WIP: Solomon’s Choice

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“Do you…” I stop as we pass a park – definitely not a thing Terrance took me anywhere near – filled with young Fey and other inhumans, making much the same sounds human children do when together: shrill laughter and mock-screams, declarations of arbitrary rules and demands to go faster, pass the ball, or whatever.

This unnerves me more than anything I’ve yet seen.

I’ve never seen children among the Mythos before.

I know now why we were never allowed to see them.

These things, these creatures, with magic in their eyes and too many arms or strange scaled skin, have more in common with human children than anyone could dismiss.

They’re playing.  Their egos are clearly on the same developmental path, though I do not know if the years match up.

It doesn’t matter if the years match up. No one could listen to this, watch this for more than a minute, without seeing clearly that the magical and the human are not separate the way we’ve been told.

They let me watch, these monsters at my back. They let me watch, these blood-drinking kidnappers, who’ve claimed me like some family pet and taken away my autonomy.

But have they, though?

I don’t want to think this, I think, hard, firm in my head as though I could possibly stop my new thoughts, could possibly forestall the feeling of peeling open an ancient burn-scab to reveal the ruined wound beneath.

I have only ever lived where the Association told me I could live.

I’ve eaten what they approved. Studied what they allowed – truly, for all the pressure Tom put on me, if I’d been actually forbidden from pursuing it, I would have had to stop.

I did not marry because they told me others without curses were better for family life.

I sought and gained the right to procreate –

That’s normal, that’s what humans do right now with limited resources, but it isn’t normal throughout history, and it’s clearly not normal here.

The number of children was obviously not restricted. I somehow don’t think it was prescribed, either.

These people have the freedom to love and procreate as they wish.

I wasn’t even allowed to marry a man, lest I take some valuable person from a more important field and/or prevent him from passing on his important, uncursed genes.

And they wait, these monsters at my back. They wait.

Maybe they know what I’m going through. I don’t know. I still can’t tell if they read thoughts or not.

Jonathan probably does. He does something, at any rate, that lets him know too much.

He, too, watches the young ones, a solemn expression, a knowing in his eyes as he follows each child’s steps.

He winces before they get hurt.

That can’t be.

I’m not seeing that right. My brain is playing a trick. It –

“You!” bellows a voice, and everything happens so fast that I lose the next few seconds of events.


A three-times bestselling author, Ruthanne Reid has led a convention panel on world-building, taught courses on plot and character development, and been the keynote speaker for the Write Practice Retreat. Author of two series with five books and fifty-plus short stories, Ruthanne has lived in her head since childhood, when she wrote her first story about a pony princess and a genocidal snake-kingdom and used up her mom’s red typewriter ribbon in the process. When she isn’t reading, writing, or reading about writing, Ruthanne enjoys old cartoons with her husband and two cats, and dreams of living on an island beach far, far away. P.S. Red is still her favorite color.