Sketch by Terry Whidborne
At last the baby lay kicking and squirming on the hearth. Born of fire and smoke his features seemed moveable. To Annaliese crouching in Under-Chair-Land one moment his eyes found hers, the next he had no features at all. Finally after many changes he lay fully formed and solid. His large grey eyes focussed on hers in an immediate bond. “Sister’ a voice whispered in her head, “Sister mine!”
“Chyle!’, she said out loud, startling The Life Grower as he packed away his Life Pipe and slippers. He peered into Under-Chair-Land where Annaliese crouched with wide entranced eyes. “Come out from there Annaliese. Come and meet your newest brother.” She crawled out from Under and sat next to the Life Grower. “His name is Chyle” she told him. He told me so.”
“Chyle is a great name. The name of a warrior. ”
“He says he wants to learn how to cook, not fight.”
“Yes. Well.” clearing his throat The Life Grower took her small hand and said “Warriors need to cook too. Perhaps you will teach him?”
“Mother!” said the boy clearly in her head.
“He wants mother to do that” she said dismissively, examining the baby’s tiny fingers as she spoke.
“Was I grown out of smoke too?”
“Aaah! Well no. You were born.”
“Out of flesh and filth and blood?”
Annaliese sat and thought as her brother babbled to himself on the hearth.
“Is that why I’m pink and my brothers are grey?”
“Yes. Indeed. They will all be Grey Warriors when they are grown. Chyle will be one too.”
“He doesn’t want to be” she said sadly.
“No” he sighed “but that is what he was grown for!”
Annaliese’s mother was a colourist and had already begun to teach her daughter the magic of Colouring-In. Her flowers may have been lopsided and she had definite trouble keeping within the lines but she would work hard from now on for Chyle’s sake. He would not be a warrior if Annaliese could help it. He would be coloured. He would pass. She’d be the best Colourist in the land and make sure of that.
Copyright October 2015