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It’s Saturday, and time for Science Fiction Romance Brigade Presents, a blog hop featuring 200 words or less from published or unpublished works. Click on the logo above to find other participants. This excerpt is from a WIP, tentatively titled Both Sides Now. Doc has just led Roi into a space in the hay bales occupied by a panicky little girl (who’s been raped and has broken her arm) and the woman attending her who is equally, though less obviously, apprehensive of strange men.

“It’s all right,” Roi said, pitching his voice deliberately high and making sure his emotional broadcast had nothing of “male.” “I’m not even going to touch you, except to put my hand on your forehead. You just relax and listen.” He modulated his voice into a singsong as he placed his distorted hand above the child’s eyes.

He’d have had a hard time doing this using the pure Jibeth tradition, with the muscle tension in the face giving him the feedback he needed to adjust his singing. Luckily his empathic sense gave him much of what he needed. It still took close to ten minutes of singing until the little girl was relaxed enough he could add the second component, moving his free hand in a complex pattern to catch her gaze. Finally he was able to move the hand toward her eyes, very slowly, as he sang the command to sleep. Her eyes closed, and her breathing steadied. He looked down at his distorted hands, and grimaced. There was no way he could set the arm himself.

“Keep her that way for a few minutes, can you,” Doc said, and proceeded to straighten and splint the arm.