It’s an infinite rush of unadulterated pleasure to watch her break open and spill out beneath me.
It’s strong fingers…
In and out…
It’s thick and fluid, like molten silk that burns through my nerves as it flushes beneath my skin.
It’s warm tongues…
In and out…
I can rise up to look down and feel like I’m staring into the sun. I can’t tell if I’m pushing or pulling, or which action is stronger, but it’s the very nature of gravity. It’s the surging of blood in vessels. It’s the catechism of devotion.
It’s strangled groans…
In and out…
The thought, the feel, the touch of her makes my flesh swell in glorious anticipation. She is succulent fruit that’s forbidden, plump, and ripe on the vine. I take her – I take her with my hands and with my mouth. It’s a prolific harvest of passion as I pluck her from the very heavens. I taste and indulge, rolling her across my tongue, relishing the dribble of musky syrup trailing down my chin. It’s warm and wet, and as I part her skin to push in for a tight and quivering embrace, she gushes out to greet me again.
My eyes fall shut.
My nostrils flare.
My muscles strain.
My mouth waters.
I luxuriate in her.
It’s pale, coral skin…
In and out…
It’s dripping centers, sweet like honey.
It’s strangled atoms of air forced in and out…
In and out…
Nails scrape and teeth graze. My breath is stolen, my body precariously balanced on the edge between heaven and earth. She undulates and unfurls, baring more of herself…
Releasing more of herself…
I’m grateful as I gather her up and let her coat my throat, saturate my heart, radiate out from my chest, and settle low in my hips.
Is her desire…
She is desire…
In and out…
I’m pushed higher. I’m pulled harder.
I’m going to break, and I realize that the pull is stronger than the push.
It’s faith but it’s innate, this spreading of my arms and stepping out into a free-fall. Her hips and legs vibrate with pleasure as she draws more of it from my still heart.
I fall faster…
In and out…
It’s as if I’ve been asleep for far too long and I’ve just awakened. The world has awakened. It’s vibrant and alive, lush and deep. And as much as I fall, she keeps me high, suspended in ecstasy.
Her insides convulse against me and for a moment I see that those things that give her life are knotted with mine. Her insides are exposed, living tissue and lustrous spirit, laid open, eviscerated.
I am grafted to her, nerves colliding, parts entangling. I’m emptied into her, onto her, and before her. I wrap her in trembling arms made for her, molding myself along her length and surrendering everything from the deepest recesses of my soul to the very tips of my soles. As much as I’ve fallen, I’m still suspended in time and space – where all is weightless, and exquisite, and awe inspiring. She is here with me, there with me. She is my home.
Words are irrelevant. Thoughts are explosive. Bodies are sated and overworked. Everything is still, her mind like the undulating current of a gentle stream. I wish to drink of it over and over again, knowing that even one sip will leave me satisfied…
Infinitely satisfied – even as I can’t get enough of her.
Her hot breath sends a thrill skittering across the anxious skin of my ear as we cling to one another and recover. I hold delicately, reverently, nestling my face in the crux of her neck as reality starts to come into focus. I’m still falling. She’ll catch me; I know it. I feel it. I feel her. I feel everything.
And that feeling is a shattering crash to the ground. She breaks me. The pull is stronger than the push. I try to remember that, but I can’t conceive of the pain that’s in her touch. I try to move away, but she’s trapped me. I try to look at her but I can’t. I struggle to regain my senses, but my eyes refuse to open and my muscles refuse to unlock. I want to scream, but I can’t breathe. My skull feels as if it’s been cleaved open.
I gasp and shudder as the pain slowly lessens, only to be replaced with something more… something inconceivably worse. It pierces me.
Through and through.
My eyes are too swollen to move. There is nothing but the red glow of light against tight lids and the shadows of movement beyond. It’s always this way. I can remember now, though I know nothing.
She killed me, didn’t she? Tina was th-
Earth shattering pain. So much of it is shooting through me that I feel like my very thoughts are bleeding.
Through and through…
It dulls slightly, leaving me breathless and trembling. How… How did I get here? Where am I? How long have I been here? I can’t answer anything. I can’t think clearly, but I know one thing: it’s been long enough for my mind to shut me in, confuse the blinding pain of torture with the ecstasy of my beloved.
The visions of Tina are not clear anymore. There is no memory; there is no future; there is no present. I should have been thankful for my ghost. Now, she has diminished into feeling, but then everything is feeling.
