Kay forgets about Attis as he looks up. “We cannot be seen from above.” Muttering about finding the source of the light, he begins to climb the tiers for a closer look.
“Attis,” I say in a normal tone, “we know you are here. Please come out.”
I step towards the inviting water, but gaze towards the trees. Nothing moves there but for a few leaves in the currents of this space.
As I kneel to cup a hand into coolness the boy appears from behind a tree trunk. I drink – it is sweet and fresh and wonderfully cold – while motioning him closer.
“I am Glonu,” he says, halting many paces distant.
“And you are still Attis,” I respond quietly, standing carefully. I do not want to frighten him.
A spasm crosses his face, an expression of … relief? My heart thunders into action when I realise it is denial I see.
“Attis is now merely a name,” the boy whispers. “I can’t stop this, Siri. You have to kill me.” He jerks his head at the lake. “Drown me.”
“I cannot do that!” I burst out.
“Soon they will hear me!” he screams. “Do it now!”
I shake my head, my skin clammy with dread.
Attis rushes at me then, a dagger raised, and his expression is one of determination. He intends to force his death … in harming me. I understand he will hurt me, knowing Kay will retaliate; it is his only plan.
He is but a step away from where I am paralysed when Kay moves in behind him, grabs him by the head and grimly twists his neck.
Sobs burst from deep inside me as Attis crumples lifeless to the sands at the lake’s edge, the dagger falling into the water. I fall to my knees, weeping.
I weep for Attis, for Kay being forced to do this … for all of Massin. We are all of us doomed.