Part 1 Superstition
– NAMES FOR BLADES –
The sky was still bright enough but caught amber on the west side. Darkness approached, but only I could feel it around me. The silence was accompanying a sense of dread and heaviness on my chest. “We should hurry,” I told Frank.
No birds chirped, no animal rustled the leaves. The longer we had our feet on the trail, the quieter the forest got. We were already far enough, that the commotion from the trailhead didn’t reach us. As if there were no humans at all.
Ennoia and Meme were far ahead. I barely felt them, as if they ran to the other side of the county. Frank was right behind me, his hand pressed at his side. His heavy breathing sounded muffled as if he was fighting, or running. His upset mind was somewhere else, floating, drowning in shadows. Was it possible, that he felt it too?
The skin on my nape burned, my fingertips tingled. “Frank?” This was bad. I felt the muscle on my back stiffen as if my body braced for impact. “Frank?” No answer. The man behind me felt like an angry puppet, all hollow and hot. I turned to him. “Snap out of it!” His eyes got as big as saucers as if I spoke Chinese. Something bright and flashing sliced through my mind. It must be a blade of some kind. That was a breach of fae tradition. If he brought a nameless blade, it’d turn on him. And me. “Did you bring a knife with you?” This was dangerous. Frank wanted to kill, and I was the next best thing for target practice. “Take that knife out. I know you want to.”
Frank was far away, his mind struggling to focus, eyes huge but blankly staring ahead. It took him a while to process what I just said, but he did what I asked for. He looked down to his right hand, sliding the knife out of its holster. It was a hunting knife. The gleaming steel seemed brighter than usual. He trembled and tried to speak, but couldn’t. “Now you are going to name that blade.” His brows knitted. “Just do it. Give it a name. Now.”
It took an eternity, and I was about to brace myself for an attack, but he spoke. “Ma-Margo. The name is Margo.” He stuttered.
As if a weight had lifted from his shoulders and back, he breathed freely. His eyes cleared and the shadow left him. “Better now?” He nodded.
“How? How did you know?” I tried to smile at him. “This was -I could only think of-” His voice trailed off. Better he did not know, that I felt his bloodlust. I knew how badly he wanted to use that knife, on anything alive. Cute little trick, I’d have to come back at another time and search for a taglock, or something similar.
“Of murder?” I completed his sentence. His pale face shone with confusion. He nodded slowly. It wasn’t his fault, really. I smiled peacefully. Frank’s troubled expression stayed. “Never enter a forest with a nameless knife, or it will turn on you.” He looked hard at the cold blade, realizing how close he had been to give in, and follow its call. “Don’t fret. You wouldn’t be the first one.” I shrugged and turned to go, but he grabbed my shoulder.
“I’m sorry.“ His grip was warm, he truly meant it.
“It’s this unforgiving place. Be careful, don’t lose yourself. I’d hate to kill you,” I said and turned to follow the trail. The boulder field was a promising spot to cross over the threshold. The transition could be a bitch when I was alone, but now. It’d be bad… And time, for once, wasn’t on our side.
featured image: trail, by author