11/20/2023 NaNoWrimo, DIG TWO GRAVES: 471/22413.

Had to claw to get that much, but at least I have it written out now.

That night, as we lay under the trees, Marigold asked me the question I figured I’d get from her. “Hey, Dead-Eye. What’s it like? The Sea, I mean.”

I sighed. “I wish I knew, Marigold. I never got to go there.”

“What, not at all?” I saw her sit up from her bedroll, despite the moonsless night. I don’t feel like my vision’s better, but it is. “But you died. Why didn’t you drift down the River, and come to the Sea?”

“Because that bastard Blackheart dammed my way to the River,” I told her. “It’s still out there, no fear. I could hear it and smell it, taste its sweet mist on the air. If I’d just moved faster, I might’ve been able to dive in, let it take me to the Sea. But I was still trying to cling to this world. I was too angry, too scared to trust to the River, and that’s what Blackheart needed for his spell to work.

“I don’t know all that it does, but I know I can’t find the River, no matter how hard O try. He stuck my spirit here, drifting on a stagnant pool, with no way forward, and no way back. So, at the end I gave up and went back to my body. I’m stuck in that now, too. It is one Hell of a spell, let me tell you.”

“Yeah, it sounds like it. How do you break it? Because there’s always a way to break a spell. The nastier it is, the easier it is to get around it.”

“Oh, it’s real easy to break this spell,” I told her. “I just have to kill Blackheart. That’s why he buried me under a pile of rocks, and left. But don’t think this is as bad as can be, Mizzy Marigold?”

“You’re a dead soul who can’t take the River to the Sea, Dead-Eye. That’s not good news, any way you put it.”

“Sure, sure. But I wasn’t pulled out the River, remember? I never got to dive into it. Imagine how bad it’d be if Blackheart could pluck a man’s soul out of his eternal reward. That’d be… that would be as bad as can be. Or at least I wouldn’t want to hear of anything worse.”