from my book, The Wounded King:
He took a breath, the words coming, swollen and thick and carried on the stench of impending death.
“Beyond the Veil, they suffer, brother. The King, my mother, the Darkness around them, trapping them. It waits for me. It’s here –”
“No,” I interrupted. “I’m here with you.”
“No, no,” he insisted. “Here in the Temple, in the palace, outside in the city, in the night, in the sky, in the air, the wind, the sun. In the dark.”
“You’re safe,” I assured him, my hand once more on his, the square cloth still on his eyes blinding him. “I’m here and you’re safe.”
He released me, pushing me away. His hands reached to remove the cloth.
He opened his eyes.
They were unseeing globes of wounded white.
He spoke, crimson tears staining his scarred and bloody cheeks as he blinked.
“The Darkness, it’s here with us.”
Behind me, the Old Man bowed, the rustle of his garments distracting me.
“It’s here,” my brother, the King, repeated, the wounded globes now closed.
Eyes rimmed red, sallow skin the color of sun-bleached sand, holes where healthy teeth had been only hours ago, each heavy step a great effort, she approached.