Robin leaned his head back against the wall and closed his eyes. The world spiraled in dripping red. Thick, hypnotic red that dripped like honey. It stained like blood. It smelled sweet. It smelled sour. It smelled like jewelry. It smelled like iron.
And his mouth watered for it.
He panted as his stomach spasmed from hunger. It’ll pass. I know it will. Just gotta wait it out. In the subconscious part of his mind, however, he knew that it was going to get worse, if he didn’t escape soon.
If he didn’t get something to eat soon, it would get so much worse. He would get weak. Too weak to hunt on his own.
And the stomach spasms wouldn’t stop.
Yet, despite knowing all of that, he asked, “‘sellta okay? He ain’t dead, is he?”
Eschia didn’t respond.
His hunger died down to something tolerable. Robin lowered his head and opened his eyes. “Hello? I asked a freakin’ question. Don’t I get an answer?”
She shook her head. “I’m not at liberty to answer questions about Isellta.”
He stared at her, momentarily stumped by that sentence. Finally, he asked, “Wha?”
“If you want answers, you will have to talk to Her Majesty.”
“Tsh! Yeah. I can just see how well THAT would go and turn out. Her Majesty would just be sooooooo danged excited to give me all the answers. She’d wave pom-poms and fling glad glitter all o’er the place.”
She scowled at that, but he didn’t give her a chance to voice her disapproval.
“Is he dead or alive? That ain’t a lot to answer. You don’t e’en gotta get into details. Just say, ‘Yes’ or ‘No’, ‘Dead’ or ‘Alive’. That’s all I freakin’ want.”
“I’m sorry, but—”
“Oh, like heck you’re sorry. I can see the ‘Sorry, not sorry’ all o’er your face.”
“You don’t have to be so snippy.”
If he were Missy, he would have burst into flames of fury. “Snippy? I’m bein’ sni—I’m—” He gaped at her, too irate to speak sensibly.
“Snippy and unreasonable.”
Robin didn’t know how his head didn’t just up and explode from the anger brewing inside of it.
“I came in here specifically to understand what Isellta sees in you. Now, that I’ve had a chance to talk to you, I still don’t understand.”
His anger fizzled out. “Sees? He sees in me? As in present tense ‘sees’? As in he ain’t dead ‘sees’?”
Eschia looked supremely annoyed. “Like I said, I’m not at liberty to—”
“He’s alive, ain’t he? Let me see him.”
She shook her head. “I’m sorry, but no. I can’t do that.”
“Ah! Then, I’m right! He is alive!”
“I’m not at liberty to—”
He laughed. “He’s alive! He ain’t dead at all!”
He laughed some more. “Insult me all you want. Don’t matter none. ‘sellta’s alive. That’s what matters.” Am’rose! Am’rose! ‘sellta’s alive! He ain’t dead. Ambrose didn’t respond, but Robin’s happiness didn’t get dampened. “So, now that you answered that one, how about ‘Is he okay? Is he happy?'”
“You’re annoying and nonsensical.”
He laughed. “I know!”
“You’re bound to a wall. You can’t escape. And you haven’t asked me even once to release you. You’re too busy obsessing over Isellta. That does NOT make sense.”
He grinned. “That’s such an Isellta thing to say.”