My writing and art! Main @cjadewyton and polished work on @jade-wyton

Posts tagged sensin:

‘What is this?’

‘If you want, I’ll leave my family for you,’ Sensin told her. ‘This place is for sale. We could live here. You and me and the kids. All you have to do us say so.’

‘S-Sensin, you—’

‘—I love you, Elli. More than anything else,’ he took her hands in his and squeezed them. ‘Even more than Ykelt loves Ziu. And I’ll do anything to prove it to you.’

Before Elli could say anything, Sensin had picked Ykelt up under the arms and was holding him up in the air like a limp sack of fruit.

‘Come near Elli again and I will snap you in half like the twig you are!’ he growled, giving the man a shake. ‘How dare you take advantage of her like that! I will end you!’

>TFW you fuck your sister-in-law, so her husband picks you up under the arms and your life flashes before your eyes making you regret every choice you've ever made leading up to this moment and you realise you love your own wife and vow to never cheat on her ever again

Elli meets Scaychie for the first time

290 words

cw: manipulation

‘Where’s Keeyata?’ Elli asked, standing on her toes to try and see over Linzor’s wings. She could see someone behind him— Though it didn’t look like Keeyata. ‘I’ve been dying to see her! I have to show her the girls! And she’s had another baby, right? Where is she?’

‘She sends her love,’ Linzor said with a frown and a nod of the head. ‘Or her version of love, anyway.’

Elli sighed. ‘She’s not coming?’

‘Why would she?’

‘I thought she’d like to see me again,’ Elli said sheepishly. ‘I’ve missed her.’

Linzor laughed loudly. ‘Oh, dear Elli,’ he said, taking a deep breath and grabbing her by her cheeks. ‘Sweet, naive Elli.’

Elli pulled away from Linzor and frowned, rubbing her now-sore cheeks as he walked away. As he did, he was trailed by a tired-looking dassen woman and a young boy. For a second, Elli’s heart stuck in her throat. The dassen woman was young, and looked … like. …

Sensin stepped beside her and wrapped his arm around her waist. ‘That’s your friend?’

‘He was, yeah,’ Elli gave an anxious grin. ‘He hasn’t changed a bit.’

‘You alright?’

‘Yeah. Yeah. I was just hoping to see Keeyata as well.’

The dassen woman stopped and turned to stare at Elli.

Sensin’s grip on Elli’s hip tightened, and Elli knew he saw it too.

For a moment, the dassen woman stared. Then a wide grin spread over her face and she rushed over to Elli.

‘You must be Elli!’ she exclaimed, thrusting her forehead against Elli’s with a painful thunk. ‘My name’s Scaychie! Keeyata’s told me everything about you— Is it true that your son is going to be king of Sapious? And are you really a dream walker?’

Elli, a Canis diplomat, married one of Konde's princes to help make a peace treaty. Then she goes and screws it up by having an affair with the prince of Canis. Needless to say, it's a drama that causes a very serious meeting between the two kingdoms.

Distro, though, knows how to diffuse a room.

200 words

‘If we are seeking forgiveness for our past mistakes from our allies, doesn’t it make sense to offer them the same curtesy?’

Nirine stared at her son in disbelief as her court muttered disapprovingly. Elli could feel their gazes boring into her. As well as the gazes of the Canis diplomats. The only eyes she could see that didn’t look like daggers were Ykelt’s— And Distro’s.

Distro was shaking her head, but her gaze was soft and forgiving. Then she took a deep breath and addressed the room. ‘He’s right, and I’m willing to forgive you, Nirine.’

‘You— Excuse me?’

The room began to mutter, and Elli was stunned. What?

‘I’m willing to forgive you, for the actions of your daughter-in-law,’ Distro clarified, grinning widely. ‘She seduced my grandson, you see. And now we’re caught in this slurry of political drama. And I just want you to know I forgive you. And I especially forgive your son for not keeping her satisfied— If you know what I mean!

The comical wink Distro gave made the room fall silent.

Then Sensin’s mother laughed, and shook her head. ‘You forgive him for. ... Oh, Distro! Oh, Goddess, Distro.’

The first draft of a fight that Linzor starts. This time he's being blatantly manipulative with people.

And even though it's blatant, and she KNOWS what he's doing, it still works to make poor Elli doubt herself.

