Zingamaian night out
Contessa was against it from the start.
From the moment they entered the temple…
No, even before that. From the moment Shabatzi suggested the idea.
“You know what will be hi-larious?” Said Shabatzi after the third glass of poison wine. “To breach the temple’s seal and take the Tear.”
“yeah, yeah” said the others, but Contessa was so against it.
“That’s the dumbest thing you said all week, girl.” That’s what Contessa replied. She remembered it clearly, that was what she said, for sure.
“Loosen up a little.” Shabatzi poured her another glass of poison wine, and sat besides her, thigh to thigh, leaning very close. This was fine. Getting into one’s personal space is expected of Zingamaians. It would have been weird if Shabatzi had kept talking to her from across the low table, considering the change of tone.
The two girls lay back further into the thick pillows, and Shabatzi started playing with Contessa’s hair. That was not expected, nor was it welcomed.
To be frank, now as she was recalling this, Contessa wasn’t sure about the first few things, but playing with her hair? That she remembered very well.
“We’ll just bring it back here, to the saloon, and show everyone that we got it. Half an hour later, the Tear is back behind the seal, no harm’s done. Yeah?”
“I’m not touching the Tear.” Contessa crossed her arms over her chest.
“I don’t ask you to. I’ll pick up the Tear. You just help with the seal, yeah?” Shabatzi’s smile almost turned into a giggle, which only made this worse.
“We’re going there anyway, right boys?” The boys cheered. Shabatzi kept playing with Contessa’s hair, and smirked at her. “Come on, it’ll be fun.”
I can’t believe I agreed to this, thought Contessa, now that she was standing above the seal, and this isn’t fun. Along with two of the boys, the three were positioned around the large fabric, which featured an elaborate texture of several snakes criss-crossing each other. The seal, above the well of the Tear. The three were on their knees, meticulously undoing the many knots that kept the fabric stretched tight over the round stone well. The Tear was deep down there. Contessa could almost feel its presence, with her shame gland.
It’s a thing, her father told her all about the shame gland. She could feel how the gland was growing thicker inside her throat, choking her.
But when she looked up at the boys, and at the others who were waiting behind them — Shabatzi in the front — she felt even worse.
Swallowing hard, she pushed the shame back inside. Shame, that she could live with. Defiling the sanctity of the Tear, that was… bearable.
Staying in the saloon by herself while the others were doing stuff, having fun, getting to talk … maybe about her… and being all active and cool? That was unacceptable.
She finished undoing the knots — before the others, of course — and stood up, not looking into the well as the others removed the cover. “Yay!” She said, Shabatzi kissing her forehead. She had to smile, because everyone else was having fun, and she didn’t want to spoil it for them.
“Wonderful, Tessy! What fun. Bring it up, boys!”
It wasn’t wonderful, and it wasn’t fun, but after returning to the saloon and drinking an entire bottle of poison wine, at least it became a problem for Contessa of tomorrow morning.