Fictober, Prompt 20 – “You could talk about it, you know?”
Warnings: none. Fantasy.
I traced the last rune and watched as the energy poured down into the mixture bubbling on the stove. It looked good so far, the color was shifting from brown to orange the way it was supposed to, and I’d double-checked all the ingredients three times, so it should—
Something in the magic twisted, and whole pot flared briefly orange, and then faded into a distinctly unappetizing gray.
I cursed at length, spinning away from the stove and trying not to stomp along the floorboards like a petulant child.
“Still having trouble?” a voice asked from the doorway, and I glanced over to find Nkiru standing there before turning my head sharply away. I thought she had gone out; I didn’t want her to see me like this.
I didn’t want her to know that anything was wrong at all, but it had been impossible to hide for long with the two of us sharing the house right now.
Nkiru sighed and came over to wrap a dark-skinned arm around my shoulders, squeezing a little. I kept my head turned and tried to accept the comfort for what it was. She was open with physical affection and while I was discovering that that could be nice, I was…not used to it. Not after living on my own for so long.
“You could talk about it, you know?” she said softly, voice warm and understanding.
I squeezed my eyes shut tight against the sudden threat of tears. Kindness made this harder, somehow, but I couldn’t bring myself to shrug her off and turn away.
I shook my head. I didn’t think I could stand to talk about it. Not with my latest failure still simmering on the stove, smell becoming fouler with each passing moment.
She squeezed gently once more and then let me go when I turned away to move the pot off the heat, replacing it with the kettle. No sense in having gotten the stove going for nothing, and tea sounded appealing. At least all my non-magical cooking still went smoothly, which was just as well, because Nkiru wasn’t very good at it.
“Maybe it is a curse,” she said.Continue reading