370 words

cw: abuse / manipulation / fighting / violence

‘You’re scared!’ Linzor growled. ‘You’re scared that Elli and I are going to run off together!’

‘No I’m not I just— You’re a creep!’

‘Zen’efay! I knew it! You don’t trust her, but you can’t admit it!’ Linzor hissed. ‘So of course I’m the villain! Never mind that I’ve been her only loyal friend for years! Her sister and her boyfriend run off together, her mother marries her off, her husband neglects her so much she turns to another man— Who stabs her in the back and blurts about it to everyone!’

Elli could feel her heart racing as Linzor stepped closer to her husband. She could barely breathe as Linzor continued.

‘If I was with Elli I would never have her stray!’ Linzor declared. ‘I’d treat her as she deserved and make sure she behaved! Unlike you!

Sensin’s fist met Linzor’s jaw with a loud crack, and the dassen stumbled back a pace.

The room gasped, as did Elli. She was so shocked by Sensin that she almost forgot to be surprised that Linzor was still standing.


But then he looked up at the wolven, his eyes burning with the same seething hatred that Elli had only seen the night he’d almost killed Ykelt, and when he lowered his head Elli felt herself screaming as she leapt between the two men.


To her surprise, nothing happened.

Slowly, she dared to wink open an eye, and saw as Linzor’s horns —which had stopped only millimetres from her throat— were pulled away. She felt Linzor brush the tips along her cheek as he moved to stand straight, his anger seemingly gone as he gave Elli a familiar look. It was cool enough that people who didn’t know him might think it was reserved, or indifferent. … But Elli recognised it. It was the same look he’d given Keeyata after she’d burnt herself on the stove. … The same look that he’d given Ziu after her favourite glass eye had gone missing from her room. …

He was entertained.

He was having fun.

He made it physical,’ Linzor said plainly, his voice echoing through the silent room as he turned and made for the door. ‘I pray that’s not how he is when you two argue.’

When you have sex with another man's wife, so he picks you up under the arms like a baby & your life flashes before your eyes making you regret every choice you've ever made leading up to this moment & you realise you love your own wife & vow to never cheat on her ever again.

Little Centela is a good Har'py which means he is NOT a liar and will get VERY upset if it's implied he's not telling the truth.

Kaka mia mal sasao! Don't whisper what you won't scream!

600 words

cw: death mention

‘I hate baths,’ he muttered. ‘I want to lie in the dirt!’

Sensin shrugged. ‘You’re going to have to have a bath when you’re done in the dirt. You won’t be allowed in the dining hall like that.’

‘I can get my own food,’ Centela declared, jumping at the base of the tree and digging. He scrabbled until he was able to pull out a small root, and began chewing. ‘Mmmfee?’

‘Spit that out!’ Sensin exclaimed.

‘Mno,’ Centy grumbled, clambering around the tree so Sensin couldn’t grab him. ‘Itf mimne!’

‘Papa, he’s so clever!’ Mingan exclaimed. ‘I wish I knew how to find food like that!’

Centela felt his scales warm with pride, and felt his chest tighten as he instinctively stood up straight. He pulled the root out of his mouth and quietly stepped out from behind the tree.

‘I can teach you,’ he told her. ‘It’s not so hard. You got to be careful not to eat poison stuff. That’s all! If you eat poison stuff you’ll die and be thrown into a ga’oa so goblins get to eat you!’

‘No you won’t—’ Sensin lunged for Centela, just barely managing to catch him. ‘You’ll go to the healers until you get better.’

‘If you get better!’ Centela exclaimed. ‘If you don’t throw up your whole stomach and have your lungs explode! I’ve seen it! It’s gross and you won’t even make it to the healers before you die!’

Mingan gasped, and hid behind her wings as her father hefted Centela off the ground.

‘Stop scaring her, Centela,’ he grunted.

‘Stop lying to her!’ Centela retorted. ‘If she thinks poison’ll not kill her then she’ll eat poison and die and you’ll have to live knowing you killed your zelkin! I’m helping you not be a murderer! You hakalika balak!’

Sensin hesitated, then let out a deep sigh and pulled Centela into his chest to keep him steady. ‘You don’t need to be so graphic about it.’

‘But it’s what happens!’ Centela defended. ‘It’s as bad as a spider sting!’

Sensin sighed. ‘Again with spiders. You really don’t like them, do you?’

