Short Story


Elery raised a hand to the stone, pressing her palm flat against the grey and dewy surface. She didn’t wonder what was bleeding into her cell, too relieved by the cool against her forehead to be concerned.

Her eyes shut, she swept a hand through the water; smearing colours she could barely remember across the harsh canvas.
Every notch and welt moved against her skin and she could feel a smile starting. She traced her art with blind and tasteless fingertips, pressed a hole into the sky, tore the rich fabric of night and summoned fire to burn in every niche.
The shadows broke under her will and were given back to the morning, hot and bleeding, but held at bay. Silver freckles amidst the ink.
A flutter rushed heavy grey into clouds and she wrung them out; a fine mist soon the whorl of a cosmos that promised to melt at her touch.
A whisper that clung in the dark.

Elery stepped away from her starry night. The icy hosts dripped from her skin; a frost that melted against the ground. As tears ran down her face, she lifted her chin. Heavy air weighed down on her body but she forced a deep breath.

She opened her eyes.
A blizzard of light roared across the stone. Diamond flurries spiralling in water, throbbing blue and aching black. Sunsets reared on hind legs, their fervent cries trapped and swollen in the moon, making her realise she was watching beautiful war. That day was slain and night was revelling, heady and unleashed.
She watched until the magic trailed away and she was alone, faced by the same brute wall of nothing.

It had done its work.

The stars were gone but they had left her hungry. Their light burned in her mind and she would not forget it.
She had tasted freedom with her eyes.
She would take it for herself.


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