Rain put a soft, wet hiss into the air.
The boots squished onto the grass with each step.
The oiled and hooded cloak protected the woman’s gown well.
Her lamp was placed on the highest step of the mausoleum’s stoop, right under a slight eave where it would be protected from the weather.
Cheerful and only a little overpowered by the rain, Proserpyn’s voice sang.
“Mr. Gregor was kind to children.”
She bent down to wipe some wet leaves and a touch of mud off a step with a spare rag she’d brought.
“Madam Junio donated to all.”
She folded the rag and put it reasonably close to her lamp.
“His Grace, the Duke was humble.”
She tightened her hood over her head.
“Miss Trishelle loved knitting shawls.”
As Prina danced and swayed in place, her steps soon moved with a rhythm that only played in her mind.
“She gave the shawls away, so kindly so openly.”
One of her palms extended to catch raindrops.
“She warmed the girl’s shoulders while smiling, truly.”
The song went on in this manner. In fact, as Prina danced about in the darkness, she passed graves that had the names she’d used. Thanks to the lack of light, they weren’t legible, but she knew they were there.
After a few more lines, her feet halted. Her hands slid back under her cloak, where they met at her belly, her arms bent. She turned back to go to where her father’s body rested, where she’d placed her oil lamp. She crouched down to touch the thing when she heard a voice she hadn’t wanted to hear.
“You couldn’t have known any of those people.”
Picking the lamp up, she faced the opposite direction. There was nothing unusual in her sight: rain, vague shadows, and outlines–her lantern. Sometimes, there was an occasional streetlamp, but not much else.
It was far too dark.
…She could smell him.
The rain and soggy earth’s scent were forgotten. There was burning wood, spice … and oddly enough hints of dark chocolate and cherries. Did his scent change every time he appeared?
Even though she knew who it must be, she asked, “Who’s there?”
The answer, right in her ear, was simple.
She quickly spun as she repeated with a higher and more concerned pitch, “Me?!”
The tone turned a little bit more impish, although she could still hear a smoldering hint.
“Would you prefer myself or I?”
He might well have been trying to lick her ear! That is how close it felt!
Shuddering, Proserpyn continued to search for the voice’s owner. He must be somewhere! Growing frustration had her brow knitting, “Such cowardice! You won’t face a lone maiden in the dark?! Reveal yourself!”
“Is that your wish, Honey Drop?”
Proserpyn tried to think of another way to insult the man. She stood there, rain pattering on her cloak. It took around fifteen seconds for her to finally say, “You’re irritating and useless. I’ve no time for such a creature.”
She went back to pick up her rag and folded it into a pocket, “I’ll leave you in possession of the dead, Sir. No doubt, someone must want you here.”
Prina grabbed her lantern and walked off, lighting her path.
Just as she made a slight turn, her heart jumped and she retreated a bit.
A figure was sitting on a rather tall gravestone.
He looked casual as he did it, and this time he wasn’t shrouded in black and blue. It was as if he’d known he’d be too difficult to see. Instead, he seemed to be covered in a similar garment of red, or at least Proserpyn’s lamp suggested it could’ve been red. It could also have been orange.
Well, at least he wasn’t hiding.
But … well …
Proserpyn’s eyes followed the raindrops as they fell down onto the red and orange-clad man. His cloak was so long that it covered the gravestone’s front and quite a bit of the earth. When the water landed on the fabric, there weren’t any obvious signs of wetness. Neither did the fabric reject the water as if oiled, as her own protective garment had been. The drops seemed to … disappear … as if they were falling into something.
It was a detail many wouldn’t have noticed, but Prina had been so focused on him that she couldn’t help but see the oddity. However, her senses told her not to give a comment.
She stood there, her arm up and out, holding onto her lamp and waiting for the man to speak.
Certainly, he’d have a handful of more words for her, a handful at the very least.He didn’t disappoint.