‘Why would I?’ Centela exclaimed. ‘They’re big and mean and eat us whenever they can! With lots of stingers and legs and big big fangs!’

Mingan let out another gasp. ‘Like in your drawing!’

Centela nodded. ‘Uhuh! Only I’m not a good artist like you, so I can’t draw them right! They’re BIGGER than my drawing! So big they could swallow your stepapa Sensin whole!’

Mingan whimpered, and collapsed backwards into her chair. ‘Not stepapa!’


‘Nuh-uh,’ Sensin replied. ‘There are no spiders that eat people.’


‘Stop that,’ Sensin sighed, dumping Centela into the wheelchair beside Mingan.

‘No!’ Centela pouted. ‘I’m not a liar! Apologise for saying I was a liar!’

‘I didn’t call you a liar—‘


‘Alright,’ Sensin gave a heavy sigh, and pet Centela’s head until he quietened down. ‘I’m sorry for saying you were making things up.’

Centela crossed his arms and turned away. ‘Don’t call me a liar again.’

Swear I posted this before but I can't find it, so I guess not.

Early draft of a fight between Elli and Sensin, after Sensin finds out about the affair with Ykelt (but before Elli realises she's pregnant). Sensin's not usually an angry person, but he's feeling very hurt and betrayed in this scene.

840 words

‘I don’t deserve it,’ Elli mumbled.

‘What’s happened?’ she asked, putting a hand on Elli’s shoulder.

‘I’m a horrible person, that’s what happened,’ Elli sobbed. ‘He doesn’t deserve someone as terrible as me.’

Before the young girl could reply, Sensin’s feet met the floor with a thump and he marched over to his wife. The woman backed away as he snapped at Elli.

‘I’m tired of this! You made a choice!’ he hissed. ‘I trusted you! You were my closest friend— And look what you did to me!’

‘I’m sorry,’ Elli flopped limply on the couch, drained before she’d even gotten up. ‘I didn’t think. … It’s been so hard. … I feel like I’ve lost everything—’

‘—I’ve made just as many sacrifices for this marriage as you have!’ Sensin snapped. ‘I try and try and try to make you happy, but it’s just not good enough for you, is it? Is it!’

Elli buried her face in the couch and started sobbing violently as Sensin continued.

‘I was the twelfth son of the king! I could have had any life I wanted— But I gave up my dreams to serve my people! And you know what, you haven’t ever asked what I wanted to do! What I lost from all of this! You’ve been too wrapped up in your own misery to even consider that this has been just as hard for me as it has for you! I mean, do you even know anything about me? My favourite food? My favourite colour? Do you remember what I wore on our first date?’

Elli didn’t reply. She just kept her face buried in the worn fabric and sniffled.

‘Would you even care if I died?’

The door shut behind the servant with a hurried bang, and Sensin flinched, seeming to realise how quiet the silence was in comparison to his yelling.

‘If you would just learn instead of making the same mistakes over and over, maybe this wouldn’t have happened,’ he said softly. ‘I’m sorry I’m so angry, though I think I have the right to be. I want to try and fix this. Fix us. But I can’t if you don’t try as well.’

Elli sniffed. ‘I’m sorry.’

‘Being sorry doesn’t make it better,’ Sensin sighed.

Elli knew he was right. She knew. And he hated it.

She hated herself.

‘I’m sorry,’ she didn’t mean to say it. But they were the only words she could find.

A slow, sad breath found its way out of Sensin; his entire body seemed to deflate for a second and he collapsed against the back of the chair.

Neither said anything as the silence lingered between them, and Elli had to hold back the tears as she scanned her belongings on the floor beside her— All of them, she realised, had been gifts from Sensin. … Every single thing.

He’d spoilt her. So much. And she’d ruined him like everything else she touched.

‘I’m sorry.’

‘I know,’ Sensin replied, letting an arm fall over the couch so the tips of his fingers brushed Elli’s ear. ‘I know.’

Elli closed her eyes as his hand slowly moved away from her, and she almost flinched when she felt him lift her legs and slide under her so he could sit with her on the chair. He ran a hand over one of her talons —which she resisted the urge to withdraw— and rested the other gingerly on her hip.

She felt guilty. And not just for the affair.

He was right.

She knew nothing about him. She didn’t have an answer to a single one of his questions. His favourite food? Favourite colour?

