Rhoda’s Death

Let’s get Rhoda killed off already…

Rhoda coughed then cringed from the pain. “Dammit.”

“Hold still, Rho-sweet,” Wendel said. “It’s not as bad as it looks. You’ve only been abed a day. We’ve got the time to find Morgan.” From behind Wendle, a monk squeezed her arm firmly then released his grip slowly; it was as bad as it looked.

Wendle tucked a few of Rhoda’s lavendar highlights behind the girl’s ears. This close she looked like her older fair-haired sister Morgan. Wendel knew they looked alike, all the Bearforts favored their father’s northern heritage, but she had not realized how much the girl’s dark hair and braids defined her. Nor how much she herself had let that dark hair convince her that Rhoda wasn’t Morgan’s little sister.

Wendle felt Rhoda’s warm breath on her own lips, and when she closed her eyes she betrayed Rhoda with a thought of Morgan. [expand that here, but not now]. Wendle opened her eyes to the cooling sensation of Rhoda inhaling.

“Is it dead?”

Wendle bit back a sob and nodded her head just enough.

“Good. I lost my foot though?”

Wendle echoed the nod. Rhoda looked to the darkness in the rafters for a moment. Then, reclaiming Wendle’s attention, she said, “Skin it. And have it taken back home.” The girl hadn’t lived on the Bearfort estate since before Wendle and Morgan were wed, but there was no question which home she meant. “Tell my father it choked on my foot. That’s good for a laugh at the table.”

Wendle nodded a third time and felt a smile stretch across her face. “It is and I will.”

Rhoda pressed the cuff of her shirt to Wendle’s tears. She surprised Wendle by hugging her close where Wendle smelled the girl’s black hair and tan skin. Melon from their bath this morning; dust from the road this afternoon. The undabbed tears on Wendle’s opposite cheek smeered through the würm’s blood on Rhoda’s own. Then, in her ear: “No one cries for me. No one. Now get out and get Morgan.”

The strength of Rhoda’s shove put Wendle on the polished floor and sparked the monk up from the stool where he waited for today’s last death. The monk insinuated himself to Rhoda’s side; rough fingers searched out a pulse on her neck. Wanting to do as Rhoda commanded—wanting to find her Morgan, Wendle stood but didn’t leave. “Is she?”

The monk situated Rhoda’s lolling arm to her chest. “Near enough.”

“Will she…”

“No,” he said. His placid face emphasized the point. “If you leave a little money, we’ll see she’s taken care of.” Wendle wanted to rain fire down on the man and his monastery. How dare he dismiss her death like turning a page to find another waiting. Blah blah….

Wendle looked at the girl. “She was a sorceress. A…the Bearfort sorceress.” She snatched the monk’s attention from the floor. “And my sister.” Wendle’s words dropped like a bell from a tower.

“Then you have my gratitude for being able to serve [our lord] and my assurance all will be well taken care of. Thank you.”

When Wendle reached the infirmary’s archway to the outside hall she stopped then turned and came back to Rhoda’s bed. Kissed her sister’s lips and left faster this time than the first.

There are pieces to this that I very much need to clean up and pieces that need repairing but for now I’m done.

578 words on day 841

I Have Maybe 82 Books Left to Read Before I Die

There are books.  There are lists.  And there are the Internets.

These three things combine occasionally to brush past me like a work friend on her way to get coffee or lunch.  We pause to chat then get back to whatever we were up to before crossing paths.

Today she passed me again.  A thought I had the first time but didn’t mention rose to mind again this time, so I’m mentioning it now.

In recent years I’ve been reading maybe three books a year, because I just need the time.  I’m not like some of these monsters that crank out a couple books a month.  At 39 a 230 pound non-smoker doesn’t have alot of good years past 80, so that leaves me 41 years of book reading available.

2 * 41 = 82

I have at best less than one hundred books I can read before I die.  No shit, that scares me too.

I should have a plan to remedy this.  A few things that come to mind:

  • Lose weight
  • Read shorter books
  • Kill the TV
  • Kill the Internet
  • Read faster
  • Live longer
  • Audio books (do those count as read?)

That’s about it.

How many books do you have left to read before you die?