Blueshine, Heartfire Part II

Amy McLane here. Before we continue with the second installment of Blueshine, Heartfire, I would like to take a moment to apologize for being MIA. Someone dear to me has fallen on some Interesting Times, and I, in typical fashion, hurled myself straight into the center of the maelstrom in an attempt to help this dear one. The events of the last two weeks have taught me some very big lessons about myself, and the world, and human nature, and I can say with no hyperbole that these lessons  will inform and shape my writing for the rest of my life. A veil has been pulled from my eyes, and I am older, and wiser, and wearier for it.

And so, to everyone who might read this: I’m sorry. I’m here now. And I will be here, every Monday, and every third Thursday, from now until we all band together with matchsticks and kerosene and burn this puppy down.

And if you have not read it yet, here is Blueshine, Heartfire Part I.

Blueshine, Heartfire, Part II

Effy’s eyes went wide, her lips white. “Puncha,” she said, and then in Fed, her supply of vindal exhausted, “The dead man said.”

“Eh, Effy?”

“In the caskets. Had blackrot.”

Jareb nodded. Blackrotters got milled, that was the way of it. Otherwise they’d get up again, after they died, and spread their rot. He hated to think of Effy looking at such things, at scrubbing the flecks of bone from the millery caskets, but she was Vindaline, she was borne to bear it.

Effy shifted from foot to foot. “I can’t stay.”

“What he say?” Jareb asked her, feeling the weight of the gimlet in his hand.

“He was nutter,” said Effy, her curls rustling as she shook her head. “He said God sent him, he was an instrument of God and that he had hidden God’s instrument. In the dirt, he said, for the children of the dirt. For the children of dirt are the children of God.” She glanced around. “I should go.”

“Wait,” blurted Jareb, feeling the gimlet shudder in his clenched fist, vibrating into his bones. The heart of the scallic boy’s song came back to him in the rush of a broken memory-dam.
“The wheel turns and we are bound to it
Rise and fall, sun and moon, earth and sky
The wheel turns and we are crushed by it
And we die, and are born, and we die, and are born,
Again and again. There is no beginning and no end to time
And the children of dirt are the children of God.”

“You can remember,” said Effy, even paler now. “I thought I was the only one.” She inhaled through her teeth, a shuttering grasp at control. “I thought I was alone.”

“Of course I can remember,” said Jareb, surprised.

Footsteps sounded in the hall, not the tramp and stamp of Feds, but the soft patter pat of Maid-Mistress Gershu’s slippered feet. Jareb’s stomach flipped.

“Run,” he said, jamming the gimlet into his pocket.

“Remember,” said Effy, “Remember what I have told you every day. For three years.”


Effy spun on her heel. Not fast enough.

“Effy,” Gershu’s voice cracked down the hall. “There is dust in common room three.”

Gershu crooked a finger full of creeda, and Effy dropped to the ground, screaming in pain. Jareb fell to his knees next to her, knowing there was nothing he could do. Gershu pointed her finger, and Effy turned her head and vomited on the floor.

“You are a lazy slut,” said Mistress Gershu looming over them both, “And you do not ever learn. I think you are for The Brinks.”

“No!” Jareb cried.

Gershu pinned him with her eyes. “Two for The Brinks.” She snapped her fingers and Jareb and Effy both jumped to attention, held by her vice-like creeda. “You,” she said to Effy, “With me, now. And you. Clean this mess and then report to B Drop.”

Jared tried to speak as Gershu pattered away, Effy trailing helplessly after. He managed to grunt.

Gershu looked over her shoulder at him and smiled. “Don’t worry. I promise I’ll push you in together.”

Jareb leaned against the wall next to his propped sewal. The impulse to scrub screamed at him. He inched his fingers into his pocket and touched the blueshine gimlet.

Remember, she said.


“Cast er inut, eh?” Effy said. The familiar greeting from their vindal pheran.

“Eh,” Jareb replied, “Farren sabit.”

“They are stealing our creeda to make the blackrot.”

“Eh,” Jareb replied, “Farren sabit.”

“They will poison the stars. Everything will end. The wheel will never turn again.”

“Eh,” Jareb replied, “Farren sabit.”

“Damn you,” said Effy.

“Eh,” Jareb replied, “Farren sabit.”

Jareb blinked out of the heartshine trance. Sweat burned in his eyes, and mirrors shattered in his mind, as his heart broke and broke and broke.

It was time for the wheel to turn again.