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The Dagger and the Chalise

Wayne Kyle Spitzer

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He went into the kitchen and poured her a glass of water. “How long has it been since you’ve eaten?”



“I’m not hungry,” she said. She seated herself slowly, tentatively. “Two, maybe three days. Ever since Sister Samain wrested control of the coven from the Council. Thank you …” She took the glass from Jeremiah, still looking at the paintings. “They’re all done by the same hand, aren’t they?”



He took off his wide-brimmed hat and studied them. “The same eye. Sometimes Jasper’s hand shakes uncontrollably and I have to steady it with my own. Other times I am his hand, and he tells me what to do.” He laughed a little. “He says that I am an artist, just as he. But even I know it’s the eye that sees, not the hands.”



She continued staring at them. “No, I don’t think that’s true. These pictures have lines of grace … look, see how the fingers are elongated, and tend to curve up or down depending on the position of the body. They dance upon the canvas … surely you can see that. I think you paint them together, Jeremiah.”



He swung the strap of the respirator over his head and set it on a mantle. “I’m just his hands.” He moved to leave the room again.



“Just? But hands are for feeling,” she said.



He paused at the entrance to the hall. “And they’re for killing, too.” Then he disappeared into the dark.



And she thought, It’s the heart that kills, Jeremiah. The hard one by slaying others … and the soft by slaying itself. Then she pushed it from her mind.

Unfold

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II-4

SHE AWAKENED WITH A start, her heart hammering, her pulse racing, and threw off the blanket someone had lain over her—probably Jeremiah. A voice had intruded into her dreams, a female voice, that voice, Sister Samain. Did it work? she asked, her voice seeming at once familiar and at the same time foreign—alien. Did the trust spell work as intend……

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