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Butterfly Enigma (3) - Ch. 26 TEASER
Kallima gripped Ignatius’ hand tighter, simultaneously comforted and concerned by the bony appendage. He squeezed back weakly. Despite having just eaten, he was still little more than an animated skeleton. He hummed and leaned into her shoulder. She stared at the shadows dancing across his face, examined the patterns of his freckles, then turned to stare out the window again.
The wheat fields glistened in the midday sun. It reminded her of a weekend drive along the countryside she had once taken with her mother. She smiled at the memory. Satu was happy that day, gentle. Kind. Sober. Those sober days always stuck in her mind the way biscuits stuck to the sheet when they first came out of the oven. Her stomach gurgled and pulled her back to the present. She scanned the carriage yet again.
Cosmo and Astro flanked Amelia, both asleep and clutching her softly. Catching Kallima’s gaze, Amelia rolled her eyes and giggled. She grinned back. Then she turned her attention
Mature contentButterfly Enigma (3) - Ch. 25 TEASER BritneyMorgan 2 1
Butterfly Enigma (3) - Ch. 24 TEASER
“Why can’t I come with you?” said Astro.
“Because Iggy’s not in good shape, and I don’t want you to see him like that.” Kallima said. “I- I don’t want anyone to see him like that.”
“Hey, what sort of fae is Donovan?” Amelia asked, rubbing her eyes.
Ester shrugged, and Dion said, “No one knows. Why?”
Amelia started to respond but stopped to gasp for air. A rotten odor hit Kallima, and her eyes watered. Her knees buckled as she drew another breath, though, and her stomach lurched. A shrill cry told her that Ignatius was still trapped in the room above. Turning towards the noise, Kallima’s eyes met a pair of glowing lavender orbs behind a clenched fist. Suddenly, it relaxed. The smell of decay broke, overwhelmed by a rich, chocolate scent. She rolled her head to the side. All four others laid on the floor, unconscious and convinced they were dead.
Except for Dion. Unlike the others, her e
Mature contentButterfly Enigma (3) - Ch. 23 BritneyMorgan 2 1
Butterfly Enigma (3) - Ch. 22
Keeper Donovan stormed through the stone building only two nights later and grabbed Amelia by the arm. He screamed at her, bellowed that she wasn’t doing her chores. She glanced sadly towards Kallima, turned back to Donovan, and spat in his face.
He responded with his fists.
His knuckles hammered her flesh until her screams turned to faint sobs. Then he twisted his fingers into her hair and dragged her from the room. In the morning, the other keepers summoned everyone to the yard to watch him whip the bruised girl. Kallima stared at the red dirt, afraid and ashamed. Ten thick, red cuts decorated Amelia’s back when Donovan finally threw his whip to the ground and Keeper Zachariah unchained her.
She fell to the ground and wept. Astro tugged Kallima’s sleeve, but she held up a hand to wait. Once all the keepers were back inside, she nodded. Instantly, a hundred hands descended on Amelia and lifted her to her feet. Kallima followed, watching closely, as a hal
Butterfly Enigma (3) - Ch. 21
After their flight, she woke to Keeper Abby’s stinging, citric hands around her neck, forcing her out of bed and down the stairs. Her boyfriend was already strapped to the post, and she reluctantly watched him endure another harsh punishment of five lashings.
“Three for disobedience, one for healing him, and one because I just don't like you,” Donovan said. “You will clean all the chimneys on your own. When you finish, you will run laps, and Abby will watch you. If you heal him, I will rip them open again tomorrow, understood?”
“Understood, Sir,” Kallima said softly.
“Be grateful I'm allowing you breakfast. Go.”
Kallima nodded and scurried away to a bathroom. Shaking, she washed her hands and throat. She sighed as it cooled the blisters on her neck. Then she shattered.
Falling to her knees, she wailed and swore at herself. In the short time she was gone, Ignatius had been content. Not happy, clearly, but the signs of
Butterfly Enigma (3) - Ch. 20
Kallima woke to someone shaking her and instinctively swung a fist. It hit flesh, and a yelp escaped the waker. She blinked and sat up, holding her skull between her hands in a futile attempt to quash the throbbing.
“Damn, Kali. That hurt!”
She stared at the source of the voice for ages before everything clicked.
“Amy?” she asked.
“Who did you think? You and Ig weren't at supper.”
“Food. You missed food,” Amy said.
“Yeah. Everybody’s getting ready for bed now. Are you okay?”
Kallima groaned. Her whole body ached, her head pounded in her ears, and her eyes felt heavy. On top of that, her throat burned from dehydration and sickness.
