at her from over his shoulder. "Sleep well, Ravenna. And please do not mention your little ghost girl to other patrons. I don't need the town up in arms over your inability to handle alcohol."
Her eyes widened. In that moment, she swore she saw a pair of triangular shaped ears atop his head, colored white with short fur.
The second that she blinked, the ears vanished. The door closed behind him. Ravenna's nails dug deeply into the heels of her palms, piercing her skin. Shards of ice spread out across the floor around her, aimed at the doorway.
She breathed, in and out, and focused on the air as it left her lungs. Slowly her anger faded and the ice melted.
Her anger was misguided. Neither Vyses or the ghost girl were at fault, and she knew it. Her anger stemmed from her situation; forced into a life filled with uncontrollable magic and death. The ghost girl had simply uncovered the memories that Ravenna had worked so hard to suppress. And the alcohol certainly didn't help.
"I am crazy," she announced to no one in particular, her fingers trembling. With a sigh, she turned around, sinking down onto the bed with her head resting in her hands.
Something slumped against her foot. She peeked out between her fingers, spying the culprit. Her knapsack spilled open, revealing the crisply curled edges of a few scrolls.
Her hands lowered. "That's right," she told herself quietly. Through the chaos of the party, the warmth of her happiness, and the ghastly visit, she'd almost forgotten about her purpose for being in this town.
The quicker she learned to be more observant, the quicker she could leave. A swift departure meant that the chances of her losing control were very slim, and that the friendly little town would survive her visit.
She really didn't want to accidentally kill somebody.
I find it greatly ironic that I am posting this chapter on my 21st birthday, considering it concerns alcohol a great deal. And yes I have had quite a bit to drink tonight. I hope you enjoy this chapter! <3
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[wattys 2018 shortlisted] Humans see her as a dangerous threat -a witch that must be executed. With the uncontrollable ability to form ice at her fingertips, Ravenna is forced into hiding amongst the humans, stealing to survive. That is, until she h...