The Ninth Wave

The things they do tell you.

Drink deep the poppy, to count the sheep and only sheep. Take the wool that is given, and knit your wedding dress, then your shroud.

The storm will pass. Hold up your hand to blot out your fears and count slowly, under your breath for fear of murdering the calm that is sure to settle.

You do not bleed, you will never burn.


But you do, in leaping gouts.


And that wave you were told to hold back, the one that threatened and seethed all those years ago, it grows so high as to blot out the sun and steals the wings of that poor little blackbird.


The things they never tell you.

First, the witch lies. She will sit across from you, trace her line in your hand and tell you of children. But they are not yours, not when it should count.

Second, no matter how hard and deeply you love, eventually they stop seeing you. They will wonder out loud at how their world can turn so smoothly. And you will stand before them, your hands calloused from the crank, and you will turn away. They will not see you leave.

And third, blood is like sludge. At first, when you tear into flesh, it slips through your fingers, trailing thick, glistening lines. But as it cools, the copper in the air turns to rot and that red pool begins to clot.


There was no love waiting for you.


Your little lights are dark.


When they find you, sure as the coming dawn, you will fall like a stone.


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