• 02 Apr - 08 Apr, 2022
  • Mag The Weekly
  • Fiction

If there was some trace of evil in her eyes (they matched, he observed, the lapis lazuli that tiled every surface in her palace), Brian couldn't see it. He had not misidentified her. That much he knew. It was Davina, called still the Blue Jewel, but with such bitter irony that she might as well have been named the Bitch from Hell.

But there had to have been some mistake, even if not with his eyes nor her guiltless, perfect face.

"Brian?" she ventured. Her voice was not like bells or chimes or flutes or anything so musical. It wasn't like anything but a voice – a woman's voice, low and with just enough of a rasp to it that it could come only from real air through a real throat. She was supposed to be a monster. Why wasn't she a monster?

"How do you know my name?" The defiance and suspicion was only in the words chosen. His tone might as well have accompanied a concerned inquiry after her health. The look on his face would have been less incongruous if he'd been speaking a proposal of marriage.

"What? Brian, it's me, Davina," she said. Her face was instantly a mask of concern, but Brian's sharp eyes detected hurt beneath, like he'd wounded her and she was trying for his own sake not to be offended. "Christ, Brian, they told me you'd hit your head, but..."

"What?" That had come out of nowhere. Hit his head? Who were "they"? Why was she swearing by a god who'd been so ineffectual for the past decades that his worship had been all but forgotten? Why was he thinking such odd thoughts when he'd been to church just that morning (for it was Sunday), Davina sitting beside him in the pew?

"Brian, do you remember anything?" she pressed. Her eyes were very blue; his vision of everything save those very blue eyes swam. The background could have been white or red or beige or inky black, he had no notion. The church, he remembered suddenly, was grey stone. When he and Davina had moved to Elm Springs they'd chosen a house near that church specifically because it had looked like such a charming place, a calm bubble of the sacred in their new home.

"I remember..." The background resolved itself. Green walls and white décor and instruments of medicine: he was in a hospital (but it didn't look like a hospital, hospitals were brown and crowded and looked like – well, of course they looked like this. This was what hospitals looked like, because he was in a hospital and it looked like this.) "Davina?"

"Oh, thank the Lord, for a moment I was worried you didn't recognize me," she exclaimed, leaning over him – when had he begun lying down? Why did it surprise him that he was lying down, when he was in a hospital and had hit his head? Of course he needed rest.

Why was he holding a sword?

"They said you might hallucinate a bit. You hit your head so hard, it's a miracle you're alive, much less awake," Davina said, answering his question and jogging his memory about who "they" were. They were doctors, because he was in a hospital. He had hit his head.

The sword, clearly, was a hallucination. He wasn't supposed to kill Davina with a sword. She was his wife. Brian twitched his left hand, felt the wedding band press into the skin of his finger. He drew breath, smelled the antiseptic cocktail of fluids and people in various states of disease and disrepair that marked his location.


That's all, she can do anything but change her name, and someone had not told him. That someone, who he was now quite sure had never existed, had not gone on to say if you meet someone named Davina, no matter what, kill her. You're our hope for this decade, Brian. She's only vulnerable once every ten years and then it's back to the hell for everyone if you fail.

Did she have to be so beautiful? It was that that had caught his eye when they'd met in the park, before he fell in love with her for her gentleness and her sincere faith and what the hell? In love with Davina? He was supposed to go home with her and go back to raising their children as soon as his excruciating headache went away, of course. "Where are the children?" he croaked, not "die, Blue Jewel" or "I'm not fooled by your illusions" or "prove that you are my wife, tell me your name is Sarah or Jenny or Chrysanthemum or anything but Davina".

"Ken and Lois have them," she said soothingly, taking his nearest hand – the one with the ring on it – in hers, picking it up away from the hallucinated sword. She adjusted her posture, bumping the bed with her knee, and the "sword" fell off of the bed, landing on linoleum with a clatter Davina didn't seem to hear.

The noise made his head pound and for a moment he saw two pasts stretching out as unalike as curry and custard. Of course he was Brian, husband to Davina and father to their three children (Carly, Martin, and Damien, his memory supplied helpfully, with faces and favourite colors to accompany each name), churchgoer, stock analyst, and head injury patient. Of course he was none of those things but instead Brian of Amron, alone save for his comrades in the eternal endeavour to overthrow Davina the Blue Jewel from her tyrannical reign in her once-a-decade moment of vulnerability. Orphan, bachelor, childless, godless, with no regular employment except trying to train himself to slaughter the delicate dark-haired blue-eyed (why blue? Why did her eyes have to be so blue?) woman (demon) sitting by his side looking for all the world like she wanted to feed him chicken soup. Not magically fake in him (her husband, of all people) a headache to fool him into letting her live. This version of himself was Champion. He had a sword, and he could pick it up and cleave her head from her body. He'd be hailed for a thousand generations to come as the savior of the world, and that gratitude would probably be enough to net him a house half the size of the one he owned with Davina that wouldn't even have plumbing.

She was kind about it, and let him have the rest of that day with the fictitious life she'd dreamed up to entice him. He went "home" with his head swaddled in bandages, kissed the empty air where her magic met his mind and told him there were children, and fell asleep curled up by her side, one of her hands idly rubbing the sore muscles of his arm – he had not scaled a mountain to get to a palace made of lapis lazuli, nonsense, he'd only fallen down some stairs, he could expect to be sore.

She let him die in his sleep, twisting his neck with a snap, quick and clean and merciful and none the less deadly.

She waited until her invulnerability was returned to her by the dawn before she threw his body from the mountaintop to advertise his failure to the world, which would remain populated by her victims for the next ten years. (And the next, and the next, and the next.)

And then, she was aloft. Wind whistled in her ears as she traversed the globe, impossible speed achieved by the dark magic that blazed in her blue eyes. It was such a busy day for her and she had lost an entire day, but still had so much pending work to do. -Anonymous