Marka had many questions. She had, she thought, perhaps more questions than she had human words to put them into. Yet she did not voice any of them. She did not wish to give Seoc the satisfaction of seeing her bewilderment. He looked so smug as he stared up at her from his place in the bends of her arms, she was strongly tempted once again to drop him, and she might have if she didn’t think that the fall to the stone floor could seriously injure him, especially if he landed on his back. Marka, after all, was six and a half feet tall, so it would have been quite a plunge.
“He isn’t remember me,” she said instead. “He knows not he has sister. Better this way, for him.”
“Better that way?” Rolling his eyes, Seoc snorted mirthlessly. “When’s the last time you saw him?”
“Three years. He knows not I look to him.”
Seoc raised his eyebrows. “Then I’ve seen him more recently than you have. Last time I was with him, he was crumpled on the floor, puking his guts out after downing an entire bottle of brandy. He could have died. Now, we could speculate all day on whether or not he’d be worse off with your influence, but I know one thing for certain: he is not all right. And that’s a real shame, isn’t it? For he needs to come and get me out of here, and he can’t if he drinks himself to death!”
His tone had turned very angry very quickly. Marka was taken aback. “You think this thing is my fault?”
“No. I just happen to know that the world can become a cruel and empty place when your own siblings can’t even be bothered to keep in touch. You might start to feel as if no one cares what happens to you.”
“Already I told you, he knows not he has sister.”
“Well, I’m sure he’s aware that at some point, someone abandoned him. And that isn’t a nice feeling, I can tell you that much.”
“Sock,” she said. “I only was seven years. My parents disappear. If I not was ‘abandoning’ him, he die still as baby. Why you tell me I am wrong?”
“I’m not saying you should have kept him with you.” There was a tremor in his voice, as if he might start crying. “But would it have hurt to let him know you were there, that he mattered to you?”
She looked down into his face. His brown eyes were bright with unshed tears. Carefully, she moved her hand out from under his back to run her webbed fingers through the loose black curls of his hair. “This isn’t really to me you are talking, Sock, no?”
“I wrote her,” Seoc whispered, his voice gone hoarse with emotion. “I wrote her so many times, and she never once wrote me back.”
With a heavy sigh, Marka turned back up the corridor, adjusted her grip on him, and began the long, slow walk to the infirmary.