The Fog of Forgetting

The Fog of Forgetting by G. A. Morgan Page A

Book: The Fog of Forgetting by G. A. Morgan Read Free Book Online
Authors: G. A. Morgan
be thickly lined with fur. She had brought a number of boot-like moccasins, similar to Seaborne’s, but after inspecting their feet, she put them back into her basket.
    â€œI don’t think she’s ever seen sneakers before,” Frankie whispered.
    Evelyn took a long glug of milk and replied, “Definitely not pink high-tops like yours.”
    Knox pet the fur on the collar of the shirt beside him. “Excuse me, uh, Mara?” he stammered, tripping over his effort to sound polite. “I was just thinking—with all the layers and everything.” His face flushed and his freckles stood out. “That hood must be really hot.”
    By way of an answer, Mara lifted her hands and brought her hood down. Frankie yelped. Alongside Mara’s left cheek, running down the side of her face, under her chin, and along her neck and shoulder was a ropey white scar, as if the skin in that spot had been turned inside out and the muscle and tendons were now on the outside. Her mouth was full and untouched, her dark eyes were flecked with gold like those of her daughter. She did not flinch when they looked at her.
    â€œI’m sorry,” Knox mumbled, averting his eyes. “I didn’t know.”
    â€œOf course you didn’t,” replied Mara graciously. “However, it is not to hide wounds that we wear our hoods, but to ward off receiving them. It is tradition in Melor.”
    â€œWhy?” asked Frankie.
    Mara brought her fingertips to her neck and gently traced a ridge of her scar. “For privacy—and for protection. Those who walk unnoticed walk in safety.” She bent down in one fluid motion and picked up the poncho next to Evelyn. She looked pointedly at the children. “You must always wear this when you leave the clearing, with the hood raised.” Her eyes flashed over to where her daughter and the group of men were talking. “With your hood, you may travel within Melor without drawing attention. There are … some,” again she glanced at Calla, “who assume that proficiency with a bow or knife is all that is needed. But it is not so.”
    Evelyn asked hoarsely, “What’s out there? Animals?”
    Mara shook her head. “Animals do not wound for sport or for pleasure, but so they may eat.” She gritted her teeth and turned her head. Viewed from the right, her skin was burnished and smooth, sloping without imperfection from the strong jut of her cheekbone. “What you see is the work of men. Exorians. It was a warning.”
    Knox shook his head, trying to understand. “A warning? Exorians?”
    Mara sighed and pulled her hood back up over her head, contemplating the group of strange children clustered around her. Evelyn took the poncho from Mara’s hand and pulled it quickly over her head. It was soft and smelled of pine and a sweetness she guessed came from the grass the basket was woven from.
    â€œA warning that fire does not discriminate,” answered Mara, with a bitter smile. “It consumes all things, no matter how fast, or skilled, or precious.” She gently raised Evelyn’s hood, her fingers lightly, briefly, grazing the skin at Evelyn’s temples. Before Evelyn could stop herself, her own hand returned the gesture, rising up to touch the angry ridges along Mara’s jawline.
    Mara removed her hand, squeezing it lightly before she dropped it, and stepped away.
    â€œDress yourselves now; Calla and I are to take you into the forest. There is much for you to learn if you are to live among us. Five mouths need food.”
    Evelyn’s dark eyes followed Mara’s retreating back, the pupils constricted with anger.
    â€œIt’s a burn! Somebody burned her!”
    â€œWhy would anyone do that?” Frankie asked.
    Evelyn snatched another poncho off the ground and shook it at her sister. “I don’t know, but you’d better put this on.” She whirled around to the boys.

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