She’d tried to learn them. She had.

But her memory. … Her head. … She couldn’t think of them, as stupid a person she was.

She squeezed her eyes tighter, trying to think.

Blue was all she remembered. Blue lace. And a flower not-quite-hiding a hole in a ripped breast pocket.

‘Your blue suit,’ she managed.


‘The one with the hole in the pocket. You wore that on our first date. I think. Did you?’

She felt him squeeze her talon, running his thumb along one of the toes as he pushed the tension out of her muscles. ‘Yes. I did. I— I shouldn’t have. … It’s okay that you don’t remember things. It’s not your fault. I’m sorry I implied that. … That. …’

Elli sniffed back the last of her tears and wiped her eyes. ‘Are you angry at me?’

‘Yes,’ Sensin’s voice was scarcely a whisper.

‘Do you still love me?’

‘Of course I do,’ his voice was louder now. But still soft. ‘Do you … still love me?’

Elli finally looked at him and her sore, red eyes met his. ‘I think so. I think that’s why it hurts so much.’

Sensin sighed.

‘I’m sorry that I ruined us.’

‘Come to bed, Elli.’

Elli shook her head. ‘I don’t deserve it.’

‘Elli,’ both of Sensin’s hands were on her talon, now. ‘Please. I can’t sleep without you.’

Okay so, usually I only post drafts that actually read like novel, but I like this chapter enough to post it as-is.

A Lot happens. Like, when this is cleaned up it will be at like half the chapter because there’s a lot more character development/world building that needs to happen during the scene.

But yeah! This is what my first drafts usually look like!

1490 words

cw: violence

Centy tells him to get a snack from under his bed.

Geoff pulls out Peedee’s box and exclaims ‘WOW this is a BIG snack!’

Centy SCREAMS and tells Geoff ‘No! NO NO NO NO NO!’ And slams the lid back on the box

Sensin hears Centy’s ungodly shriek and hurries into the room, where he finds the two with the box.

Centy panics, and basically throws himself on top of it, hiding it with his wings.

‘Centy? What is that?’

‘NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS!’ Centy screeches back.

Sensin sighs, and calmly closes the door. ‘Show me what’s in the box, Centy.’

‘NO!’ Centy cries.

Sensin approaches, and crouches down. ‘Centela.’


Elli quickly comes in, carrying Mingan, and asks if everything is okay.

Sensin explains that Centy is hiding something.

‘Centela, what have you got?’ Elli asks gently.


‘Him?’ Sensin sighs, an exhausted air surrounding him. ‘What’s his name?’

‘SHUT UP!’ Centela hisses.

‘Yeah, shut up!’ Geoff mimics, using Centela’s voice to shout. ‘Shut up! SHUT UP!’

Mingan starts wiggling in Elli’s grip. She whispers quickly in her mother’s ear.

‘A secret?’ Elli responds. ‘You know about it?’

Mingan nods. ‘I promised not to to tell. … Sorry mama.’

Sensin then tries to take the box from Centy.

‘Centela, if you don’t show me I’ll have to take it away.’

Centy lets out an ear piercing screech and lunges under the bed with the box.

Sensin goes to pull him out and Geoff tries to bite him.

They try to get the box from him and he SCREAMS and SCREAMS.

Tru’man and Scaychie come running in. Scaychie’s panicking and Tru’man looks about three times his size because of how fluffed up he is and how stiff his wings and tail are.

As soon as Tru’man sees what’s happening he LEAPS onto Sensin and sinks his teeth into Sensin’s shoulder.

Sensin lets out a scream (as do Mingan and Elli) and the two roll on the floor for a minute as Tru’man drags Sensin away from the bed, then leaps back in a fighting stance, fluffed out and hissing.

‘KEEP AWAY FROM MY KATKAS!’ Tru’man screeches. Then he hisses again, hunkering down and preparing to leap onto Sensin.

Sensin holds up his hands, blood dripping from his shoulder, as Tru’man leaps onto him again and bites into his forearm.

Centy lets out a cry and runs out. ‘NO! NO! DON’T HURT HIM!’

Tru’man holds Sensin, a hand pressed onto the side of his head, a foot on his chest, another holding down his leg, and his teeth in his arm. He stops as Centy runs over and leaps onto him.

‘I was being bad!’ Centy cries. ‘Don’t hurt Sensin! Please don’t hurt him!’

