Bear the Ember, Chapter 9: Serious Conspicion
By Stirling Edgewood
Her eyes opened only slowly. She was vaguely aware of something warm pressed against her. Warm, and comfortable. It was a body. Then she gasped, “The void!” At the sound of her voice, his eyes popped open.
“You live?” he whispered incredulously.
“You rescued me,” she replied hoarsely.
“I..” he stuttered, “I had despaired of all hope. I thought you surely lost.”
“I prayed you would come to me, deliver from the abyss,” she said. “And you did.”
She began to hug him tightly to her, but stopped when she heard him gasp.
“Are you unwell?” she queried urgently.
He pulled his truncated limb from between them, and held it up. She stared at it with horror and pity.
“What terrible fee has my rescue has extorted?” she croaked.
“The dragon of the void has viscous teeth indeed,” he stated cavalierly. “But I have rescued the fair princess, and now claim her for my prize.” He wrapped his limb around her, pulling her tightly to him.
“My gallant prince, I am yours, now and forever.”
“If my endeavors as an intrepid explorer of the void ever come to naught, I believe I shall have a profitable career as a soothsayer,” he joked.
“How so?” she asked confused.
“Well, it seems I have sacrificed my most prodigious limb to save you.”
“Indeed you have!” she said, astonished. “But,” she added quietly, gratefully, “not your all.”
“True, fortuitously true,” he whispered. “Not my all. I could not bear to journey into eternity without you.”
They clung tightly to each other for a moment.
“I had the most astonishing dream!” he declared with alarm.
“I also had a most unusual dream,” she shot back. “Only, I suspect that certain parts of it were no dream at all,” she added coyly, hugging him closer.
“But,” he croaked, “we cannot, we must not, it is forbidden,” he said despairingly.
“However,” she replied gently, “it is done. The river has drained into the sea, the salt has commingled, and the waters cannot be made again fresh.” She pulled him in closer, moving against his body. “Besides,” she added, “it is so cold, come warm me under this blanket.”
Surrendering to the soft allure of her eager flesh, he hugged her closely. A nagging thought tugged at his anxious mind. “The ship is a giant engine of heat. It is never cold.”
But all worries fled with a passionate gasp as their bodies merged once again. Then, when their ardor was spent, they surrendered to a blissful slumber.