The Wraith Child | by Joyce Chng

OCCULUM

     I finally caught her.

     She was a mass of tangled hair, rags and spit, kicking and scratching when I carried her back to my hut. Here, where it bordered between Upper Layer and Lower Tier, I was a scrap-collector.

     When I tried to wash her, she fought. I was assailed with doubt. Maybe it was wrong of me to bring in a … wild child. Maybe it was not right. Maybe I should release her and let her go back to whatever she belonged, lived, ate. I wondered what she thought of me: a tall young man or a slender young woman, pale because of the lack of sun.

     Dirt came off her in a pool of black and brown, swirling into the hole. It was a struggle to wash her hair; it was all knotted and gnarled. Washed, it was long…

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