Slowly, Tru’man lets Sensin go. As he gets off him basically the entire castle runs to the room.

Jared bursts through the door, as does Sensin’s mother. They help Sensin up. They go to take him out of the room, but he just shrugs them off and sits on Centy’s bed, letting out a deep breath and holding his shoulder wound. Luckily, neither wound is deep because of Tru’man’s small teeth. They’re just on the surface.

Tru’man looks at Centy, hanging off his hip, to Sensin.

‘You do not punish my children,’ Tru’man said firmly.

‘I wasn’t,’ Sensin groans. ‘I just needed to see what he had. He had a box with something in it that he isn’t meant to have.’

Tru’man looks hard at Sensin, then puts a hand on Centy’s head. ‘Give him the box, Centela.’

‘But—’ Centela cuts off when Tru’man looks down at him.

‘Give it to him.’

Centy climbs back under the bed.

As he retrieves the box, Sensin asks that everyone leaves and let them sort it out. Everyone but Elli and Sensin’s mother shuffle out awkwardly. Jared takes Mingan out as a healer quickly slides in and helps Sensin clean up.

Centy comes out from under the bed as Scaychie picks up Geoff and rocks him. Geoff is telling Scaychie, ‘Centela has got a big yum in the box!’

‘A big yum?’ Scaychie asks, glancing at Centy.

Centela reluctantly hands the box over to Sensin, who takes off the lid and is met with dirt and leaves.

He carefully shuffles through until he finds Peedee. He pulls out the millipede carefully and shows it to the room.

Elli sighs. Geoff claps. Scaychie just stares.

‘That’s just food!’ Tru’man scoffs. ‘Why are you hiding your food?’

‘He’s not food!’ Centela exclaims, clambering onto Sensin’s lap and hiding Peedee protectively. ‘He’s my katka!’

‘Your katka?’ Tru’man repeats. ‘If he is your katka then where is his kekik?’

‘I don’t know!’ Centela admits. ‘But I hatched him from dirt! Just like Tres from the stories about the Rendi!’

Tru’man’s ruff puffs out, hinting at his excitement. ‘Did you?’

Centela explains that he rolled up a ball of dirt and leaves and kept it and it hatched into Peedee.

Elli then explains that millipedes hatch from eggs in the foliage and that an egg probably got mixed up.

‘No! He brought it to life!’ Tru’man exclaims. ‘Zen’efay! I’m so proud of you! Why didn’t you tell me sooner that I’m a yalfit-yalfit?’

‘Can I keep him?’ Centy asks.

Before anyone else can say anything, Scaychie speaks up.

‘Yes. It is your right as a dassen,’ she says simply. ‘Millipedes are very important to our heritage. As important as our own scales.’

Centy sniffs, and looks at his mother. ‘Really?’

Scaychie nods, and promises to tell him about it later.

Linzor calmly walks in now. He looks at Sensin’s wounds, and immediately turns and smacks Centela.

‘You bit him!’ Linzor growled.

Tru’man smacked Linzor. ‘I bit him!’

Everyone starts leaving to take Sensin to a proper medical bay to check his wounds again, and Sensin quickly whispers to Elli.

Elli stays behind with Centy then, but doesn’t say anything until everyone’s footsteps have faded down the hallway.

Centy can feel his heart racing as she turns around and crouches by his bed.

‘Centela,’ she says gently. ‘Sensin said he saw you’d hidden more than just your … katka.’

Centy feels himself close to tears.

‘Show it to me, okay?’

Centy shakes his head. ‘I don’t want to!’

‘Why not?’

Centela shuffles nervously. He doesn’t want to tell her the truth, but he thinks about how hurt Sensin got when he tried to hide things and sniffs. ‘Coz it’s not all mine.’

Elli gives Centy a disappointed look. ‘Oh, Centela—’

‘—I’m sorry!’ he exclaims. ‘It’s just that— Everyone else has stuff! And I want stuff, too! And I don’t have anything that’s mine! And I’m sorry!’

Elli opens an arm and Centy slowly walks over an lets her hug him.

‘Are you going to show me what you’ve taken?’ she asks.

Centy nods, and pulls everything out.

Most of it, Elli realises, belongs to her and Sensin. And there are a lot of Jenna’s toys, specifically. But ones she never really cared about. Centela says that Jenna gave them to him and promises they’re not stolen. Elli tells him she believes him.

