Bear Witness

“Y’are convicted,” said Donatien, his long fingers bone-white even in filth. “With no possibility of parole.”

Summer wailed, a high, almost brainless note of mourning. Donatien’s face lengthened and became thoughtful. Birds flew past the window, grey and green and common. “Why?” she sobbed. “What did I do?”

Donatien shook his head. “Y’are asking the wrong questions.” He reached through the bars of her door and touched her hair gently. She flinched away absently; his hand hung there in the air, fingers slightly curled under. “Why’s not a reasonable question.”

“What did you do? Why are you in here?”

The curl of a lip that was his smile. “Ah, no. There’s no answer to that.” He tightened his fingers against the bars and put his feet on either side of the door. His face puckered, turned red. Crash went the door. “Come on.”

Summer huddled back against the far wall. With the door gone he filled the room like smoke. “What’s out there?”

“The labyrinth,” he said, “and, at the center, who knows? Monsters. Come.”

Outside the window birds were flying.