The Ravening

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His True Desire

I noticed him pausing a few times as darkness began to fall, to look at me.

He’d sharpened several sticks. Smoothing the sides and tearing off bits of branch. But I was willing to let him reveal what he was doing rather than pressing it.

But something is on his mind.

“What?” I asked.

He lifted a black brow at me as though he didn’t know what I was talking about.

“What are you thinking about?”

“I’m thinking I’d love to take you deep into these dark woods and make love to you in moonlight.” He paused to lower the rock and stick he worked on to give me a long look. “Would that scare you?”

I paused. Giving him a thoughtful look. Startled at his bluntness and highly confused at the words he was using.

Words I’ve never heard him say.

“I-I…don’t know.”

“Think on it, Zira.” He said softly. Going back to his task. “I’ll soon be done making you these and then I will ask you again. I’d like a direct answer. Yes or no.”

I swallowed hard. Thinking it over.

“I will.” I bit my lower lip. Nearly trembling at the thought.

“Shortly, Zira.”

“I know…”

I was desperate to stall so I paused a moment searching for something to say.

And the thing that had been forefront on my mind blurted out.

“You knew that you could get me with child, Van?”

“I did.” He didn’t look up as he admitted it. “But I knew it would be unlikely.


He paused what he was doing but still refused to look at me.

Strangely, avoiding looking at me tonight.

Fear? Shame? I was curious. But too shy to confront him head on.

“Creatures like the demon living in me have potent seed. Like a tree determined to spread its fruit on the land. Its only way to procreate is in a human body. So, it’s very dangerous. But mine, mine is more like a human’s, I understand that much…” He let his voice trail off.

I don’t understand.

“What’s that mean, Van?” I queried.

“It’s well known to things such as I, that mortal women often don’t let a seed take root unless they have some tenderness for the man doing the taking…”

“And I don’t love you.”

He winced. “True. Which would make it unlikely.”

“And what if it had?” I asked.

He straightened and looked at me as though I’d slapped him. “Then I-I…”

“You?” I gave him a sideways look. “What would a demon such as you do then?”

“Find a way to tend it.” He gave me a long study. “Tend you…”

“Hard to do with your insatiable need.” I remarked.

“But some feelings trump even that, I’m learning…” He doggedly went back to whittling.

Unsure how to respond to his last comment I watched him a moment and asked the other thing on my mind.

“Why did you ask me to tell you I loved you?” I blurted it fast enough I couldn’t steal the words back. Though I immediately regretted them. Drawing a long breath to steady myself.

“You know why.”

He didn’t pause.

“To seal yourself to me.”

“Yes.” His words were barely audible.

“Was that the only reason?”

He shifted unsettled. Adjusting where he sat, anxiously.

I watched him with interest. I’d never seen him uncomfortable. “Why else, Van?”

“Enough of this discussion for now.” He said. Setting the last stick aside to give me a long look. But his tone wasn’t harsh or anger. Merely exhausted.

“These.” He grabbed the sticks and lifted them. “Are for this.”

He reached behind where he sat into the deep grass and retrieved a small homemade bow.

I gave him a wide-eyed look. “I’ve not the faintest idea how to use one of those.”

“That’s what I’m for.”

“You intend to teach me?” I asked in shock. No one had ever done such a thing for me.

Not true. A small voice inside me argued. Didn’t he just teach you how to set a trap tonight?

He had.

He nodded in answer to the question I’d asked.

Or my thoughts…

He always seemed to know them.

“But now it’s time for other things…” He set the bow aside. And leaned forward on the log he sat on to rest his elbows on his knees. It was now dark enough that his eyes glowed reflecting the orange firelight. The intensity on his face was penetrating.

I shivered just from the way he was looking at me.

“So…” He said in that purring rumble. “What is your answer?”

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