Salt of the Earth
When Melia was certain the room was clean, she picked up the jar and left the lab.
Theo opened the door himself, when Melia knocked. He looked astonished to see her. Before he could say anything, before she could have a second thought, Melia held the jar out to him. “I brought you some of Dora’s salt.
He stared at the jar for a moment before taking it. “Thanks.”
“Since you missed the weeping cup, I thought you might want to make one yourself…Her voice trailed off. She had given him the salt, she had protected her son, and now she just wanted to get away from him.
Theo leaned against the door. “Forgive and forget, huh?”
As if it were that simple. “No. But I found a way to move past it.”
He seemed to recognize that she wouldn’t bend, but he still said, “Do you want to come in and share it with me?”
Melia shook her head slowly. The temptation to follow Dora stung the back of her throat. “I can’t. Nikolas needs me.”
She drove home to her son. After she sent the sitter away, Melia sat with Nikolas. He stood in the living room, with his head cocked to the side watching dustmotes in the sun. She held her phone in her lap, as she watched them float with him, and waited for Dora’s laughter.
Mary Robinette Kowal is the author of Shades of Milk and Honey (Tor 2010), the fantasy novel that Jane Austen might have written. In 2008 she won the Campbell Award for Best New Writer and has been a finalist for the Hugo and Locus awards. Her stories have appeared in Strange Horizons, Asimov’s, and several Year’s Best anthologies as well as in her collection Scenting the Dark and Other Stories from Subterranean. Mary is also a professional puppeteer. To learn more about Mary Robinette Kowal,
visit her website.