“So what have you been up to lately, Helena?”

“Or is it still Sanna?”

The cup trembles a bit. The morning has risen with cold overtures already.

She sets the coffee down and looks at the motel room wearily. The orange curtains, scabbed, frayed, but safe enough. Floor linoleum spattered with shapes of fake birds. If only… I could tell him. But he is not himself, yet. She can feel his gaze. She needs to go.

Slamming the door shut behind her; it strikes the doorway too hard and rebounds open, she pukes into the toilet bowl with heaving, shivering burps. Something tears apart in her side and she can’t help but to moan in anguish. Cicero talks to her from the other room. The smell of his sunflower tea makes her hurl again.

“Are you all right in there?  I’ll close the door if you like? But really, are you ok?”

She growls.

“I’ll go for a smoke then.”

After a second of hesitation he continues.

“I really did not mean for any of this to happen to you. You do know they only wanted to get to me through you, don’t you?”

Why won’t this bastard just go? She kicks the door shut.


“She’s in a bad way isn’t she?” he says to no one in particular closing the flimsy door.


They had driven through the night. The streets empty for but the lights that cannot feed.  Cicero gathered all belongings that could be called artifacts. They burned some of the most offensive works to kindling. The workshop would be no more. He was quartermaster of nothing, in search of higher mastery, that foolish traveler; a nuisance at the worst of times, trusted servant in others.  It made her blood boil. How could one such as him hold sway over her! Impossible! Anathema!

Dreams come. Hyad beckons.


He is bereft of his life anew. Looking back at the row of dilapidated blocks of flesh in the shape of brick and mortar he feels compelled to enter the motel eatery. Some things never change. The weary eyed cook, Maurice, asks twice if he really wants “two whole boiled eggs on barley toast and no sausages nor coleslaw, but just hashed onions on the side?” His humble smiling demeanor towards the cook invites him to the good graces of the regulars.

“So, what brings you in our… nah…? (He stops himself) My name’s Garry and this here with the handsome looks is Thomas.”

They have kind eyes. As the day grows long they’ve played many games of checkers. Cicero loses most of them. The poison is almost gone now.

They laugh, but, there is now no but, friendliness. He enjoys their company until closing time. “Put all of this on my card, Maurice. The beers and the bottle tab too.”

Thomas objects. Garry’s a bit too “tired” for that.

“You’ll pay me back when we meet again Te'oma , your name has bearing. Take this gift.” He touches a tiny bottle to his forefinger and sweeps it across Thomas’s brows.

He seals the way with rattlesnake salt. Striding along the pavement has never sounded quite like this before.


The motherfucking door opens with the cocksucker greeting me blearily. He’s drunk.

Lying on the bed she asks "what and where the fuck he’s been up to now?"

“Nowhere and everywhere, have I known where we have to go now? And besides, you’ve safe aren’t you?”

She tells him where he can stick his safety… sideways.  She knew she'd have to rely on herself on this one anyway.


Bad mood...