Through and through…
My nerves are raw and exposed as the agony sweeps through me again; my blood leeched with each scream of violent shocks that wrack my body and mind. Tina…
“Shh…,” she coos. “When you think of her, you give me no choice. This is what she’s done to you. Just feel …”
A shrill, keening sound rips through the room, muted by the pounding ache between my ears and ribs. I feel it… Oh, how I feel it. Tina…
It’s searing agony…
Through and through…
Bright pin dots of light explode behind my eyelids and I cry out for her, even as those cries are strangled inside of me. Lilith strangles them inside of me. What is she doing? For fuck’s sake… I can’t take it.
“Shh… every time you think of her, this is what you’ll feel. Do you understand? Don’t you see that I don’t want to do this?”
My mind is whirring. No, no I don’t understand. Tina-
It’s more with each vice-like press. It’s unthinkable, but the wracking pain is exploding throughout my chest and head nonetheless. There’s another anguished cry, choked off by the welling of blood in my throat. I swallow hard and it settles sourly.
It’s living death.
Through and through.
Minutes, hours, months, years later… it subsides, but the memory of it is still interminably acute. I fear it. I fear her.
I can hear the smile in her voice. “That’s it, my dark angel. Me, think of me…”
I’m not capable of thought. It’s all reactionary at this point. I want to die and I want to see Tina one last-
I shut off my mind and wait for more pain, but it doesn’t come.
All that comes is Lilith’s gently coaxing voice. “That’s it…”
The fingers squeezing my heart, collapsing it, crushing it to release it and start all over again, finally relent. I gag as I inhale.
I hear as well as feel her hand sludge out of my gaping chest.
“You’ve done well. I had hoped that the ocean would have taught you this lesson before I retrieved you, but you just couldn’t wait. I suppose this is for the best. It’s more… personal, this way…”
There’s a stroke to my face but even the gentleness of it burns my skin like acid. “Rest for now.”
It’s gone; she’s gone, and I feel a cold, creeping darkness begin to settle over me. I was right when Lilith captured me at the castle: this world is full of nothing but suffering. I’m just so weary. Nothing ever seems to end, not really. There is no rest.
I feel the frayed edges of my sucking chest wound start to mend slowly, and try to relax. I have a moment, just a moment. I know that she’ll be back as surely as I know that she won’t kill me. No, she wants me rehabilitated, and if this torture is the cost of rebellion, I just may not be able to withstand it.
I feel my mind start to slip into unconsciousness and fight it. I can’t let my guard down, and I can’t afford to dream of Tina. Instead I try to listen in around me for any indication of where I am and how I can escape.
We’re somewhere close to a waterfall and the smell of rich moss and lush vegetation are thick in the air. My eyes are still crusted shut and they’re not healing. What little bit of blood I have in my system is dutifully trying to repair the extensive damage to my heart and chest.
I can hear some men talking close-by, and others walking around. One in particular stands out. His voice is familiar and I listen in on his conversation, though I don’t hear anyone else responding as he rattles on and on. The words are garbled, like the reception on an old am, fm receiver. He keeps talking to himself, and I want to laugh at his strangely sarcastic comments as he encounters other Loyalists. It would seem he doesn’t like his counterparts and is very vocal about it.
He’s also angry to be walking in circles around the perimeter. It’s insulting. He’s just as shocked and slightly terrified as me when he hears Lilith’s girlish voice address him, but I’m more affected than he is. My very flesh crawls and my heart throbs in panic at the hollow sound.
“You ther-,” her distorted voice says.
He voices his disdain of her aloud and I have to wonder at his sanity. “Evil, old cu–.
She seems wholly unaffected, as if she didn’t even hear him. “Go get som- b–od for the pr–oner.”
He’s dumbstruck, but seems to grow smug and over anxious to do as he is bidden. It’s just fading static as he eagerly agrees, and I’m left wondering what it was that I just heard. It’s almost as if I was hearing his thoughts, but that’s not possible. It all goes quiet, and while the incessant call for healing sleep is daunting, I can’t allow myself to go there.
I stare at the ceiling, settling myself into a comfortable state of catatonia, a place where neither sleep nor wakefulness can have me. It’s a place that I have perfected during my lengthy visits over the last several months, and it affords me some respite from both of the realms that I now fear equally.
