Re: The Cat: Rae and Kratos
She knew no magic that lay in lines pricked into flesh. Ritual, of course. There were those that mourned with ash needled under the skin into raised lines, who painted their loss onto their flesh in welts. Rae knew those well enough. But they belonged in places less populous. Here, tattoos were inked by the buzz of sterility. She hadn't contemplated it but she lived close enough to witness youth imprint a moment on their skin to wear it with them always. But if the handyman was as old as Rae believed he might be, the red whorls and scudding clouds did not owe their existence to half a bottle of whiskey and a tattoo parlor's late hours.
Rae knew he would wonder. Why shouldn't he? He gave her Greek, and she smiled in her sightline, which was markedly to the left of his shoulder. "Ευχαριστώ," she said now: the phrase like tannin washed against the sides of a glass. Rae acquired language the way most people acquired experience. People said things at their end, and at in their throes and she understood the guttural. There wasn't delicacy, to Rae.
The wine lapped dark. He poured without spilling a drop - acquired skill, perhaps. They had, after all kept him, even with so much glass around him that it could be potentially catastrophic if he leaned on the wrong thing. Rae picked up the glass, inhaled. It had the buttery warmth of age: Rae felt the filter of the bar settle like sediment on her skin.
"You're paying too much attention," she said now, as she took a mouthful of the wine and let it wash against her tongue. It was clearly true. Preoccupation, or attention, he had a handful of people to pay court to given the bar was small and he was exceptionally large - the stretch of his arm would take him, Rae judged, down to the cluster of people nestled near the television.
"Do you drink, tending bar? I've never done it, I shan't know," Rae set the glass down neatly.