Road of Woe: Ten

The thick finger-stalks of the plant-prince wrapped around the woman’s throat, the rough bark pressing against the tender flesh of her neck. Her head swam as her body ached for breath. The finger-stalks split and forked and grew, spreading to cover the whole length of her neck. Each moment, they reached lower —

— until a tender sprout grazed the braided silver chain around the woman’s throat.

The stalk blackened, its leaves shriveling into desiccated wisps of brown and gray. The black rot spread from the necklace with the speed of flame. One stalk after the next sickened and died, twisting into gnarled shapes of dry, brittle twigs.

The plant-prince leapt back, desperately tearing the trunk of its torso from the branches of its arms. In horror, it watched its arms shrivel and fall, clattering across the woman’s body, now covered in a blanket of dead, dry leaves.

Slowly, the woman sat up. Twigs and leaves rustled as they fell from her powerful arms and broad chest. A single, unrotted white petal stuck to the woman’s lip. Without thinking, her tongue sought out the morsel and she swallowed it.

Rising to her feet, the woman shook the crunching mass of dead vegetation from her boots. She glared at the armless shape of the plant-prince before her and said, “My name is Sabit and I bear no love for you!”

— — —

Wayfarings of Sabit: Road of Woe is copyright © 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

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