Ion's feet felt cool against the stone. The crushing thrum of the waterfall rattled the mountain and, closing her eyes, Ion allowed the rhythm of the pounding water assault her senses.
She would never again come by this mountain. Her job at the stables was gone. Kerig had hurled what few belongings she had into the road and, if that hadn't been sufficient, he sent his son to fetch the guards.
So be it. She'd grown tired of the smell of horseshit anyway.
Mist from the water sprayed into the air, forming a faint rainbow that hovered over the lake. This close, Ion could see how illusionary it was. Neither end reached the ground and even if it did she knew there would be no pot of gold. No magical little man guarding it. No wishes, no clovers, no luck. Still there was a beauty in it. The arc of the colors hanging before her, more a mirage of a rainbow than an actual one. Faded, the bended light took on a ghostly quality, like it was haunting the lake. What would a spectral rainbow want, she found herself wondering. And how would it go about communicating that.
Ion was so invested in these questions she failed to hear Jeffrey approach. When he spoke, his voice nearly sent her leaping over the edge.
"Heard about what happened. Rotten luck. Kerig's a trotter for acting like that."
Jeffery lowered himself with a soft grunt. Less than three decades spent on this earth yet years of tending pipes had left his body tender and worn out. He raised a dirty hand to his eyes and rubbed enthusiastically. "Didn't do it, did you?"
Ion couldn't help the sound that escaped her lips. Her head had turned toward Jeffery with such ferocity her hair whipped her cheek like a horse's tail. "No worries cutting right to it, I see."
Again, Jeffrey pawed at his eyes. His face had a quality similar to melted waxed. Layers upon layers. She often wondered if it was late nights spent in dark and dingy basements or all the rubbing he did.
"Aw," he said it almost as if he were yawning. "I know you to well to putz. You'd rather I talk about the falls? Pretend like I know the fairy stories better than you? Go on. I'm not gonna go run back to old Kerig. What would be the point. He's already shouting at the guards to do something."
Ion lowered her head. If the guards listened. If they took him seriously.
"Aw, don't worry about nothing. They know Kerig. They're not going to race out looking for nobody on account of him."
Silence settled between them. The falls roared on. In the trees on the other side of the river, birds burst into the air. Two sparrows and what looked like a hawk. They were fighting fiercely, with the two smaller birds darting all around the larger predator, hoping to convince it they were too much trouble for so little meat. The hawk's wings beat fiercely and brown feathers erupted from the large limbs. One fluttered down past the river and landed on the bank opposite Ion. She watched it fall, not wanting to see if the hawk would emerge victorious. When the feather landed, she felt her legs twitch.
"It was Caleb."
It was Jeffrey's turn to look up, startled. His sallow skin looked waxy in the noon sun. "Kerig know that?"
Ion shrugged. Did it matter? Vixen was dead. Kerig had laid the blame at Ion's feet, publicly. Whether or not he was capable of that level of subterfuge was irrelevant. He owned the stables. Ion did not. He was from Cresthaven. Ion was not. Even if others suspected, it would not be worth the trouble to cross Kerig. Least of all because the man was a well-known maniac, and would never rest until his was the only voice that could be heard above the rest.
"He's not well."
Jeffrey raised a pair of quizzical eyes.
"Right. I guess that's true of both of them. But Caleb," Ion's voice trailed off and for a moment she allowed herself to be pulled back across the last seven months. The awkward brushes with the stable master's young son. The night she heard him rustling outside the quarters in the back of the stable. How his eyes scanned all around him, watching for anyone who might spy on him. The fear she felt creeping up
The following challenges were completed during the writing exercise:
Begin Start typing to begin
Location A waterfall
Words Reach 50 words
Event Someone loses his/her job
Letter Use the letter S
Words Reach 100 words
Words Reach 200 words
Character A drowsy plumber
Words Reach 300 words
Words Reach 400 words
Words Reach 500 words
Words Reach 600 words
Words Reach 700 words
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