Centy watches as Elli pulls out his stolen goods, and puts his rocks and everything he didn’t steal aside.

There’s barely anything left by the time she’s done.

Centy looks sadly at the pile of diminished goods. She let him keep all the snacks, at least.

Elli puts a hand on his shoulder and gives him a comforting squeeze.

‘Here,’ she mutters, taking a necklace out of the pile of jewellery. ‘You can have this one, okay? But you have to look after it.’

Centy perks up at this.

Elli promises to get him some stuff, ‘And you won’t have to hide it, okay? Now … is there anything else you have hidden?’

Centela looks away.


Centela climbs under the bed and pulls out a few more things, including Elli’s missing diary.

‘You took my diary?’ Elli sighed, and Centela nodded. ‘You didn’t read it?’

‘No!’ Centela exclaimed. ‘I only took it so that—’

Elli stared as Centela cut off. Slowly, she prompted him to continue, ‘So that what?’

‘Nobody else would read it.’

Elli sighed out her nose. ‘It was in my room, Centela—’

‘—No it wasn’t!’

‘No?’ Elli asked. ‘Then where was it?’

Centela clamped his mouth shut.

‘Centela,’ Elli said firmly. ‘Give me an answer.’


‘Why not?’

‘Because I don’t like lying to you!’ Centela replied. ‘And I can’t tell you where I found it. So I’m not going to answer you.’

Elli was quiet for a long moment. Then her ears flicked back and she scowled. ‘Linzor had it, didn’t he?’

Centela covered his mouth and turned away.

‘Don’t worry, I won’t tell him,’ Elli tucked the book under her arm and sighed. She gently turned Centela back so she could kiss him on the cheek. ‘Thanks for keeping it safe.’

"Even I can't read that."

Probably a good thing, considering what it's supposed to say...

(Context: Elli cheated on Sensin with her sister's husband. It doesn't end well, because she can't read very well and Sensin usually reads her mail to her; which is how he finds out)


jadewyton reblogged jadewyton

‘I don’t know what you’re talking about—’

‘—Yes. You do.’

jadewyton -

I want to post the draft of the scene that this drawing’s from, so I’m reblogging it instead of making a new post.

910 words

cw: fighting / implied spousal abuse / implied child abuse / implied sexual assault / implied drugging

‘Oh, HE’S Ykelt?’ Scaychie asked Sensin. ‘Keeyata’s told me about him…’

Before Sensin had even opened his mouth to reply to Scaychie, she’d made her way over to the two men and cut off their conversation.

‘Oh, hello, aren’t you handsome?’ Scaychie asked in a too-fake voice. ‘What’s your name?’

Centela could see the reactions of both men from his hiding place. Ykelt blinked dumbly at the affection … and his father went red and stiff, holding himself back.

‘Scaychie, why don’t we go for a walk?’ Linzor asked.

‘I’d rather stay with this lovely man,’ Scaychie replied, leaning into Ykelt and running a hand across his chest.

Ykelt almost leapt backwards, his face flushing. ‘No— Married. I’m married. And you’re too young.’

‘Scaychie, behave yourself,’ Linzor warned.

‘Why should she?’ Sensin retorted. ‘It’s not like you do.’

‘I beg your pardon—’

‘—I know what you did!’ Sensin snapped. Then he lowered his voice to a growl that Centela didn’t understand.

Linzor straightened up, and Centela knew he was angry. But he held it in and smiled. ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about—’

‘—Yes. You do.’

Ykelt glanced between Linzor and Sensin, anxiety radiating off him in such thick waves it was almost visible as an aura around him.

Then, Linzor turned to Scaychie. ‘Did you take your medicine this morning?’

Scaychie cocked her head. ‘Med. … Medicine?’

Centela almost asked the same question.

‘You’re more of a child than Centela sometimes, I swear it!’ Linzor let out a heavy sigh and grabbed his wife roughly by the arm. He tugged her towards the door with an exaggerated sigh. ‘I apologise for her behaviour, Ykelt. She’s supposed to be taking anti-psychotic medicine. She’s not herself without it and does things she shouldn’t.’

Linzor slammed the door behind him and Scaychie, and Ykelt let out a heavy sigh.

‘If anyone’s psychotic it’s him,’ Sensin muttered. ‘What a fucking pervert.’

