from My Goblin Warrior


Night and the smell of rain drifted through the opened window.

"Don't let my looks fool you," she said. She stood before the mirror, certain the eyes of the man were on her. "I'm older than you think."

The mantle clock whirred and marked the hours, as a current of air caused the pages of an opened book to flutter. Silver wings of an injured bird.

"I knew your father when he was a boy, I can guess how old you are," he replied.

She paused to consider this. "You knew Poppa when he was young?"

His voice came from the shadows. "I knew who he was."

Time slowed.

"I knew his father," the man continued. "And his father's father."

Was he sitting in a chair, or was he standing by the window?

"You're teasing me." She wanted to believe this. "Why do you say those things?" she asked, her image shimmering before her. There was no answer.

The room was lit by a single light projected on the white dress she wore. She looked at herself in the mirror and wondered, was he sitting in a chair or standing by the window? She'd met him only a week ago, and it was difficult to say what she'd seen in him that appealed to her. "Sometimes you frighten me," she said. The air grew cold in the room, as she fought to control her fear. Steadying herself, she forced a smile. "Had we met before -- before last Saturday, I mean?"

Darkness gathered itself behind her.