Title: A THOUSAND YEARS TO WAIT
Young Adult Fantasy
Reina and Quinn’s group has just escaped a surprise attack as they traveled through a mountain pass. After hard riding, they have set up camp for the night. Quinn and another companion have suffered mild wounds and Reina, as Healer, is tending to Quinn.
I continued to hold the cloth to Quinn’s face as my eyes fell upon the dark stains on his tunic.
Finally, I asked, “What happened? To what chaos did we leave you?”
Quinn did not immediately respond. Instead, he reached a warm hand up, closing it gently over mine as he pulled it down and cradled my palm in his.
“Do not ask to know the details of death, Reina,” he said, his eyes dark.
I opened my mouth to reply, but was unable to find a suitable response. Did he think me too weak to hear of death? Did he think I’d never seen it myself? It was true that most of my experiences with death were due to illness and old age, but I had seen blood, I had seen pain, and I knew what waited in the end.
“Ah, settle, Reina,” he said upon seeing the fight in my eyes. “’Twas not an insult against you.”
I did not hesitate this time. “What am I to think?”
He covered my hand with both of his, rubbing a calloused thumb lightly against my palm. “You’ve too much life within you to hear of death. I would sooner steal the song from the meadowlark than dampen your light with talk of darkness.”
Wide-eyed, I found my lungs reluctant to fill with air. “What talk is this?” I managed in a whisper.
Quinn dropped my hand.
“Antony,” he said loudly. “You’ve a wounded arm. Let Moreina tend to you.”