Please visit the Sinner Series page to read the story in order.
“Don’t you ever do that again, Sinner son of Tinker! You promised we would go through together,” Kara said.
“Uh, Kara, do you think we could continue this conversation in a more comfortable position?” Kara’s weight pressed on his chest. She had fallen atop of him as he had attempted to catch her hurtling through the Great Divide.
“Oh, sorry,” Kara said, looking somewhat sheepish. Sinner grunted as she inadvertently dug her elbows into his ribs in her haste to scramble off. At least, he hoped it was inadvertent. She did apologize again.
Sinner rose to a sitting position, dusting off his breeches. “I didn’t actually promise…” when he saw Kara’s brow furrow, though, he immediately abandoned what he had been about to say. He tried a different approach. “Aw, come on, Kara, You have to understand. I just wanted to be sure it was safe. It’s what any decent man would do.” He put on his most charming smile and reached out his hand.
Her face softened as she tucked her axe back into its loop on her belt and extended a hand to help him up. She gasped a moment later and nearly dropped him. “I cut you!”
A jagged red line cut across his forearm. Sinner hadn’t noticed it till now. It wasn’t too deep, but it did sting a little. Kara had had her axe in her hand coming through the Divide. It must have nicked his arm as they collided and fell. “It’s nothing, barely a scratch.”
But she would have none of it. “Here, let me see,” she commanded. She gripped his forearm in her hands and began to sing, much to Sinner’s surprise. It started out as a soft hum, gradually building in intensity. It reminded Sinner of a gentle breeze on a spring day. The skin on his arm around the cut began to itch, and then tingle. Sinner watched in amazement as the cut closed right before his eyes and even the redness vanished. It was as if the cut had never been there. “Kara, what just happened? I…” Words failed him as a sudden bout of dizziness seized him.
“Hush, don’t try to talk,” she said as she steadied him. “The healing works but it’s like it takes the strength from your own body. I’m not sure exactly. The dizziness should pass. We should find something to eat too. It makes you very hungry.”
The dizziness did pass and he did feel his belly gnawing at him. “How do you know…I don’t understand?”
“Remember the wildflowers? You were right. There is power in the Song,” Kara said excitedly. “I know because I healed myself with it.” She held up her hand. “A thorn pierced it, but now it’s like it never happened. It makes me feel a little tired, but that’s all. Well, that and the dizziness and hunger.”
Sinner’s mind whirled as he considered the possibilities of what Kara was telling him. If she could heal with the song, what else she could do with it? How would they find out? And, how safe was it? True, the consequences appeared to be relatively harmless; tiredness, hunger. But would that change if she did greater things with the Song than heal simple wounds. Could she even do greater things? So many questions without answers. Sinner gripped Kara’s hands between his and used his stern voice. “Kara, you have to promise me you won’t use the Song without me. We’ll learn together, OK?”
The corner of her mouth twitched as though trying to hide a smile. “Like you promised we would go through the Divide together?”
Sinner threw up his hands in defeat. He knew when he was beaten. “Just be careful, please?”
Kara nodded, apparently satisfied. “We really should see about finding something to eat.”
Sinner took in their surroundings for the first time. At first glance, everything on this side of the barrier looked the same as on the other side. The mountains still looked to be the same mountains. The pass and the trail leading through it continued on just as if there were no barrier. The only difference he could see was that the pass was now covered in shadow, whereas on the other side the midday sun had been shining down on the mountain.
Sinner looked to the sky to find the cloud that must be blocking the sunlight. He heard Kara’s gasp almost the same time an astonished groan escaped his own lips. There was no cloud blocking the sun.
There was no sun.
Kara reached out and grasped his hand as they both stood dumbfounded, looking up into a sunless sky. All around them, the landscape was cast in a shadow with no visible source. It defied logic. Yet it was. There was light below the sunless sky; an eerie twilight, as if the sun had already set. It was enough to see by though, so they set out down the trail that led from the high pass to the valley below.
They had not traveled far when they came upon the first sign of civilization they had seen in these mountains since Kara’s cabin, a small group of low stone buildings clustered to the side of the trail.
“An outpost?” Kara asked.
“Perhaps,” Sinner said. He pulled Kara behind an outcropping of rocks. “Let’s hope they are friendly, but until we know more, let’s not announce our presence just yet.”
Kara nodded as she fingered the axe at her belt.
Sinner understood. His knuckled grip on Tinker’s staff tightened.
To be continued…
©Peter Wiebe 2013