WIP: Solomon’s Choice – late-night thoughts

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A sample from my work-in-progress, Solomon’s Choice. Don’t forget to join the newsletter for updates!


I roll onto my back, marveling again at the lack of weight in my chest.

Healing. Healing from a curse (parasite, said Merit) which has plagued me my whole life. Healing, simply delivered in a potion. Why hasn’t this been given to the rest of humanity?

We are suffering. We are cancer-ridden, sickened, dying. Our average lifespan is thirty-five – I’ve already beaten those odds by twelve years. Why have we not received more help?

Bran said that there is a cost when healing flesh not your own, so that could be it, but I don’t think so.

I think… it may be a sunk cost fallacy, or some variation of it. I think the Mythos see no point in weakening themselves (when their own political situation is evidently balanced on a hairline edge) to save beings who can give nothing in return.

If Notte hadn’t interceded, we’d have died out. A blip in the universe, already forgotten, maybe even mythologized.

Why have we – once considered equals (a fact which I know, but cannot believe) – been relegated to barely-acceptable survival?

So many questions. So many directions this could go. How much can Notte truly help us? Is this pittance wrested from Mab truly all they can do?

Rephrase: all they can do without completely removing what remains of our autonomy.

I roll to my other side, miserable with a weight in my chest that has nothing to do with parasites.

They clearly have no trouble seeing us – me – as dangerous.

But they’re reasonable. Bran has shown that. Surely, this fear and avoidance are matters of poor information, or… or…

Could Notte be feeding incorrect information to his peers?

Could it all be a scheme to ensure he controls us when we come here, that no one else would be interested in self-risk to give us aid?

Maybe.

Doubtful.

But maybe.

I am utterly overwhelmed with possibilities, with thoughts, with worries. Maybe that’s on purpose, too.

Though I cannot shake the thought that Terrance is anything but trying to overwhelm, because he is as much himself in every situation as I am.

The raw honesty of him is more dangerous than any other temptation encountered in this place.

It was a good choice, giving him to me. My monster. Apparently unique among Notte’s people, if this whole knife thing is true.

If it’s true. If any of this is true.

An elaborate scheme with a cast of hundreds. Sure. About as likely as sentient stars.

The thing I keep circling back to is simple: they could just compel me to do what they wanted.

I’d be floating in that happy-dense cloud, thrilled with their attention, designing whatever couture disease they wished as long as it made them happy. That would be easier, wouldn’t it?

Is there a magical cost to compelling someone, as opposed to healing?

I cannot believe consent is that important to them. Consent, such a stupid issue, something that is not and has never been a factor in my life, cannot mean that much to monsters who can simply will their way without consequence.

It has to be something else.

I don’t understand yet, and I have to admit to myself that I will not until I learn more.

I have no choice but to resume my plan- to make nice, to be obedient and malleable, until I can manipulate the puzzle pieces for the sake of humanity.

It is deeply troubling that I have no idea what image this puzzle is meant to portray.

Ruthanne

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.