I open my eyes to see that the world is doused in gray. It’s as if all of the life and color has been leeched away along with all sound. I lift my hands and look down at them to find them pale and partially lucent. I can feel a frown form on my lips. I hadn’t expected this. I’m obviously dreaming, and I expect Tina when I dream; but as I look around me at the snow-covered forest, dead tree limbs shimmering like they’ve been dipped in crystal, she is nowhere to be found.
It’s hauntingly quiet as I stand steeped in my confusion. There’s not a single bird or woodland critter, or even the whistle of winter wind against the stripped, crystalline branches, though they move with the invisible current all the same. The muted sound of a group of voices finally reaches me from a great distance, further than I should be aware of, and I innately move towards it.
The expected crunch of snow from my stride never comes and I look down in bewilderment. I’ve not left a single print in the gray-white expanse. This place is eerie and oppressive in its loneliness, but strangely, I feel satisfied here. It’s as if I’m at peace. That thought is slightly terrifying, and I find myself running from something.
Branches whiz through my face and neither are touched by the collision. I frown again. I don’t understand this place and a creeping feeling crawls up my spine. I push my legs harder, faster, willing myself to get away from the forest behind me. It’s as if the trees are watching me, chasing me. And as I draw closer to the voices, I feel a familiar hum in my guts start to prickle. It stops me in my tracks and I find that I’m not even breathing heavily. In fact, I don’t need to breathe at all. Mostly though, Tina’s here, but this is so unlike my normal dreams with her.
I push forward, compelled to see if this is what I think it is and to see if Tina is in fact here. I run for minutes or maybe hours, time doesn’t seem to exist. The voices get louder and I can finally see the line of trees that line a great clearing beyond.
Even in grayscale, this place is intensely beautiful. Mountains and water surround the valley and fog hangs low over the peaks that guard the expansive city of tents below. People are milling about, some with heartbeats, most without, and some are even familiar. It’s strange and confusing, but none of that can have my attention. I’m determined to focus and find Tina. The need to see her is insatiable… incurable… acute. I twitch with nervous anticipation as I use the feeling of her vibrating through me as a homing beacon.
No one notices or speaks to me as I wind through the narrow passages created by the cloth structures until I’m standing in front of a large rectangular tent, the vibrations in my abdomen warm and steady like a pulse. The voices inside grow louder and more discernable as I approach, but only one stands out. Her voice washes over me like an angel offering benediction, and I hasten to find the sanctuary of her eyes, not even realizing that I’ve pushed through the walls of the tent on instinct. I glide through without effort or resistance, and in all honesty, it frightens me. It’s like passing through a veil, and that feeling is made terrifying by the realization that I have passed a most important veil.
All of the walls between life and death have reduced to nothing, but there’s more to it than that. It’s as if I don’t belong here. I don’t feel dead, but surely I am. Maybe I don’t belong in either realm…
Panic and happiness clench in my stomach and vie for supremacy when I realize that Tina’s stopped talking, her eyes intent on mine. The others around her take her silence as an opening to argue, and even while I can tell that she’s not surprised to see me and maybe even relieved, she looks away as if she intends to ignore me.
What is this? Tina’s dead. Am I just visiting her? I frown and take a step towards her, but stop. This can’t be death. Duffy is here. Did she die at the stronghold? She must have, because Shane is next to Tina and looking at her knowingly. Shane’s dead. Tina’s dead. And if I’m dead, they should be able to see me. But no one in the room has looked up at me except for Tina, and by the way she’s acting, I feel as if she’d prefer it if I were.
I work my way around the circle of arguing bodies towards Tina. I’m not listening to what they say, that is until Duffy’s words pierce me like a physical blow. “Look, Tina, I’m sorry. I didn’t know that Bette was so important to you. I know how difficult this must be for you, but striking out at the Canadian outpost now is going to get us all killed. We don’t even know if Bette’s alive…”
Tina’s eyes flash as she looks at Duffy, but Duffy continues. “The odds aren’t good Tina. I’m sorry, but it’s true.”
Tina’s voice is cold and devoid, her eyes shining as she finally glances up at me. “I know.”
I want to fall to my knees. So I am dead. But something isn’t right here…
Duffy’s voice keeps driving my soul further into the grave. “Tim hasn’t reported back, and if Lilith hasn’t figured him out yet, she will soon. You sent that boy to his death, and we can’t let you do that to the rest of us, not even for Bette. I’m sorry…”
Tina looks away again and my flaccid heart drops into my toes. “He offered to go. Bette’s his maker…”
Duffy sighs. “I know, but still, it’s suicide. Not all of us want to share Bette’s fate-”
Tina stands angrily and looks down on Duffy. “Fine, then those loyal to her can come with me, and those too chicken shit to do what needs to be done can go with you. Bette or not, we have to attack that outpost. The fact that Bette was alive when Lilith took her just gives us a reason to do it sooner and make it successful.”
