The Secret Sellers

Once upon a time an old woman foretold a world where monsters ruled. And they did. The fairy tales from history seemed to foretell the mutations of the future. Forests grew large and dark and within them, creatures thrived. Avis Eldred is one of the few surviving humans; she should be grateful for that. But she's not grateful for killing in order to survive. Now she faces a choice - take a leap of faith and defy everything she ever knew, or keep being a murderer and a coward.

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7. Innocent Ignorance

 

-6-

Innocent Ignorance

She never thought it to be possible but that sleep, without drugs and unprovoked, was the best sleep that Avis had ever gotten. There were no nightmares, or sleep paralysis, or screaming, or talking in her sleep.

It was bizarre.

Upon waking she smelled something warm and sweet. Next to the edge of the bed was a steaming cup and a bowl of something that smelled like cinnamon. She watched as his bare feet crossed the room. He knelt down and peered under the bed.

“Do you like plums?” Beck asked.

Avis whispered. “I don’t know.”

He held out his hand with the dark purple fruit in it.  She reached out for it and he took it back. “It might be juicy. Come out here to eat it.”

Avis looked like a small animal under the bed. Beck saw her large eyes and a mess of hair. Her lips looked swollen from being bitten with worry. She huffed a bit, steeled herself and moved.

Avis shoved herself backwards and stood with the bed between them. She walked around to him and held out her hand again. Beck placed the plum in it. She gently squeezed it and raised her eyebrows.

She turned it over in her hand, “I’ve read about plums. I didn’t think they looked like this. I thought that the drawings were exaggerated for innuendo sake.” She held it to her lips. She seemed hesitant to bite it.

Beck watched her for a bit as she licked it. He blushed and abruptly left the room. She was the most confusing person he had ever met. She went from a shivering waif to sassy within seconds of being upright. He needed distance to adjust to the immediate emotion that overtook him.

Avis placed the fruit on the tray with the other food and carried it to the kitchen. Beck was standing in the kitchen with a mug of his own. She set the tray on the table and slid into the chair, took a tentative bite, then licked down the side of it and moaned. She waited for him to look and put her lips over the bitten section and sucked the juice from it. She might have exaggerated just because it was making him so uncomfortable.

Beck turned his back and found something else to be doing.

“What’s in the bowl? It smells amazing.”

He cautiously turned around. “Porridge. Surely you’ve had porridge?”

She lifted the spoon to her mouth. “Grey, watery? Sometimes has mealworms? Yes. I’ve had porridge.” She tasted the spoonful. “This is creamy, sweet. This needs a new name. If this saw what we called porridge, it would demand to be reclassified.” She closed her eyes and continued to eat.

“So...” He started.

“Shush,” she held up her hand, “This breakfast and I are having a moment.”  

“I just.” He tried again.

“No talking.”

He clanked a cup down. “Would you...?” He looked frustrated.

She waved a hand at him. “Please, five minutes.”

He glared down at her for the remainder of her breakfast.

“You think you can spoil it with your impatient glaring, you can’t.” She sighed.

“I can certainly try,” Beck muttered but allowed her to eat the porridge without interruption anyway. If it was going to make her more comfortable in this strange environment then so be it.

 “Can I go look for my backpack?” She looked up hopefully from the now near empty bowl.

He stood and wordlessly left. He returned with a bag. He handed it to her. “I found a lot. There are some things that were eaten.”

She dumped the contents on the table. “I had a change of clothes. You didn’t see those?”

Beck looked concerned. “I found the bag with a raccoon sleeping in it. Your clothes might be shredded for bedding.

She looked doubtful. “I’ve never known any wildland creature that wanted to sleep on something that smelled like a human.”

He shrugged.

Beck noticed that her hand trembled when it landed on a crumpled letter. The seal of the envelope was broken, as if it had been half read, and Avis went back from being sassy to being a shivering and cowering waif. Her lips chattered as if she was cold and she excused herself for the second time since they had met.

She was so confusing Beck didn’t know what to do with himself nevertheless her.

Beck found her back in the bedroom with the envelope now open and her body trembling. She was shaking so much that he was sure that she couldn’t even properly read the words on the page. Maybe that was the point.

Walking over there he was pleased when she silently handed over the letter. He was slightly worried when she then buried her face in her hands.

It read:

But you don’t want to hear me drabbling on do you? You want me to get to the good stuff right?

If you’re reading this I am most likely dead. That is okay. Because if you’re reading this then it means that Avis, you are alive. That is the main thing. Anyway before I was captured I learned some interesting things. I think I may have learned a way to solve this mess of a world.

Here is how you achieve it:

The main thing is that you have to find Mother Nature, word is that if you can prove to her that humanity is worthy enough she will undo the curse she put on your world. You see your world of humanity and my world of monsters have coincided for centuries yet remained hidden from one another. Mother Nature set a curse on your world to unlock my world, and she also took away the inhibitions of many monsters increasing their blood lust. But nobody knows where Mother Nature is located, like I told you she retreated to isolation after being rejected.

The only people who know her location are the Legions. The Legions were always underground, hiding amongst your world and mine but when the two worlds collided they settled in a gigantic house on the hill. Any monster should be able to tell you about it but I don’t trust any random monster. First of all you have to find Crevan, he can be summoned by simply asking for him to appear.

I don’t know how he does it but he does.

He’s just good like that.

I’m sorry that this sounds more like a treasure hunt trial than an actual adventure but it will help you in more ways than not.

To solve all of this would be…

Beck stopped reading, fearing that an invasion of privacy was imminent. He didn’t want to betray Avis’s trust.

“We can go find Crevan you know.” Beck said to her and nearly smiled when he saw her head rushing up.

“What?”

“We can actually do what this letter says, it’s not hard to do.” Beck replied still suppressing a smile at her pleasure at the news.

“You’d really do that for me?” Avis asked off him and he just nodded. He wasn’t expecting the sudden hug as a response. It was warm. It was what Beck needed. He hadn’t had a hug in years. 

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