Feeding the Queen of the Underworld
By: Copper Rose

We were outcasts, poor. The name Havernara meant nothing to the magistrates unless they needed workers in the domain. Then they came seeking us.

"Jolie, carry the water. Mamacita Sophia, knead the bread."

But today was listed as the new day. We had heard rumors from others about what made the queen so evil, what she needed to survive. And where she would get what she needed.

I peered over the top of the white fence as Telaktasia burst through the surface of the earth, a murder of lies skirting her arrival. Each lie black and smart as a sharp–winged crow. Each lie hungry to capture just the right sustenance for their dark–spirited ruler.

Telaktasia's face was serene as she scanned the horizon, searching the surrounding hills for the nearest ship–wrecked soul, an unholy one, filled to the brim with deceit. It didn't matter if it was by choice or by chance. Each of us pitted, one against the other.

My thoughts rushed to include Pedro, William, Bangor, Felice. I quickly stopped thinking of them lest Telaktasia and her flock could see what was in my mind, my thoughts accusing my friends without proof.

I squatted, hunched in a ball next to my mother who was peering over the fence beside me. I opened one eye and saw that Telaktasia was still searching for the perfect lie to retrieve for the initiation ceremony, a lie big enough to sustain her for the next one hundred years. Without it she would perish.

Then my breath hitched as I realized we were all guilty, myself included. I closed my eyes and held my breath, hoping Telaktasia and her hungry companions would overlook the small, fresh lie bleeding white inside me. How big was my lie? How could I know, what could I compare it to?

Telaktasia's gaze swept past me and I breathed a sigh of relief. Until I noticed a shift in the gleam in her eyes and the flock of lies descended upon my mother.

The End


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