Divine Madness

Divine Madness by Melanie Jackson Page B

Book: Divine Madness by Melanie Jackson Read Free Book Online
Authors: Melanie Jackson
Tags: Fiction
Her desire to keep him from her affairs had fled in the face of this monster.
    Cherie? This would be a good time to panic, but if you feel that you cannot do that, perhaps you could think of something to say to distract him.
    Say? To this?
    But the voice had restarted her brain. Ninon stared at her captor and tried a tentative probe on the god’s mind.
    When she looked with her senses, she could see into his brain, but it was through a veil of smoke where most detail was hidden. Even what she could see made little sense. Tezcatlipoca, he thought himself, god of the Smoking Mirror…He had thoughts that she couldn’t follow because there was no human context for them, no words for what he was in any human language. He dreamed about things for which humans had no conceptualization, had been things that humans had no name for, and trying to understand him made her hurt.
    He probed back. His will was unsubtle but he didn’t look deep, seemingly happy to feed on her surface fear. She tried to relax, to allow her reason for coming here to present itself to him. She willed him to stay at the surface of her brain, to look no more deeply into her mind where he might find the things she truly feared. He would not be gentle and wouldn’t care how much damage he did he as he rummaged through her mind, and there were thoughts there she did not wish to share.
    “This is the frontier of the dead,” the god said, speaking with a physical voice but also in her mind. “Sometimes people grow confused and the living find themselves among the dead souls, and the dead among the living. That a body moves does not mean that it has a soul. That it is still and dust doesn’t mean the soul is gone. In this land, all is mine.”
    Ninon nodded at this prepared speech. She was afraid to ask if he meant she was soulless. She was more afraidto ask if he was claiming her. Her plans for the day hadn’t included immediate sacrifice to a blood-drinking god. If that was what he was.
    “I see there is a man following you, one you fear.”
    Rather than try to hide this thought, Ninon concentrated hard on Saint Germain. Better to think about him than having her blood sucked out of her body by that vicious straw attached to Smoking Mirror’s tongue.
    “This man who chases me—there is no confusion about what he does,” she said softly, ritualistically, hoping Smoking Mirror could understand. “It’s no accident that he is here in your land. Like his father before him, he has called the dead. He still calls the dead—even your dead. And if no one stops him, he will do it again and again until he has raised an army.”
    “He would call the dead in the land of Itlachiayaque?” The god used his other name. “Has he no respect of the gods?” Smoking Mirror’s face shifted, for a moment appearing almost feline. Legend said that he could shapeshift into a jaguar, and she wondered if that would be a bad thing. A cat would probably be somewhat smaller and would put less weight on her already heavy chest.
    It would still be large enough to rip out a liver.
    “He has no respect for my God either,” she said. “He respects nothing. He is a thief.”
    “But what are you, almost daughter?” Smoking Mirror asked, the black reflection of his eyes showing no reaction to her words. Almost daughter —that was either very good or very bad.
    Ninon shook her head, not denying but not knowing how to answer. She realized with a sinking heart that this creature was insane. She recognized the signs, and wondered if all long-lived beings were eventually driven mad. How could she get away from him?
    “Pale woman, what are you?” The black, bottomless eyes stared into hers, daring her to lie. His gaze pierced her brain. “Why have you really come?”
    “I don’t know what I am. I’m not normal—not one with my people. Not anymore.” She told that much truth because she had to. The god appeared to be considering this and she lay very still, trying not to think

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