“Of Mind and Of Spirit” Extended Short Story

Evan/Eve Miller

Evelyn took a slow shuffle forwards.  Her old legs couldn’t do much more.  Her eyes were squinted nearly closed by wrinkles, and the thin strip of vision left was obscured by gentle-swaying blue tentacles.  Not that there was much to see, anyways.  Just darkness.  Darkness stretching on forever.  But Evelyn wasn’t alone.  No, she was one of three among the void.  Narina, a small, sickly girl with tired eyes and dry tears lay curled on the floor, rolled up in the fetal position.  Her whimpers fell on the deaf ears of the figure beside her.  It loomed over her, its lightless shadow suffocating the poor child. 

The figure’s features were demented.  Its frame was that of a small boy, but a second pair of arms reached from behind its back.  Its stomach was adorned with two sharp claws that reached from bended. . .  not arms, exactly.  More like thin bones, scales stretched across them unnaturally.  It might have had a face.  Maybe not.  Evelyn believed it was in her best interest not to find out.  Whatever lay behind that strange, fur-laden and fox-shaped mask was not meant to be seen by human eyes, no matter how old and cloudy they might be.


The ball was in chaos, guests running for their coats, parents sweeping up their children and looking around wildly for an exit.  The King shouted out to the crowd, but for once his booming voice went unanswered.  The guards couldn’t do much to calm them either.  Even the mighty Rodenites, the grand knights that kept order throughout the kingdom, struggled to quell their panic.  They’d never experienced a direct attack against one of their own, not in front of the entire kingdom, not within the safety of the castle.

Evelyn lay on the floor, unconscious, her hands folded over one another, grasping her cane tightly.  A few dozen feet away, the scrambling crowd parted around the sleeping body of Narina, her childish features pale and sickly.  While the rest of the Rodenites tended to Evelyn, Sir Craven and Princess Riverine picked Narina off the ground and rushed her out of the room.  The calamity of the ballroom was no place for a sleeping child.  She WAS sleeping, after all, the shallow breaths leaking from her lips confirmed that much.  How long those breaths would last, Craven didn’t know.  


“Pleeeeeease step awaaaaaaaay frooom the chhhiiiiiiillllld.”  Evelyn’s signature slow voice with those drawn out vowels echoed around the vast darkness. 

The figure cocked its head.  “Oh?  And why would I do that?  It is bad practice to abandon a toy before it is broken.”

Evelyn’s expression stayed stagnant, but the strange tendrils falling from the friend in her hair turned crimson with anger.  “Naaaaariiiiiinaaaaa is nooooooot yourrrs tooo plaaaaaay with.  Iiiii willllllll give youuuuuuu, ooooooone mooooore oppurtuuuuunity to leeeeeeeave us innn peace.”  The Flumph upon her head raised its tendrils, like a snake preparing to attack.

“Oooooooor you will leeeeeeave heeeere innnnnnnnnnn pieeeeces.”

You couldn’t see the figure’s face behind its mask, but you could hear the way its lips formed a cruel smile when it spoke.

“No.  No, I think I’m quite happy right where I am.”  A gray mist began to fester behind the figure, slowly obscuring Narina from view.

“Iiiiiiiit is looooonnnng paaaaast tiiiiime foor you to leeeearn youuuuuur limiiiiits, chiiiiild.  Alloooooooow me to eduuucaaate youuuuuuuuu.”


Riverine shut the door behind them, locking herself in with Sir Craven and the body of Narina.  She looked down to the two of them in panic as Craven set Narina on the floor.

“What about Evelyn?  She fell too, shouldn’t we go help her?”  Craven shook his head.

“Evelyn is a Rodenite.  Unconscious or not, she can take care of herself.  Besides, the others are out there helping her.”  Riverine nodded in understanding, falling to her knees beside Narina.  “Do you know what’s happening?”  Riverine shook her head.