Duffy raises her voice. “That’s going to take time!”
Duffy stands and crosses her arms over her chest to collect herself. “You wouldn’t do this if you weren’t chasing Bette.”
Tina glances at me, her shoulders slumped in defeat and I make a move to come closer to her, but she backs away and shakes her head just slightly. If I’m not dead, which I’m fairly certain that I am, I want to be.
Duffy steps up to Tina, her posture and voice softening. “I’m sorry, Tina. I know how badly this hurts, but the chances of Bette surviving…”
I stumble back on reflex as Alice and Dana stand up nearly on top of me. To my surprise, it’s Alice who speaks in my favor, though Duffy’s right. “We’re with Tina, Duffy. If Bette’s alive, we can’t leave her there.”
Duffy looks up at the ceiling of the tent and exhales before responding to them. “No matter what we decide, we can’t split up. That would mean an instant death for all of us. We’re far too outnumbered as it is without civil unrest. We have to stick together and take the time to do this right. It’s the only way. And…”
She looks back at Tina. “If Bette were alive, you know that she’d agree with me.”
I finally find my voice. “She’s right, T. You can see me. You must know that I’m dead.”
Tina is staring at the floor, and I can tell that she’s choking back tears. She can’t afford to lose face here. Something else strikes me and I frown, conflicted. “I-I thought that you were dead too, though…”
At that she looks over at me, her own frown in place as she considers my words.
“What,” she asks.
I open my mouth to answer her, but Duffy beats me to it. “Don’t make me say it again, Tina. I don’t want to hurt you anymore. I just want us to survive and beat back the threat. I’m just asking for time to get our numbers up.”
Tina continues to stare at me and I can’t figure out what’s going on here. She was dead. I remember that clearly. She was coming to me… or was that all just a hallucination? Is this just a hallucination, or am I really dead? I still can’t reason it out. Ultimately, it’s all far too unreasonable.
Liam stands and puts his hand on Tina’s shoulder, his face conflicted and angry. “We don’t leave one of our own behind, especially not Bette. Tina has been leading this rebellion for ages on end, but when she fled, it was Bette who gave this cause hope, and all of that was because she loves Tina. Her absence is felt everywhere out in that camp. She wouldn’t leave you or me or anyone else in this room to that fate, and we can’t do that to her now.”
Duffy goes to argue again but Shane stands and stares her down. It’s strange to watch such a small woman stop such a tall and commanding one like Duffy with little more than a look, but she does.
Her words are less impassioned and more reasonable. “I think it’s clear what we have to do. We take a vote, and we stick together.”
The room is quiet again and I can tell that Tina’s starting to lose it. She’s twitching with anxious control, her eyes boring into mine as she fights back tears that refuse to be bound. I hate this and I don’t even understand it. I can’t even tell if it’s real.
I step up close to her and she lowers her eyes as I lift a hand and watch it slide right through the smooth skin of her cheek.
It’s nearly her undoing. She pulls away and scrubs her face, and I let my hand drop lastly at back to my side.
It’s nearly my undoing as well…
Shane continues when Duffy exhales and nods solemnly. “All those in favor of moving now to save Bette?”
Tasha, Jamie, Anna, and several other commanders stand and raise their hands. Only one doesn’t, and that’s Duffy.
“Don’t do this, T. Not for me…” She doesn’t acknowledge me and Duffy soldiers on.
“Alright,” she says.
“But this could be the end. Bette’s my friend as well. I hate what’s happened and I… I just hope that we can do it or we’ll all die in vain.”
Duffy leaves the room, the look on her face grim, and I’m a little taken aback as I look around at those so vehement in their support of me, as pointless a cause as it is at this point. If my mind is making this up, then I’m a narcissist. But if I’m not, my family is bigger than even I had thought. I look back down at Tina and my arms ache to take her. To give her some comfort, but somehow, I don’t think it would be welcome.
Tasha’s voice is solemn as she off-handedly remarks, “I think that Duffy feels responsible for Bette’s capture. If she’d have gotten up when Lilith grabbed Bette, she might have been able to stop Lilith from escaping with Bette.”
