Robin woke to a raging headache and a sightline blocked by metal bars. He tried to speak.
Something held his mouth shut.
He tried to touch it.
His hands were pinned to the wall.
He tried to turn his head.
His head was pinned to the wall.
He tried to do anything with his feet, his legs.
Pinned to the wall.
He could do nothing except blink his eyes and breathe through his nose.
What the heck?
He looked straight ahead.
The male fey stood there in black slacks and a close fitting, long-sleeved shirt that made him look even slimmer than the average fey. His wings were tucked out of sight. “Hello.”
He wanted to kick the fey’s face off.
The fey approached him. “My name is Isellta Mal Hoven of the Nor’eastern Woods.” His wings suddenly appeared in a quick flitter. “I was sent here to be Olessa Caten’s assistant.” Another quick flitter. “My schie a kehn…They didn’t want me. I was…I don’t know the word in your language for it.”
You think I really care?
Isellta blinked quickly as the words entered his mind. “No. I suppose not. I thought it would be nice to formally introduce myself. You’ll be seeing me a lot. I will…” Another wing flitter. “I will be assisting Olessa. If she asks me to uncover your face, I will do so. If she tells me to get this instrument or that instrument, I will do so.”
Still don’t care.
“I just want you to know that I have nothing against you. This is nothing personal. This is only a job to me and nothing more. Please remember that.”
Robin’s good eye opened.
Why’d he decide to help me?
Why can’t I be glad he made that jump?
Why do I keep squashin’ him down?
He closed his good eye and opened the other one.
His world disappeared into a blur.
Robin opened his good eye again. He shouldn’t have let it reach that point. He should have done somethin’ sooner. Why didn’t he do somethin’ sooner?
He saw ev’rythin’ she did to me and he did freakin’ nothing.
Until it was too late.
“Shi lo ni na
Ka hah shi da
Ehh va lee da
Hnn-hn, hnn-hn. hnnn.”
Robin turned his head towards Isellta’s rocker.
Isellta rocked in his chair and kept singing,
“Shi lo bie da
Oo sah mi na!
Ehh va lee da
Hn-hnn, hn-hnnn. Hnnn.”
“What you singin’?”
Isellta stopped rocking. “What?”
Robin sat up and rubbed his good eye. “I don’t recognize it.”
“I’d be impressed if you did recognize it. It’s a fey song about the making of rain.”
Robin scoffed. “Fey have songs?”
“Is that so hard to believe?”
“Heck yeah. Music is emotion and feeling. It’s love. Heartbreak. Anger. Hatred. Passion. Joy. You fey can’t feel none of that.”
Isellta stood. “That isn’t true. We are not devoid of feelings, Robin. Our feelings are just…different from yours. It isn’t so disorganized and nonsensical. Our feelings are like clean straight lines. It all makes sense.”
“Not to me.”
“For what? Because I don’t get you and your kind?”
Isellta shook his head. “That would be your issue, not mine. I’m sorry I didn’t help you sooner. I’m sorry I waited so long to do anything.”
Did he read my mind?
He walked up to Robin. His long, thin fingers traced the scar from forehead to jaw. “I’m sorry that this happened to you and I didn’t stop her.”
Robin’s resentment cracked in spider webbed patterns. “If you’re sayin’ all this to get on my good side—”
He shook his head again. “I mean it. I’m sorry that you’re so damaged.”
Robin bristled. “I ain’t damaged. You hear me? I ain’t damaged. I can still hunt. I can still feed. I can stand on my own. I’m fine. I’m fine. You rotten little…Get out of here! Leave me alone!”
He snarled and slapped him hard across his face.
Isellta backed away from him and disappeared.
Robin flopped back onto his pillow.
He raised his hands and unsheathed his claws.
His shattered, ruined claws.
I am damaged.