Road of Woe: Nine

“Ishum is dead,” Sabit said to the collection of leaves and wood that wore the circlet of the prince of Ghabar. Her voice was steady and her cheeks wet. “I have heard many tales of those who love the dead. I refuse such a dark fate.”

The leafy figure threw its head back. A despairing cry like the creaking of a tree trunk in a violent storm issued from the hollow of its throat. Its rage rippled through the vines that wrapped around Sabit’s limbs, stalks flapping to and fro, although there was no wind.

“Deathlessness does not suit you, Ishum,” Sabit said as the echo of the plant-thing’s cries faded. “Even as a boy, you were not so consumed with rage. I remember a time when you stared down a pack of larger boys without making a sound.”

“You remember?” the plant-thing said, bending low over Sabit’s supine form once more. “If your memories fuel your defiance, then I shall rid you of their burdensome weight.”

Reaching forth with finger-like stalks, the plant-prince touched the brown flesh of Sabit’s brow. Tiny shoots crept from its hands, slithering their way among the black, wooly strands of Sabit’s hair. Pale, tender rootlings burrowed into her scalp, drinking deeply wherever they touched. From each stalk there bloomed a flower of purest white, its large petals covering Sabit’s head like the snow of every winter in her memory.

Sabit struggled against the infestation, but the finger-stalks rooted themselves deeply into the ground. The woody fingers became as strong as oak, encasing her head like a helmet.

Opening its maw, the plant-prince bent low over the mass of flowers. Like a horse at the trough, it sucked down petal after petal, chewing each one between its woody jaws.

“So many memories,” said the plant-prince, like the whisper of an evening breeze. “Such adventures you have had, my love. Perhaps one day I shall tell you the stories of a great warrior who went on such adventures.” It locked its white flower-eyes on Sabit’s confused gaze. “What do you remember of me?”

“I … I do not know you,” said the woman. . A single white petal had escaped the plant-things grazing and clung to her lip.

“Good. What do you remember of you?” it hissed.

“I am … I know not what I am,” she replied

“Excellent,” it said. “I tell you that you are my love. I shall make certain that we are together forevermore.”

The plant-thing pulled its hands from the woman’s head. She made no response. It wrapped the thick stalks of its fingers around her throat. She did nothing as it began to squeeze.



Wayfarings of Sabit: Road of Woe is copyright (c) 2017 by Michael S. Miller. All rights reserved. New chapters are posted on Monday and Thursday. You can support this and other stories on Patreon: or