Amaranth took in a shuddering breath. She wobbled on a stool hewn of ebony dark as night. Her fingers jutted out at odd angles, the knuckles swelled in some places and almost indiscernible in others. They wrapped around a bone-white needle. The trailing crimson thread painted the side of one hand.
A dozen tiny murmurs seemed to
resonate from the quilt Amaranth held.
She shook it. Her chuckling
drowned out faint shrieking.
No square looked more elegant
than the next. In fact, none of them
looked very elegant at all. The white
backing of each held just two red, smeared words. Names.
Amaranth set down her
needle. The world pulsed in her eyes, a
cloudy, distorted visage of stone, aged wood, and general clutter. Amid the greyness only one thing stood out—the
black figure of a cat.
“Hither, my Tiber,” Amaranth
forced from her lips. The words shook,
fragmented and stale. Tiber stepped
toward his master.
Amaranth ran her hands through
Tiber’s fur. It felt cold and greasy,
quite like an amphibian hide. “I hath a
surprise for ye.”
The quilt moaned as Tiber
slit the fabric with jagged claws.
Amaranth’s skin prickled as if suddenly chilled. A dark cloud rose from the patchwork. It streamed, audibly, forcing its way upward
until the last shred of cloth broke into powder. Amaranth smiled large enough to show her
empty gums. The room fell silent.