“No…,” she whined. “I'm not okay. I'm sick. I need to go to the infirmary. I need Iggy.”
Amelia shook her head. “Kali… he's not there. No one's seen him all day.”
Mature contentButterfly Enigma (3) - Ch. 19 BritneyMorgan 3 0
Butterfly Enigma (3) - Ch. 18
“Let me see if I understand this fully,” Clove said, leaning on the counter. “You want to go back to Orphanage?”
“Yes, Sir. If you’re willing to trade me,” Kallima told him.
“And why would I do that?”
The tall redhead peered around the small shop. Every corner had fabrics and patterns stuffed into them. Two women bickered over three different shades of light blue to use for a tunic. Other than that, the store was empty.
“I’m expensive. I’ve needed a physician twice in the last two days. I know someone who would gladly take my place.”
“Okay… why would you do that?”
“I promised my step-father that I would take care of myself, not be bought, and-,” Kallima sighed and said, “and I want to stay with my boyfriend.”
The merchant gawked.
“You have a boyfriend? In Orphanage?”
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Butterfly Enigma (3) - Ch. 15
Once again, Kallima stood along a wall with a line of other girls. Only ten were deemed too young to apply for this job, Jane and Astro among them. A few people stood between her and Willow, who kept her head bowed and her lips moving as though she was praying to a deity with which the redhead was unfamiliar. Amelia w on her toes right next to her. Everyone looked equally excited and nervous for the auction. The tall fae, though, pouted at being shown off as a piece of meat once more.
Just as the last time, Donovan entered the room silently and held the door for a stout brunette man with a small girl, no older than five, on his hip. He set her delicately on the floor and edged her towards the line of orphans.
“Because I need someone to help take care of you. And I want you to like her, too.”
The girl whimpered, clutched her china doll closer, and waddled down the line. Auburn ringlets bounced around her small, sad face. As she came clo
Mature contentButterfly Enigma (3) - Ch. 14 BritneyMorgan 2 3
Butterfly Enigma (3) - Ch. 13
Another three weeks passed like mud through a pipe: slowly and with all the grime and grit that came with it. Kallima struggled to keep her emotions in check for Ignatius' sake, a task easier said than done. Every time Keeper Donovan visited her to mock how slowly she was healing despite the golden youth's assertion that her recovery was going well, she felt the strong urge to punch the old man, and it showed in the way Ignatius trembled at the sight of the greying man. The remainder of the time, he maintained the cold, unfeeling expression that Kallima did her best to emulate.
More concerning, he stopped staying the night in the recovery room.
The absence would not have bothered Kallima so much if not for a day at the end of the month when she wandered the dreamscape in search of him only to find nothing. The next morning, he slumped into the ward with sunken eyes, red lines on his cheeks, and bruised wrists.
Mature contentButterfly Enigma (3) - Ch. 12 BritneyMorgan 6 4
Butterfly Enigma (3) - Ch. 11
Kallima groaned to life. A damp but warm rag touched her forehead.
“Don’t move,” a soft, hoarse voice said.
The dream fae started to sit up, but electric burning in her ribs made her gasp and fall back onto the bed she was in. Likewise, Ignatius panted at the sensation. Kallima opened her eyes to see the golden boy blow fire into his hands, shake out the flames, and place them gently on her torso. The hot touch soothed her aching muscles and, though it still hurt to breathe, she could feel herself relax.
“Where are we?” she asked painfully.
“Recovery. It’s a room where they stick anyone too sick or hurt to work.”
“Then they let you die here.”
“You’re not helpful, John,” Ignatius called.
“Girl has the right to know. She gonna die here, too.”
“Oh, go back to sleep! I’m tired of you already,” the golden boy hissed. “I
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Butterfly Enigma (3) - Ch. 5
Kallima and Willow shoved apples into a tight space in the wall before covering it up again with a wooden slat. Then they dryad set to work splitting a spare apple in half with her nails.
“You done good, Kali,” the girl said, passing her partner one side of the fruit. “Even if we do get busted, you done good.”
The redheaded fae gleefully crunched into the crisp apple and sighed. She had not realized how thirsty she was until the sweet juice filled her mouth, and chomped eagerly at the snack. Her companion made similar noises as she, too, devoured her hemisphere of fruit.
“Crazy morning, right?” Kallima asked.
“Oh, yeah. Totally worth it, though.”
“Iggy’s gonna flip when he sees apples…”
“Who’s that? Your boyfriend?” Willow teased.
“No,” Kallima giggled. “I mean, sometimes he is, and, other times, he isn’t.”
“Ah, one of those. Had a boyfriend once on
Mature contentButterfly Enigma (3) - Ch. 4 BritneyMorgan 4 3