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part seven.

Part Seven
How does a god make his presence known? He could materialise from nowhere in an extravagant puff of smoke; he could create a wing-heeled demi-deity to declare his arrival to the sound of trumpets; he could even soar to earth in a magical carriage pulled by giant winged horses.

Or he could appear very suddenly behind his arch-nemesis and ex-lover and say: “boo.”

Aura almost jumps out of her skin. Whipping around, she barely has time to register Mallos’ appearance before he grabs her shoulders, pulls her close and kisses her passionately. Then he lets her go and saunters off. Very considerately, he gives her a few minutes to recover from the shock before inviting her to join him the rock he’s perched on with an extravagant hand gesture, although he’s not surprised when she doesn’t move. Women can be very touchy after they’ve been betrayed, raped and murdered.

“You’re not supposed to be here,” she says slowly after a few moments. “The barrier... the barrier wouldn’t be weak enough to break through until after seven rats had passed through it...”

“Keep thinking,” Mallos settles back for the wait. “You’ll get there in the end.”

It takes Aura another few minutes to fully recuperate from the blow, to get over the fact that she’s within a ten-foot radius of Mallos and to calculate what must have happened. “You possessed the seventh rat. It released you on Shaman instead of the curse... you are the seventh curse.”

“You didn’t think I’d stick around for the walls of my prison to explode all around me, did you?” Mallos raises a brow. “I could have been hurt. Worse, it could have mucked up my hair.”

The jest is lost on Aura, who looks as if the world has imploded on her – which it probably will do shortly. The Shrine is her sanctuary; this is the third time Mallos has penetrated it and made her vulnerable in her own home. She would contemplate moving, if it weren’t for the knowledge that now Mallos has returned, nowhere is safe – and wherever she is least of all. The simple fact is that Mallos is omnipotent, and she has absolutely no magical power whatsoever, nor anyone with any level of controllable divinity to assist and protect her. There isn’t a single fairy in the whole of Shaman who poses a threat to Mallos, nor any possible way for her to worm free of his grasp, and he knows it; it’s written into every arrogantly casual movement he makes.

It’s Aura who breaks the silence.

“Go on, then,” she stares at him piercingly, “isn’t this the part where the evil genius reveals his master plan?”

“I’m not the only genius in the room, sweetheart,” Mallos leans back against the wall and folds his arms, smiling lazily. “I’m pretty sure you’ve figured it out by now. Why don’t you tell me?”

Aura is suddenly very aware of her hands. Standing in a cave in a red-rock cliff, facing her nemesis in semi-darkness at the very spot where he raped her only a few years before seems to be a strange time and place to start wanting pockets, but that’s precisely what she wishes she had right now. She feels stupid with her hands at her sides, so she imitates Mallos by folding them across her chest. Lifting her chin to meet his mocking gaze, she opens her mouth – and vanishes into thin air.

      • part eight. -
    • day one -
      • part one. -
      • part two. -
      • part three. -
      • part four. -

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