The Pact

A bee within a pink, orchid blood.

Of course I was distrustful. Even moreso once I actually saw the place.
I checked the message, written on a slip of grimy paper. The purple ink smudged. The address was right. Yet all I saw was an alley beside an old bombed-out department store.
I knew the store. I was glad to see it destroyed. My mother used to drag me through it for hours when I was little. She never bought anything, she just liked to look.
I crawled over the chunks of rotting concrete, careful not to get snagged on the lengths of twisted rebar. Or worse, cut. The smell of blood might draw the dogs.
About half-way down the alley, I found an old wooden ladder poking out of a basement window. I removed my piece from my hip and hid it in its holster amongst the debris. Then despite my misgivings I climbed down into the shadows and the scent of asafoetida.
She was short, hair black with crinkled veins of silver. Her grin, like a child’s, filled her entire face. I couldn’t help but smile in return.
“Yes?” she said.
“You know.” I answered, my gaze searching for the warning signs. The red behind the eyes. The long fangs or claws. My hand lingered near my hip. I had been burnt before.
She nodded. “Yes,” she said, then “I know. But do you know?”
“I know enough.”
Her shoulders twitched, a stifled shrug.
“One thousand in-”
“In silver. I know.”
“Through there,” she said pointing to the changing room.
“What’s with the smell?” I asked as I prepared myself.
“It helps keep the dogs away. And the soldiers.”
“Are they going to be a problem?”
“Maybe. Maybe not.”
“Are they going to be a problem or not?”
“The soldiers, almost never. The dogs, it depends.”

The space was once an old display area, probably for men’s clothing. They usually stuck them in the basement, I remembered from my childhood. It resembled an altar: dressed up with green candles, pink and purple orchid blooms; cornflowers, moonstones; and white silk.
She bore a wooden bowl, filled with water.
“Drink,” she said, offering it to me.
I held it in my hands, sniffing. Our eyes met. She smiled, nodded. Reassuring. I drank. It wasn’t water. It was better.
Then she dipped an indigo cloth into the liquid, and used it to clean the dirt from my face and the earth from my hands.
“Are you ready?” she asked.
I was. I felt… on fire. I pointed.
“Very ready,” she laughed.

Once it was over, we lay feeling each other’s warmth, just listening to the city.
“What will you do with…?” I asked, but the words wouldn’t come.
“The deposit? Do you not know?” she asked, her fingers caressing the four parallel scars across my chest.
I shook my head.
She reached out and plucked a pink bloom, showing it to me. A bee crawled within.
“We have made the world better,” she said. “ What will you do with the silver?”
“I don’t know,” I lied, as I listened to the sounds of gunshots carried on the wind.
I looked forward to returning to the battle.


I’m skribe. I’m a writer, a film-maker and an actor. While I’m originally from Perth, Australia, I currently reside on a tropical island, the Lion City of Singapore. Fingerprint: 79A1 DC6C D367 8A31 135A 7AFA 940E 4231 D7B9 B15C If you like what you see buy me a coffee.

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