I stole from the wrong people, people with influence, with arcane power, with a horrific genius for subtlety. I don’t even want to think about what the punishment would have been had I not returned the ring. Probably messy death.
“No one will look you in the eye, nor face you, nor speak to you or of you. You will not exist for one year.”
I’d always been a loner. I looked respectfully cowed after the pronouncement, but inwardly I was laughing at them. I went home, chuckling every time some random passerby — without even knowing they were doing it — showed me their back.
At home, I made myself dinner, ate, watched a little television. I felt like I’d dodged a bullet. I got up, went to the bathroom, looked in the mirror.
The back of my head. I turned to the side, tried to find myself out of the corner of my eye, but still: the back of my head. There were other mirrors in the house; I tried them all. No one will look you in the eye. ‘No one’, apparently, included me. I should have known it wouldn’t be that easy.
Twelve months. I can take it.