‘He’s always been interested in Elli,’ Ykelt chuckled, though it was weak. ‘She’s never returned the feelings. It’s nothing new.’

‘You know what he did to her, right?’ Sensin sighed.

Centela heard Ykelt shuffle, and leant closer to the door to try and see better through the crack.

‘What, like when we were kids?’

‘No. I mean at the funeral.’

‘No? What— What did he do?’


Sensin cut off as Centela slipped and the cupboard door creaked. He held his breath as the two men turned to him, and hoped they would ignore it.

But instead, Sensin let out a sigh and shook his head, ‘Centy. Come out of there.’

Centela crept out of the cupboard. His scales were both burning with embarrassment and ice cold with fear— He felt dizzy he was so scared of what Sensin would say.

Sensin turned to Ykelt. ‘We’ll talk later. Don’t bring it up with Elli. It still upsets her.’

‘Right,’ Ykelt anxiously shuffled. He walked to the door, but paused. ‘Elli’s okay, right?’

Sensin nodded. But Centela could tell it was curt.

‘Right. Is there anything I can do?’

‘We’ll talk later.’

Centela watched Ykelt leave, his heart pounding so loud that he couldn’t hear the door click shut.

Then Sensin turned to him and his scales turned to ice as his heart went silent and his head spun. He looked mad. So mad.

But he didn’t say anything as he picked up Centela and sat with him on the bed. And not a single word escaped him as he picked up a brush from his bedside table and started smoothing Centela’s hair.

Centela could tell he was furious. Even though he wasn’t rough, every stroke of the brush felt as bad as one of his father’s strikes, and after only minutes the child couldn’t bare the quiet as he waited for his punishment.

‘I’m sorry,’ Centela managed. ‘You can yell at me if you want.’

‘I’m not going to yell at you,’ Sensin said, in such a gentle tone Centela almost believed him.

‘But you’re mad at me.’

‘No, I’m not,’ Sensin’s let Centela’s hair run through his fingers before he rested a hand on the child’s back. ‘Not at you.’

‘Not at me?’ Centela asked. ‘But I— I broke the rules.’

‘And after hearing that, I’m sure you’re wishing you hadn’t,’ said Sensin.

Centela couldn’t disagree. ‘Did yalfit hurt Elli?’

Sensin paused. Then sighed and spoke quietly, ‘Yes.’

Centy nodded, and looked at the floor. ‘Is that why she’s so sad all the time?’

Sensin took a deep breath and put down the brush. ‘Elli is— She’s ill. She has been for a while.’

‘What’s she sick with?’

‘It’s called … depression,’ Sensin explained. ‘It means it’s hard to feel happy. Even when good things happen. And it means the bad things feel extra bad.’

‘Oh,’ Centela breathed. ‘Will she get better?’

‘In time,’ said Sensin. ‘Do you ever get sad?’

‘Sometimes,’ Centela replied. ‘But not like yalfit-rek does.’


‘Yalfit-rek,’ Centela repeated. ‘Keeyata. She gets so sad she can’t even eat. Then she cries until she can’t breathe. Yalfit yells at her when she does. Then him and kekik get into fights about it. Which just makes yalfit-rek more upset.’

Sensin put an arm around Centela and gave him a comforting squeeze, and Centela wished he could tell him more. But he knew he couldn’t. His father would be angry enough if he found out what he’d already said.

‘Can I go to sleep?’ Centela asked.


‘I’ll show you what’s in my hand if you come out,’ Sensin said, holding out a lightly closed fist.

Centela looked warily at the adult, and frowned. ‘What is it?’

‘You have to come look!’ he said. Then he beckoned Elli over, and let her peak in his hand.

‘Ooh,’ she breathed with awe.

Centela felt himself pulled curiously towards Sensin and slowly, he edged out from under the bushes. ‘What is it?’

‘Come look,’ Sensin repeated, waving his hand in a way that was far too tempting for Centela to resist.

He hurried to Sensin’s side and grabbed his wrist, peering at his hand. ‘Show me!’

Slowly, Sensin opened his hand to reveal nothing.

Centela felt his scales ice over, and he turned to sprint away— But was too slow. He struggled in Sensin’s grasp, screaming, ‘IT WAS A TRAP! A TRAP WAS IN YOUR HAND!’