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Charlotte Bond deception. ‘I sat on your lap, and kissed your cheek, and everything – and I never guessed.’ ‘Maybe your eyes aren’t so good after all,’ Demetrius commented slyly. Alana pouted. ‘Although I am curious as to how exactly an albino child comes to have jet black eyes.’ ‘It’s no secret,’ shrugged Alana. ‘Father hated my pink eyes so he made the surgeons inject me with melanise when I was three. It’s one of the first things I remember – the cold leather straps around my wrist and the pain in my head as they injected the genetic compound into my eyes. My mother cried when she saw them and she wouldn’t let Father see me for a week.’ Alana frowned, suddenly uncomfortable with such revelations to a stranger. ‘So, did you enjoy the party then?’ she asked. Demetrius settled back into his chair. He looked impressed that she had turned his own tactic against him and she felt a glow of satisfaction at her own cleverness. ‘I found the party tedious,’ he replied brusquely. ‘Most people say that Father’s Yule parties are the event of the year,’ said Alana. ‘Ah, but most people don’t remember Yule the way I do,’ said Demetrius with a smile. ‘I remember when you could walk through the crisp winter snow with only the moonlight for company. I remember when we kissed or killed under the mistletoe instead of the pax. I remember when candles lit the feasting halls and shadows danced alongside the guests.’ His eyes glazed over as he lost himself in thought. ‘What’s mistletoe?’ Alana asked. ‘Mistletoe was a parasite that sucked the life from the trees it lived on, its roots never touching the ground. So much better than the pax plant you humans clustered beneath today – a crimson monstrosity genetically engineered by politicians.’ A sneer split his face. ‘Yule used to be a time of darkness and fire. As the nights drew in, people’s minds would dwell on the creatures that stalked them from the shadows. They would remember their old superstitions. Oh, they’d try to dress them up in celebrations, but they never forgot the truth – that they were performing rituals to keep the darkness at bay.’ ‘You remember a lot,’ said Alana. Demetrius leaned forward and she could see that secret within in his eyes again, so close to the telling. She leaned forward herself, ignoring the cramp that complained in her leg. -5-

Estronomicon Christmas 2008  

The eZine of fantasy, sci-fi and horror

Estronomicon Christmas 2008  

The eZine of fantasy, sci-fi and horror

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