Tina steps further away from me, gathering herself and straightening her shoulders. “There’s nothing Duffy could have done. Lilith jumped that wall with Bette like it was nothing. It was at least one hundred and fifty feet. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Tasha smiles sadly. “Maybe you should tell Duffy that.”
Tina nods and Dana squeezes her shoulder. “Come on, you guys. Let’s give Tina some time alone.”
She ushers everyone out of the room, having to physically pull on Alice to get her to leave, and I breathe a sigh of relief when I’m finally alone with Tina, at least until she looks at me. The tears she’s been holding back come flooding from her eyes, and on reflex, I step closer to take her in the arms that I don’t actually have. That doesn’t stop her from backing away from me, again.
I look down at the ground, feeling more scared at the prospect of her rejecting me than the fact that I may very well be dead. “What’s going on, T?”
She nearly collapses onto the pallet on the floor, holding her head in her hands as her words come rushing out. “I keep telling you that I can’t take this anymore, but you keep coming back. I just can’t do it, Bette. You’re here but you’re not. It’s killing me, and I just… I can’t.”
I fall to my knees in front of her, hoping that she’ll look at me.
She doesn’t. “What do you mean? I don’t even know what this is or where I am. Am I… am I dead? Aren’t you…?”
That gets her attention. “Why do you keep asking me that?”
“Because you come to me all of the time.” And just like that, it all snaps into place. She was never dead, and yet I was seeing her. And obviously, she’s been seeing me too. I still can’t trust anything, least of all my own mind, but I can piece together that wherever and whatever we are, we’ve been seeing each other, even if it is just a fantasy. There’s only one problem: I don’t remember coming to her.
“How many times have I come to you,” I ask.
She scrubs at her face, looking at me with so much longing that it breaks my heart. “Nearly every day. You don’t remember?”
I shake my head. “Do you remember coming to me?”
Her brows furrow and she tilts her head. “What do you mean?”
I want to touch her so much, to comfort her and find comfort in her, but the fates have found this torture to be necessary. The fates are cruel.
“You’ve been coming to me too, T. All of the time,” I explain.
“We sit and talk, but it’s never… it never feels real or right. You’re just there in short, random intervals, and then you’re gone. I thought that you were a ghost, or that I was going mad. I’m still not sure that I’m not.”
Her mouth falls open in shock before she says, “It’s the same with you. I’ve been asking you to stop because it was becoming too hard, and then when I saw you with Lilith in the courtyard…”
Something dark and angry passes behind her eyes, and I feel it well up in my guts, and that feeling only intensifies as something primal tugs at me. It’s like an electrified cable has been embedded in my stomach, only instead of pulling me to her, it’s forcing me away.
I turn and look behind me to find the tent melting away into darkness, and I see Tina frantically and fruitlessly reach for me out of the corner of my eye.
“Not yet…,” she pleads, but it’s too late. I feel as if I’ve been sucked through a straw and deposited hard on the cold ground in a heavy mass of angry nerves.
There’s a sharp sting to my face as a hand collides with it. “What was that?!”
Her voice is so angry and cold, even for her, that it surprises me. She hits me again and I struggle to wrap my mind around what’s happening. One minute I’m fighting sleep by plotting escape, the next Lilith’s screaming and slapping me.
“Explain yourself! Where did you go?! Your thoughts… I couldn’t find you!”
The pounding against my face picks up pace and force, and I still don’t know what she means or what she wants from me. When my thoughts give her no answer, she thrusts her hand into my chest and grabs my heart, and I’m certain that whatever it is that she wants or is asking of me, she’ll only find when I’m dead.
I writhe as she squeezes the useless organ right up to the edge of no return, only this time, she doesn’t relent. She pushes a little further and I take a strangled breath to let her know what she needs to know, even if it’s not what she wants to hear.
“You can… kill-m-me…” I squeeze my eyes shut and claw at her arm as the pain starts to burst within my chest and red explodes across my eyes.
Of course, I can’t stop her, but my body is trying nonetheless. “But you’ll n-ever… have… me.”
I focus past the pain as I meet her eyes. “You n-ever, d-did. No matter… w-where I am… I’m w-with Tina.”
