Sandrine stood in the center of the dimly lit room, transfixed. It was the lantern-light that did it, capturing her attention and hold- ing it while temple attendants removed her garments. She stared half-lidded at the lamp in its stand against the opposite wall, soak- ing in its gold-yellow glow like intangible bathwater, and re- hearsed the ritual-words painstakingly taught to her by the mantis.
One of the attendants brushed tangles out of Sandrine’s dark hair while two more gently and efficiently bathed her with warm water sponged over her skin.They kissed her brow when they were finished, and having bestowed this silent benediction, they slipped past her and left. Sandrine stood alone, clad only in the lantern- light.
She felt him before she heard him. He had always been remarkably silent on his feet. Andriu’s breath was a warm curl against her shoulder, an immediate presage for his lips, which pressed there momentarily.
Sandrine turned her head and watched him as he came around to stand in front of her, and his eyes held the same sorrow as the mantis’s had contained. She smiled softly at the sight of him.
“You brought your ink.”
Coming May 5th, 2015