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“I must confess, I’m disappointed,” he said. “I would have thought your mother would have at least mentioned me to you.”

The girl stared back at him and said nothing.

“Ah well,” he continued. “Never mind. You will, at least, have noticed my… handiwork.”

Her eyes flicked briefly, almost involuntarily, towards one of the framed photographs on the wall. He noticed, and smiled.

“Oh yes,” he said, following that instant’s gaze and lifting the picture off its hook. “Not your mother, of course, but one of my finer achievements. Beautiful, isn’t she?”

The girl tried to look away from the picture, and still said nothing.

“Of course, when I met your mother I was a mere novice. I have come a long way since. A very long way. I am now what you might call an artisan.”

He turned away and began to lay his instruments out on a clean silver tray.

“The pain will be intense, of course,” he told her in a matter of fact voice. “It will burn and sear you to the very roots of your nerves. But don’t worry. You won’t die.”

He turned and smiled again, the same smile that had seemed so charming a few hours ago.

“At least,” he said, pressing a sharp needle into her flesh, “Not until I want you to.”

© Kari Fay

(Author’s Note: The Three Word Wednesday prompts this week were Flesh, Novice and Sear.)

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