She squeezes just a little tighter and I know it’s time. She can threaten and abuse, but it won’t work. She’ll never ‘rehabilitate’ me. She can’t. She knows nothing of love or life or sympathy. She’ll never understand. And I pity her. I’ve lived more in thirty years than she has in millennia. And if this is my time, no matter what happens, I’m satisfied. Threats and death can never take that from me. Lilith can never take that from me.
I force a blood stained-grin out through my anguish face. “Do your w-worst, Lil-lith. Take… my life. That’s… all, y-you will ever g-get, and it m-means… little.”
Of all the rages I’ve seen her in over the years, this is by far the worst. I want to laugh and weep all at the same time. Freedom is mine, one way or another. I don’t like the consequences, but I’ve made my choices and in the end they all led me to live life, however short. Mostly, somehow, they’ve all led me to Tina. I may not have realized it, choosing instead to wallow in a prison of my own making, but I’ve been free and I’ve been happy. I have no other expectations. I’m letting it all go, whether I live or die.
There’s another grinding squeeze; there’s another resounding crack against my face that causes the world as I know it to groan and shake at the foundation. I hear the roar of a desperate fight somewhere in the distance, and see the panic in Lilith’s twisted features as one of my random progenies enters the room with Carmen and a few others.
They fight her with all that they have, and I want to help, but I can’t. I watch as Tim is lifted and his head torn from his shoulders. It lands on the floor, grotesquely rolling to a stop against the edge of a blood bag lying forgotten on the floor.
I inch a week hand forward, stretching as far as I can, pressing the angry hole that is my torso against the floor to gain leverage, but it’s just out of reach. I see Carmen and the others scuffling around Lilith and wriggle with all the strength that I have left to try and close the small space between me and the bag.
My fingertips just brush the edge of the plastic when a foot accidently kicks it towards me. I take it and feel the pierce of transition in my gums before biting right into it and sucking the life giving fluid into my mouth and down my throat.
The healing is almost as painful as the torture, but this blood isn’t enough, even as I consider tearing the bag open and licking the lining. I’m weak, but I think that I can stand. I’m surprised that Carmen and the others have lasted as long as they have against Lilith, wanting to kick myself as one of them is disemboweled just as I’ve uttered the thought. Shouts erupt inside the building somewhere close-by and Lilith pushes Carmen away, choosing instead to turn to me.
I’ve only just pushed up to my feet when I feel her grab my head in her hands and pull me up the rest of the way. I see vampyrs fighting in the doorway as they push into the room, Alice and Dana among them. Alice sees Lilith and I watch as the rage of years or bloodlust and loss fill her eyes. They nearly glow red as she leaps forward and topples both of us to the floor.
I slide back and land hard against the stone of the wall behind me, breaking the surface and sending crumbling rocks showering down. My vision swims and my ears ring, and just as I’m able to focus, I hear Alice scream.
Lilith smiles as she lifts Dana, clearly intent on removing her head, and Alice lunges again, knocking Dana from her hands but finding herself pinned as Lilith shoves a hand into her chest. Alice’s scream is echoed by Dana’s and I finally find it within myself to move.
I get up and stumble over to Lilith’s crouched body, grabbing her head and twisting as hard as I can. The joints in her neck dislocate sharply, leaving it eerily twisted, but it won’t come off. It’s at least the distraction needed for her to release Alice so that she can shove me hard and send flying back into the wall. More of it rains down on me as she grips her head and turns it back, the snapping and popping of a quick healing audible even over the cacophony of noise making its way towards us from out in the hallway. Several rebels try their hand at her, working as one to try and overwhelm her, but most of them lose heads, hearts, and life.
The building shakes again, this time followed by a deafening explosion and shower of stone as the facing wall is blown open, the debris swallowing up Alice and Dana and the force sending me through the wall behind me and into a tree.
I feel my lungs collapse and hear the whistle of air bound up in my throat as I look down at the ice covered trunk that’s sticking out of my chest. It grazed along my heart and I can’t help but wonder at the irony of how near I tend to come to death, though his indiscriminate hand never seems to find me. I feel vice-like clamps squeeze down on my hips, breaking the bone as I’m pulled off of the tree with a gasp of blood.
I look down into Lilith’s dark, menacing eyes to see a combination of worry and fury, and feel a pang of intense confusion and helplessness. I have no idea how to help her see or stop. It’s almost like she just can’t, as if she would have nothing more to do with life or existence.
She stares hard into my eyes and I hear the calls of rebels closing in on the exploded walls before Lilith kisses me gently and snaps my neck roughly.