Slowly, the stars slipped away. By the time she realized a thing, dark and morphing, was surrounding her, it was too late.
Kaleigha shivered. The vast expanse of space quivered and contracted around her.
“Egoly?” she whispered.
The Fadian did not answer.
A creeping knowledge ate away at the solidarity she felt with her fellow Fadian. The world was full of those who betrayed others for the simple thrill of seeing others fall.
“They are all false,” the thing squeezed her. “You too are false. You would betray others if you could.”
“No,” Kaleigha shut her eyes. “That is not me.”
“Only because you are poor and stupid,” it countered. “If you hadn’t been denied your birthright, you’d be as cruel as any of the others. If you had even an ounce of worth, you would have lorded it over the people beneath you.”
The words sapped the fight out of Kaleigha and she hung, limp and defeated, in its grasp.
“But you are useless,” the thing’s voice was melodic, now. It almost sounded giddy as it lapped up her despair. “You don’t even have a life to lose
Kaleigha thought of her last night at home. She remembered her mother’s warm hugs and the hysterical laughs she shared with her young aunt. An intense longing overcame her fear of the thing around her.
“If only I could have seen them,” she whispered and closed her eyes. “One last time.”