by Minim Calibre

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. That should have been the end the first time, but it wasn't. She cheated death by embracing it, serving it, becoming it. Eventually, death turned on her, sharper than a serpent's tooth, and once again, all should have been over. Once again, it wasn't.

Cheating death is better on your own terms, she soon discovered. Used in life, used in death. She found a way to cheat them both, dying this time so that someone else could live.

Huddled naked in the darkness, she wonders when it will be enough, when she'll be allowed to rest, to stop. She wonders who she was--flashes of blood and skin, of fear and need, of a name... Angel? That's not a name. What was hers? She must have had one.

Salvation comes not in the form of angels or demons or priests or prayers. It comes to her slim and raw, young and familiar. Something nagging at the edges of her memory again, something she should know. It's important.

It slides away again, like mercury on glass. Shimmering distorted reflections, nothing more. She lets him lead her to shelter, clothe her in garments he says have been abandoned. He finds her food, washes her face and dresses her hair. Takes care of all her needs until she finds she has needs she has forgotten, like she has forgotten so much else, and draws him to her pallet so he can take care of those as well.


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