See it true.
It is just for you.
Toko chanted and chanted and then chanted it again. Each time she pictured Nanna at the market, Nanna picking up the piece, Nanna asking about it. She tried to picture Marta telling Nanna about a girl named Toko who had come to the Temple all those months ago. But the picture was never vivid, never real.
But still she continued her chant. Only once did her vision waver. Only once did the piece come flying out of the scarf to fall at Nanna’s feet. But even that time, Nanna took the piece and put it in her pocket.
Toko continued for what seemed like hours, never wavering from her chant. Whether it worked or not, she did not know. But it was her only chance.
The lunch gong rang and Toko’s stomach growled. She thought about going down to eat, but worried that Nanna had not yet found the amulet. So she stayed and chanted even harder, until she felt herself drifting off to sleep. But still the pictures in her mind continued. Nanna grabbing the box from under her bed covers to find the green and rust amulet gone. Nanna seeing the tapestry colors, but most of all, Nanna recognizing the brass embellishment, and knowing Sonsee lived.
But then her dreams turned to more frightening things, to stormy seas and fires, and to swamps with crocodiles. Until she startled awake to the sound of M’Lady screaming.
“Where is that lazy girl? Good for nothing, spoiled creature.”
Half awake, Toko saw the door to her room burst open and M’Lady fly in. “Get up! Get up now! Who are you to sleep all day like some princess while everyone else must work?”
M’Lady grabbed Toko by her hair and pulled her from her bed. Trying to twist away, Toko felt M’Lady’s pointed shoe hit her shin, and she toppled to the floor.
“M’Lady, please,” Toko pleaded. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry.”
“Sorry, sorry,” M’Lady screamed. “That’s all you have to say? Sorry?”
“But I was sick.”
“Sick? That’s your excuse?” M’lady stood over Toko shaking her fist. “I give you a warm bed, clothes, and food and this is how you re-pay me? By being sick?”
“Please M’Lady, I’ll do what you want, just tell me.”
“I want those tiles and I want to know the secret of weaving spells. I have waited long enough. If you cannot give me those, you are of no use. None. Enough playing games, tell me about the tiles and tell me now or I am done wihth you.”
“But M’Lady, I know nothing of those things, I swear.”
M’lady bent down and grabbed Toko’s chin, twisting as she tightened her grip. “Are you sure? I could send you away today, you know. And it won’t be to your father’s house, or to the priest’s bed chambers either. Oh they would pay dearly for such a whore as you. But I have another fate in mind for you, unless you give me what I want now!”
Toko’s vision swirled and when it cleared, she felt far away, far from M’Lady and from her trembling body. And she saw crocodiles tearing at her flesh. “The crocodiles,” she whispered, fear gripping at her chest.
“Yes crocodiles,” M’Lady repeated and then looked her up and down for a long minute. “I was thinking of the crocodiles.” M’Lady took a step back continuing to look at the girl huddled on the floor.
“Perhaps you were born with your mother’s gifts after all.” She turned and left the room, locking the door firmly behind her.
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