Snakes in the Grass

by Valley Fey/Pinprick
originally published at 04:06AM on Friday, May 23, 2008

Eva shook her head. So the prince, her Sioni’s love, was dead then. The hope of Sioni ever returning was slim. “You’re a despicable creature, Arelia, a snake in the grass if ever I-”

“A snake in the grass, am I?” Helen stepped forward. She thrust out her arm and pulled back the sleeve to reveal to brands, painfully writ in red-blistered skin, between her elbow and wrist. “See this one?” She motioned to the lower one, closer to her clenched fist, an empty basket? Eva couldn’t quite- “It’s an empty cradle, you ninny.” She spat, “My husband had me branded with this when he tossed me from his home, like common garbage.”

“Arelia, I had no idea…”

“Silence, fool!” Helen hissed, “This other, the mark of a skull, means witchery. Branded in that horrid little hateful town after you left.” She turned away, “You deserve far worse than what I’ve given you. Do you know what a snake in the grass is? One that blends in, is unseen, but can kill with a strike.” She turned, shuddering, “The snake, Eva, is you.”