I’m no stranger to pain, but there is something extra special about six bullets to the chest. Somehow, I had managed to be grazed by all but two. But those two…damn, they got me good.
The sharp, shooting pain (haha) pulsed in my chest with every heart beat. Every breath drew new agony, and a brief split second pause of relief as the pain ebbed. It was like nothing I had ever experienced. To bad I was dying and couldn’t appreciate the moment.
And kneeling over me were the only two people who were ever there for me. God, they are beautiful. Even with the tears running down their cheeks. I can feel their hands, soft and warm, squeezing my calloused, freezing fingers. I can barely hear them though. Come to think of it, I can barely hear the shouting of terrified people, or the continuing gun fire in the background. It would almost be peaceful if not for the bullet wounds.
I think they are saying my name. I should be ashamed to admit I still get a thrill when I hear them call to me. But I’m dying, so who gives a damn.
I try to smile and answer back, but the blood in my throat makes me cough. Sexy. I just wish I could say something…
Then, from the haze of running people and glaring over head lights, another woman appears. It’s her. I don’t know why she would be here for me. I mean, I failed. I didn’t do anything of the things she asked me. In fact I tossed her aside when my life went to hell. Why would she be here?
My thoughts shatter as she smiles down at me, as though there were pity and not anger in her heart as she saw me sprawled out in a pool of my own blood. Her hair falls like liquid amber over her shoulder as she kneels to cradle my head in her lap. Her pale lips twist in a small smile. Her eyes look gently into my soul.
This is my goddess. My Dark Mother.
“This doesn’t seem to be what you set out to achieve my little one”. Her soft voice slides through my mind like a caress. I can’t even feel indignation at the situation.
“Yeah, well it turns out I might have taken a couple of bad steps in there. You win some, you lose some”.
I should probably not be a smart ass to a goddess. But she just shakes her head.
“Why are you here Mother? I can’t imagine that anything I have done would make me worthy of your comfort now”.
She stroked my head gently as she sighed “You are mine. I chose you from among hundreds of millions. And when you called to me, I could not refuse you”. Her face became almost sad then and I could hear the cries of my friends, still kneeling over me. I looked at them and realized they couldn’t see anything but me. They must think I was out of my mind. Hell, maybe I was…
“I am real child. As real as anything you could ever know. And I am here for you so tell me, what is it that you want?”
“I don’t deserve any boon from you. I abandoned you and everything I believed in. I don’t deserve anything from you”
I coughed again. More blood. I noticed a distinct lack of pain in my torso. I was almost done. Strange how I just didn’t seem to care.
The goddess touched my cheek and laughed “And what would you ask for, if you had the right to ask? For heaven? For your life, or that of your friends? You called to me, my precious one. Tell me why you did”.
There was no more command in that statement than in any she had spoken. Yet I felt my heart break to tell her everything. But what did I want?
“Not to die would be really nice” I said, without thinking.
She tilted her head and considered me “You put your self here, far from where I would have had you otherwise. You said yourself that you abandoned me. So why call to me here?” She leaned down and kissed my forehead, my blood staining her lips. “Would you ask me to save you?”
I shook my head without thinking “No. I couldn’t ask for that. I would ask that you save them” and I looked at the two women crying over my no longer breathing body.
“They are not mine” she said, looking at the young women.
I nodded “But I am. And they are here because of me…”
My goddess stood up then and looked down at me, her face a sudden mask “What would you ask me of wizard?”
“Give me life. Give me strength. And let me put down the bastard that are doing this.”
Her lips twitched in what might have been a bemused smile.
“You’re return to life will not be pleasant. And once you’re back, everything will change. They will know you are mine. And they will try to kill you for it. You will no longer be able to hide from them” she leaned down and touched my face. “This will hurt more than all the fires of hell. As if every demon you have was given life to tear at you. It will hurt”.
If I could have moved my rapidly cooling shoulders, I would have shrugged. “Pain means life, right?”
She shook her head again as she straddled my chest “No my dearest love. Life means pain” her eyes began to glow with the power that was her very being as she leaned in putting her face just inches from mine and kissed me saying “This will hurt”.
And it did.