16 October 2016Write about being deserted
He had left her.
Well, not Tanya. Not her, now. But the Speaker of Hastur whose memories now suffused Tanya’s own.
It made the past as clear as day to her. But it was a past of unknown lands and mysterious powers bent against strange creatures.
Tanya hesitated to call it an alternate reality, because it felt so real to her. The whisper of wind through trees, the cold brush of night’s dew on her skin. The rich, clean scent of green leaves – a sharp contrast to the unavoidable pollution that suffused the air now.
It was all just as real to Tanya as the shitty house, the blistering heat of the summer sun on asphalt, and bitter aftertaste of a pale ale.
Now that she carried the coin with her.
Whatever conduit the coin made between Tanya and the long-dead intelligence it connected her to, the strength of it made Tanya see double wherever she went.
The bank teller’s line would melt away for a moment, revealing a tangled nexus of tree-roots from every corner of a vast forest a hundred miles across or more.
And somehow, she knew that he knew every tree’s name.
At home, the drab walls would flicker a moment, seeming to morph into dark stone adorned with dreary candelabra.
Only that bar remained unchanging. For whatever reason, in the weeks sense she’d taken up the coin, Tanya had been spending more and more time at that hipster, millennial bar – both labels that she abhorred most times.
It wasn’t until a few days ago, as these flashes of reality grew to a near-constant pace, that Tanya realized the bar was immune.
She didn’t know how it remained unchanged, but her subconscious had picked up on it and so now she went there as a means toward feeling a little like her old self.
Like her true self, she had to keep reminding herself.
But then she spied that stranger-who-wasn’t-a-stranger again, and the memories of the Speaker of Hastur screamed for her to pay attention.
That was when she remembered that he had left her.
Her husband. The warden of the wicked wood. A powerful sorcerer entrusted with the guardianship of the world, by keeping its magical side hidden.
A powerful and important man. Which meant Tanya had been a powerful and important woman.
Until they had both been betrayed. And her husband abandoned her.
She was still learning the details. But the emotion was clear. The wound was fresh. The pain real.
Though, given the apparent ageless nature of this intelligence, Tanya wondered what the timespan on a “fresh” wound would be.
Best not to think about it unless she wanted to drive herself further mad.
At least now she had a clearer reason for hating that traitor-stranger.
And a clearer goal in mind.