Waiting for Rebirth

It’s Me Me Monday! A day to strut and celebrate one’s Me-ness. Alas, poor Damian doesn’t feel much like celebrating. Too much of his bitter disappointment in Gabrielle is coming to the surface in the next part of ‘Waiting for Rebirth’.

Only she hadn’t. She’d opened her Navel for business, only the shop didn’t exactly do business. It drew customers inside, looking for something they couldn’t quite name, but somehow needed.

“We’re on the edge of reality, where sentiments lost take form.” Gabrielle had turned around in her shop, resplendid in a hat covered with feathers, sea shells, and a smiley face tucked in the brim. “Every object claimed in the Navel is a soul becoming more whole..”

“Only a little,” Damian had retorted. “You could do much more in the Shadow Forest itself.”

“More is risky. Besides, the Door won’t open for me.” ‘Brie had uttered these words with careless ease that struck Damian like a stone hitting his chest. “There’s nothing I want there.”

Nothing she wanted. ‘Brie was quite content in her silly shop with her silly clothes, helping silly people. It didn’t matter that she could have been so much more. She didn’t care. She just squandered her power, pretending to be a shop keeper. All she ever did with her magic was hand out trinkets. Objects infused with bits of memory and character her customers didn’t know they’d lost.

“Why should I want more than I have?” A tiny wrinkle of frustration had appeared between Gabrielle’s slender golden eyebrows. Damian felt a certain vicious satisfaction to see this reflection of his own discontent in her face. “My shop helps people in little ways, every day.”

“It’s petty!” he’d snapped, trying to find the right words, the right expression for his discontent. “Is this what I left my life behind for?”

“What life?” Gabrielle had looked him straight in the eye. “You were going to be a marriage feast. No one wanted that for you, not even Duessa.”

“What?” Damian had stared at Gabrielle, his mentor, whom he’d defied his aunt to follow. “What are you saying?”

“Damian, your aunt knows you’re here.” Gabrielle had frowned at the expression on his face. “Did you really think she didn’t?”

“I thought I’d escaped from her.” Damian had ripped each word out of his throat, feeling like bits of himself were being torn. Maybe Gabrielle would find pieces of him in this shop, among all the other discarded emotions which were now dolls, crystals, or chicken statues.

He’d stared at the skulls on the shelf. He’d shaped them out of clay with his hands, pretending each one of them belonged to a boy who’d been a Marriage Feast. He’d named each of them after someone who was now a statue, beautiful and eternal in his wife’s garden. Only their essences were gone. They’d been drained on their marriage nights.

If only those skulls were real. If only he could bring them back. If only Duessa knew what he truly wanted. She never would have let him escape.

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