This concludes Episode Three!
Marlijn knew she’d come to her last tomorrow.
She’d waited for it. Day by day. Hour by hour, even, and she’d expected it to come much sooner than this. But now it was clear. There’d be no more tomorrows for Marlijn Boerhof.
She pressed her forehead to the hard wall, her searing hot skin desperate for the cool touch of concrete.
It had taken two days for the fever to hit. Another for the tremors to follow. If she’d not been the one shivering and seizing on the cot, she’d have been fascinated by the delay. Ecstatic. Those who fought Deimos for that long were rare; if only some good could come from her clinging on so tight.
Marlijn’s fingers twitched.
No. No good would come from her fighting.
Her stomach cramped.
Her leg muscles spasmed. Her joints, her bones, her spine, her tendons; they sang with agony and there was a constant thudding against her ears. With it, came a faint, high pitched wavering tone that would not let up. And the air— the air, it tasted like barbed wire: metallic, sharp, painful.
Marlijn wished to weep.
But He would not let her.
Marlijn knew she’d come to her last tomorrow not only because her body had begun to change, but how He had come to be a constant in her thoughts. He crowded them. Him and his Endless murmurs and whispers.
Mercy, she heard.
The word bared itself like a bleached bone being broken in half. Mercy that she lived. Mercy that He allowed her thought. Mercy for everyone He’d lead to ruin.
She couldn’t shut him out, and ever since she’d heard Him for the first time— ever since she’d begun to change —Marlijn had wanted to end.
He had refused her. And continued to. Over and over again, He gripped her spine with cold-clawed fingers and made her watch— her eyes wide open —as her body failed to do as she told it to. He stopped her from slamming her head against the wall. From tearing open her arms. He held her prisoner in the failing, tattered shell of her body as much as Dr. Kobvik Eli held her prisoner in his pens.
Marlijn pressed herself tighter to the wall. A mewling sound wormed its way up her throat.
Oh, what she would give for tears. But He did not allow her those, either.
Today we wrap up Episode Three. Which. You know. Is a big deal for me. That puts Aphelion’s first draft at 107170 words altogether, which I did not expect to happen. But here we are 😀
Aphelion will now be paused for a while as I draft Episode Four. I don’t know how long this will take, but oh GOSH, I am maybe three parts/episodes from ending book one and this is EXCITING.
My excited bouncings aside though, please leave all the comments you’d like! Ask me questions, theorize. Anything at all, including pointing out inconsistencies. Like when Varrett told Sophya about how only Castle Guard, Monarch, and Runners are allowed to carry weapons, but we see Ellen with a shotgun. WELL, I HAVE AN EXPLANATION FOR THAT which will make it into draft number two. Ellen’s shotty is loaded with rock salt or an equivalent of it :3
Thank you to anyone who has read this far. Varrett and Sophya and SIN (and Col, and Ellen, and Gabriel, and Sebastian, and our tortured Marlijn) will return soon.
ALL THE LOVE,