“Rahsia, this is all really yours, you know,” she said, eyes staring up at the gathering rain clouds.
Rahsia frowned. What a strange thing to remember. She had never stared up at … no one had ever said that to—she froze, snatching at the memory in her head.
“I felt terrible being the Secretkeeper, as if I’d stolen your life. Nek knew it would pass from me fairly quickly, although she didn’t know until right at the very end of her life that it would go to me at all. She didn’t know it would go back to you. I didn’t either, not until now. I’m glad, though. I’m glad you’ll have the life you’ve always wanted, that you’ve always planned for. You don’t have to avenge me. Just ... just watch over my children if you can. I don’t know if you can. Everything is changing. You might end up in Suci, for all I know.” She laughed.
This was Iman’s Memory, but wasn’t she at the Temple? What was she doing lying on the street dying? How could Rahsia even access them unless—
Rahsia scrambled to her feet and raced out the door, startling everyone in the tailor’s shop, racking her memory—no, Memories—for where Iman had last been. She stumbled into a dark alleyway and was greeted by crowds. Priests, doctors, passers-by—it was like the day Nek had died all over again, except that this was out in public, where everybody could intrude into her grief.
Father Farouk stood over Iman’s broken body.
“I know who killed her,” Rahsia said, breathlessly.
The priest from Suci tilted his head inquisitively. “You have the Memories.”
Rahsia almost chuckled. He’d said it exactly the same way to Iman before, as if he were not checking, not asking, but telling her that she does. But it was still a question—even if it was written on his face, not in his tone. “Don’t tell me: You need me. We have things to do.”
His lips quirked upwards slightly before smoothening out quickly into seriousness. “Take your time. But not too much. We must uncover the true rites behind the Sacrifice and the Penance before it is invoked.”
Before the end of the world. Memories bubbled to the surface, but Rahsia suppressed them for the moment. “I must bury Iman first, and settle her children.”
Farouk nodded. “Do they have family?”
“No. None left. But there are friends, I suppose. Neighbours who will do what is necessary.”
“When you are ready, then.”
“I will see you within the week.” Despite her words, Rahsia didn’t leave immediately. Instead, she grabbed hold of Farouk’s arm. “Take what you need. She needs justice.”
Farouk nodded and laid a hand on the crown of her head, pulling the Memory of Iman’s murder.
“Justice will be served,” he murmured before disappearing into the crowd.
So I've finished compiling The Painted Hall Collection into a single book, and decided to add a bonus story, Shattered Memories. This is a short story that happens sometime in Secretkeeper, which is the second book of what's going to be the Absolution Trilogy. If things go as projected. I'm still working out what happens where.
But, bonus short story!
Details to come soon!