Steven Shinder

Lemons Loom Like Rain

“I wanted to see how it would feel,” he answered with a nod. “Tell me, does the skin look real?”

“I suppose. Putting on makeup, then. One would think you would have to see yourself for that. How do you do it?”

Mathias gave him a scowl, not appreciating his wordplay. He hissed and then took an amulet out of his pants pocket. It was made of a clear cassette tape, though no reel was within it. He held it up toward the sky so that the moon could shine into it, turning the tape into a solid, glowing white.

“These worlds used to be one. But then you decided to run. Oh, the moon separated, a high cost. Oh, to have a part of yourself out of reach and lost. I ferried you out of a stagnant hell. And now, here you remain, Stagmantel.”

“You changed that last syllable to conform to your rhyme. Sounds like you are getting rusty.”

“Maybe I should just see you as a fool, and refer to you as Staman-tool.”

Stagmantel remained undeterred despite these words. He avoided further eye contact with the chancellor, who stood for a minute until the amulet was fully lit. He put it back in his pocket.

“Well, I have my pack to feed. They sure do wish to be freed.”


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