There was a knock on the door. I jumped, startled and made a list of the possible scenarios in my head. It could be the general? She may have realised what we were doing. Or perhaps even a soldier to send us to our deaths.
Zephina cautiously flew the door open and in came a cowering Elias.
“Sorry. I brought us some food from the kitchens,” he whispered, looking at me as if I was a specimen. Perhaps I may have said something. He handed around some bread and butter and we took our seats around the room, myself lying on the bed with Zephina sprawled next to me and Elias on a wooden rocking chair in the corner of the room.
It was a different room to the one we had last time. It was further inside the complex (which would make it easier to escape through The Door) and held a degree more of luxury (though still unfinished). Where there was nothing there was now something. The general was very very scared of her secret.
I ripped off a piece of the warm bread and shoved it into my mouth. I wasn’t hungry but the signs of malnourishment hung upon my face like a brand. Though the fat on my hips and breasts never wared away, my face was thinner now, the chubbiness around my cheeks hollowed out to reveal bones. My bones also ached, especially across my back which was contributed too from the long horse rides to here.
Zephina cleared her throat and I readied myself to listen.
He nodded, not looking up from the floor he was ever so interested in and I relaxed back onto the bed.
“You can not tell us anything involving Ximena?” she waved a arm which coincidentally hit my face.
He nodded again.
“So technically you could tell us all about the general,” she said with a hopeful smile. I blinked rapidly, catching on to her point and gaining a lot more interest into the conversation.
His head shot up with a look of extreme guilt.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t realise. Not being able to tell makes you forget when you can.”
“Tell us then,” I said, impatiently.
“She is, the general is.. How should I phrase this? Erm.., 50 years ago, before we disappeared, the general had an... affair with a,” he awkwardly stopped, obviously not wanting to say the word but we both caught on.
“What?” I said, frozen in my warm spot.
“She loved an xana and he left her when she was pregnant.”
“Why is she like this now?”
“I can’t tell you.. It involves you too heavily,” he gulped. I formed an o with my mouth and collapsed back onto the pillow.
“Well at least we know now. We can use it to our advantage,” said Zephina, forever optimistic. I simply sighed unable to know what to make of the situation.
We woke with another knock to the door- well at least me and zephina, Elias never seemed to sleep. I pulled the covers over my head, very aware of the fact that I was not wearing very much and Zephina in turn laughed jumping off the bed with a fresh face.
“Hello.” She sung, revealing a pink faced general. She barged past Zephina’s tall figure to me lying uncomfortably on the mattress.
“I’m so sorry about yesterday but there are pressing matters, as you must understand.”
I was tempted to crawl deeper into the warmth of the bed but inside I knew it would simply arouse her suspicions. So I did the right thing and sat up and nodded.
“My queen there is a matter or two to discuss,” she said gesturing to my companions.
“I’m sorry but where I stay they do to,” I announced as Zephina mocked her pig like snorting from behind her back. About to enter into bursts of laughter I added in the same regal tone, “It is a matter of safety.”
“Bu..” she argued but I raised a hand to silence her. It was the most useful thing ever, the raising of the hand. She shifted her booted feet and suited body.
“What must you talk about?” I said.
“It is, it is.. It is. There is a dinner tonight. You are all invited,” she said rushing her words.
I raised an eyebrow, suspecting that there was something else she wanted to say but did not press on it when Zephina waved her out of the room with a awfully jolly smile.
When we were sat round the fire, dressed and doing what we had to preoccupy us, that was when I asked again.
“Does anyone have any ideas?” I whispered, though I don’t quite know why I was whispering. The walls were made of stone and I hoped that no words could come out or in or someone would have heard very long ago.
“Well..” begun a forever smiling Zephina.