In my mind’s eye, I could see my funeral, as if I were in a disembodied dream. All I could think of was that this must be what it’s like to be dead. There was a carpet of emerald green grass with my mother’s headstone and mine beside hers, my father in a chair, almost lifeless and vacant, with Anton comforting Evie. I felt like I was floating, watching from above, feeling nothing, but then I felt something else distinct pound through my head. A sound I had heard a thousand times before over the last few months, but never as clearly. Footsteps like a beating drum, coming towards me in the darkness. It interrupted my thoughts, and the image of the grass. The image of my family. With every beat, the image became more interrupted. I felt choked. I wasn’t breathing. I became aware of the feeling of wet dirt compressed against my skin. I opened my eyes…..dirt caked to them lightly and I felt the rest of my body deeper in the earth. I instinctively clawed at the dirt until I felt a hand grab mine and pull me out of the shallow earth into the moonlight.
Cassie was looking at me with open eyes searching for something in me. I wore the jeans and torn bloodied shirt I had on when the Old One had taken my life. Had it taken me? I tore my shirt away in horror - It was caked in my blood, my mother’s blood. I looked at Cassie despairingly, and she fearfully returned my stare.
“Matt, it’s alright, I’m here. It will be alright. I’m so sorry but I had no choice. By the time I got there.. .. I couldn’t let you go. I love you.” her voice almost broke.
There was a sinking in the pit of my stomach. I felt a wail rise and she tried to clutch at me to comfort me, but I pushed her away. I grabbed at my head that felt as if it was going to break open. I roared out loud, lost in a darkness I had not thought I would ever feel. Not from the loss of my physical life, the separation from the internal organs that used to ebb and flow with my life force. The pain was from the loss of my old connections, from the loss of my choices, and anger as to the choices I had made that brought me here. Cassie reached out tentatively towards me. My body was tense and I felt predatory as I moved. I paced briefly, to and fro, then caught Cassie’s eyes directly with mine for an instant, and she stopped in her tracks.
Then I just bolted. I ran like my life depended on it. When I ran I felt power and strength like never before. The ground almost didn’t register, I ran, pelting across tree branches, leaving them broken, bent and fallen in my path. I reached some buildings and launched to a roof. I threw myself on to a nearby home and pushed on to another building running across the tops like a hurdle runner. It was so easy I would have laughed if it were another time and context. As I bolted to the outskirts of the city, I saw her out of the corner of my eye, keeping up with me as best she could, looking at me worried as she watched me sprint. I leapt a roof top, she leapt another to keep stride though it looked almost like she was struggling. She drew closer as I jumped across to a lower roof and dropped to the ground.
Cassie crashed her body into mine and we met at ground level. I looked down and she reached her hands out to my face. With a dejected sound in her voice she spoke: “I know, I know, my love it’s hard to wake up...like this. I’m so sorry. There really was no choice. Please….., don’t hate me.” I grabbed her hand and pressed it to my face. I breathed in the scent of her skin deeply. I had touched her, smelt her, breathed her so many times before, but this was so much more. She grew quiet and my eyes met hers. She looked at me with a mix of fear and love. My impulses were overwhelming. Sight, sound, smell….. I reached out and drew her close to me. I could feel her nervousness. I kissed her. There was relief in her when we touched. I kissed her harder and she climbed on top of me to kiss me back. I grabbed at her, wanting, overwhelmed by feelings. I kissed her deeper and pulled at her clothes. Her jacket gave way as she dug her nails into my back and neck. All I knew was I wanted her, she wanted me. There on the hill beneath an industrial block I lost myself again, in Cassie, in my new life.
I hadn’t asked for this. My rage was absolute but my senses unbearably acute in the most exquisite of ways. We had always loved each other, but this was the first time I could meet her strength, her power, equally, and I knew now we were inseparable. Violet had been right about the bond made through the change. It was the strongest thing I had ever felt. I sank back into the depths of the darkness of my death with the smell of fresh leaves surrounding me.
Matthias by Ariana Kenny / Fantasy have rating 3.2 out of 5 / Based on19 votes