“No, no idea at all, I was hoping you would.  I mean, surely it’s got something to do with. . .  him, right?”  Craven nodded, searching Narina for any signs of physical injuries.  He found none.  

“You have nature magic, right?  You have to have some kind of healing magic you can try.”  Riverine looked down to her hands and clasped them together, trying to quell the trembling.

“I do, but I haven’t used it since, well, you know.  What if I lose control again?”  Craven smiled softly.  

“You won’t.  I trust you.”  Riverine paused for a moment, and then gave a quick nod.  She held out her hands over Narina.  Deep breathe in, deep breathe out.  Closing her eyes, Riverine started to wave her hands over the small girl, focusing her magic into her palms.

“You’re doing it! Good job, just like that. . .”  Craven’s voice rang with pride as he encouraged his partner.  Her hands were glowing green as she waved them over Narina, little glowing tendrils of energy reaching down to the sleeping child.  Bruises and scrapes melted away under the healing light, but still Narina did not wake.  


The mist parted as the figure rocketed into the air, hanging a hundred feet above the old woman.

“Oh,  this is a neat trick.  I knew I liked you.”  Evelyn’s hand was raised, psionic energy coursing through the Flumph and into the tips of her fingers as she kept the figure suspended.

“Well?  What now?  Are you going to keep me up h- ” His voice was cut short as Evelyn wrenched down her hand and the figure was flung down towards the dark floor, slamming into it with a yelp.  When the dust cleared, the figure was standing again. “Oh, that was good.  But now it is my turn.”

The figure turned behind itself, reaching for Narina, but found its hands empty.  It whipped back to Evelyn.  “Where is she?”  Evelyn just smiled.  “Do not ignore me.  Where is the girl?”  

“Faaaaaaaar awaaaaaaay froooooom youuuu.  Iiit is juuuuuuust us in heeeere.  Nooooowhere leeeeeeeft to ruuuun.  Nooooo mooooore hooosts to hiiiiide behiiiind.  It is tiiiime to faaace the coooonsequuuuencessss of yooooooour actioooons.”  Evelyn’s eyes slowly began to open, pushing past the wrinkles and creases in her aged skin.

“Aaaaaaand leeeet me tellllll you, theeeey are nooooooot preeeeeetty.”


Narina sat up quickly with a gasp.  Riverine and Craven scrambled back, startled, before regaining their sentences and reaching for the girl.  Riverine spoke first. 

“Narina! Are you ok? What happened?”  Narina’s lips trembled and tears welled up in her eyes, quick breaths and choked sobs fighting for control over her throat.

“I- . . . Evelyn, she-. . . h-he’s back, I, I t-tried t-. . .”  She couldn’t get out anymore before doubling over into her tears.  Craven rushed forwards, wrapping his arms around the child.  He whispered quick words of reassurance, words too small for Riverine to hear.  Craven looked up to her, and nodded his head to the left, ushering her away.  Riverine hesitated, then nodded, standing up slowly.  She crept over to the door, carefully opening it and shutting it quickly, leaving the soft sobs behind her.


Evelyn raised her arms, the flumph raising its tendrils in turn, and two chunks of the darkness beneath them ripped themselves into the air.  The old woman threw her hands forward, and the crumbling darkness flew at the figure.  He dodged to the left, then the right, ducking underneath the second block of void as he stepped backwards. 

“I did not expect this.  You have done well, Evelyn.   I look forward to playing with you again.  Until next time.”  Mist surrounded the figure, and Evelyn’s old legs could not carry her fast enough to stop it.  Before she knew it, the figure was gone, and she was alone in the darkness.  Letting out a sigh, she lowered her head.  He had gotten away.  Though she had saved Narina, she had failed to eliminate the figure.  

Still, there was no reason to hide in the darkness.  Her fellow Rodents in the waking world must have been very confused.  They would be disappointed that the figure lives, but knowing them, they would mostly be grateful that Narina was ok.  Evelyn took a deep breath in.

And woke up.