posted Mar.19.17 at 03:00 pm

Liya didn't remember hitting the water, but she remembered being in it, and she remembered Hawk grabbing her wrist, and this time she also remembered the dark clouding in the cold water.

She walked past several stalls, some of them empty. A horse-shaped animal with a bird's beak and crest stuck its head over the partition to watch her as she went absently up a set of stairs to the loft part of the stables.

She remembered the figures at the top of the sinkhole--a man holding a shotgun, two dogs barking and snarling and looking for a way down into the hole--as just silhouettes against the blazing sky. She and Hawk had clambered out of the water onto a flat bit of limestone at the bottom of the hole, into a cool, shady cavernous bit where the rock had not all fallen in. The man was screaming I-told-you-so's and Hawk was gasping over him, telling Liya not to listen.

She had a moment again, then, remembering Hawk crouched with the light so intense behind him she could not see his face. But she had a sense that something was in front of his face anyway, whisps of static in the shape of a skull-like mask with a long, serrated beak..

She stopped at a door set into the wall. She didn't knock just yet, paralyzed by the image in her head, but the door opened anyway and Yoshi was standing there.

"Liya?"

Liya blinked, taking a moment to return to her senses. Yoshi seemed somewhat caught off-guard as well; he was wearing a simple dark undershirt and his hair was loose around his shoulders, as though he'd maybe been in the process of getting dressed.

"Um. Hello," he said.

"Hey," Liya answered. Yoshi stood back in the doorway, pulling his hair over his shoulders as he did, to allow her into the warmly lit room beyond.

"Please come in."