Jay didn’t hold back his tears as convulsions grabbed and shook Isellta’s delicate body. Isellta whimpered small, broken sounds with each convulsion.
“It. It’s. It’s okay, kid. I’m hereI’mhereI’mhere.”
The convulsions ended. His body deflated. He inhaled.
“I’m here, kid. Right here.” He touched Isellta’s hand.
And it all started up again.
Jay bowed his head. “God, please. Please don’t take him. Please. Spare him. Let him live. Let him. Let.” He covered his face with his hands and cried.
I know I have no right to ask for a miracle. But please. He’s just a good kid.
His phone rang.
He quickly answered it. “Mae? Mae, is it you?”
“Yes. Jay, what’s wrong?”
“Mae. Oh, Mae.” He broke down.
“Jay, talk to me. What’s going on? Is he dead?”
He shook his head. “No. But. But I. I’m losing him. I’m. Mae, please come home. Please.”
“That’s actually why I’m calling. I found Robin, but he’s out for the rest of the day. But I do have an alternative.”
“I don’t know if it even matters anymore. He’s dying. I don’t know. I don’t know if. I.”
Isellta’s body calmed down again.
Jay gently pushed his sweaty bangs off to the side.
Isellta barely got a chance to take a breath before his body started convulsing again.
“I don’t think. I don’t. Mae, he isn’t gonna live to see tonight. He’s gonna die before then. He’s going to miss Robin altogether.”
“I’m coming, Jay. I’ll be there as soon as I can. I promise. I love you, sweetheart. I love you.”
“Love you too.”
Maelin ended the call.
LM flapped Isellta’s large, perfect wings one more time before reluctantly turning back into his true form. “What’s going on?”
“We need to head back to Jay right now.”
“Are things that bad?”
He sighed. “Well, I don’t think anyone here will really miss me. They probably won’t even know that I’m gone, but I’ll leave them a note anyway.”
Isellta winced as his muscles contracted and pulled. His body involuntariliy curled into a ball, which only made the pain from the contractions even worse. He whimpered in broken, uneven tones.
“Don’t worry, Isellta.” Robin kissed his cheekbone. “It will all be better soon.”
He kissed Isellta’s earlobe. “It will all be over.”
He kissed Isellta’s neck. “All of the pain and fear and breathlessness will be gone.”
He nibbled the side of his neck.
Isellta gasped and slipped into unconsciousness.
The muscle contractions stopped.
And the nae bi sha smiled a hungry smile in the darkness. “Keep slipping, little fey. Keep falling until you can’t get up. Give up, little fey. Give in. Let go. Die. I’m hungry, little fey. Die. Please die. You’re so weak as is. Give up. Die.”
The creature stroked Isellta’s face and slid his hand down to the fey’s bare chest. He licked his lips. “I’m so hungry, little fey. Delicious little fey. I’m so tired of waiting for you to die. So, please do me a favor and die. I’m hungry. So very hungry, my little fey.”
The convulsions finally stopped and Isellta’s body went limp.
Jay watched and waited until it happened.
A long, slow inhale.
An unnervingly long pause.
A choppy exhale.
Jay pulled him up into his lap and held him as close as he could. “I’m here, kid. I’m here.”