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    version 22: awakening


    GHAUL -- Year 209


    "(souls are not meant to live more than once — death was not meant to be temporary, and she is so sure that every time her heart starts to beat again that irreversible damage is further inflicted)" -- Anonya, written by Colby

    [open]  my kingdom come undone
    “I know when you go
    down all your darkest roads
    I would have followed all the way
    to the graveyard.”
    She has asked for all of this.

    She knows this, of course, and she thinks that maybe Atrox is right – that she has mastered the role of the victim. She wears it comfortably, like a cloak that grafts into her skin until it seeps into her bones, and she simply becomes it. She no longer knows if it’s a lie she has told herself over and over until it becomes the truth, or if it is the truth that others have manipulated her into believing was a lie. 

    But she is standing here in the meadow at the edge of dawn, with broken sight and a broken heart, and she is haunted by ghosts of her own creation. 

    Because she has done this to herself, again and again.
    Because she creates love for herself where it has no business being, and she doesn’t stop until it breaks her apart.

    This is what she hates the most about being blind again, she thinks; there is nothing to keep their faces from infiltrating her mind. The dark is a canvas, and across it, all she sees is a storm gray face and wine-red eyes, sometimes set against a forgotten valley, sometimes suspended in stars. A flicker and he is replaced by yellow eyes against infinite rolling black, by a glint of sharp teeth and the moonlight reflecting off the surface of the crystalline lake. 

    There is nothing else to look at besides memories, there is nothing new to dream besides all the things that have already happened that she cannot change.

    The frost of Illum’s skin was like a balm to all the wounds she insisted on reopening, and sometimes that wretched heart of hers almost felt soothed. But then there were nights like last night, where there was nothing to keep the hurt at bay, nothing that could keep the echo of Atrox’s voice from burning at the corners of her mind and tearing at the loosely stitched together pieces of her heart. 

    She wonders if Illum is starting to realize why she had not been able to promise him forever.

    In this dim half-light she still glows, and she appears as everything soft and angelic, as she had been made to be. Locks of white curl against a slender neck, gold-trimmed wings resting at her sides, and she is beautifully ethereal until the light of her halo illuminates the stones in her sockets. They are the same as when he had placed them there, flat and gray, unremarkable. 

    She left behind Taiga for the night and left behind the man who seemed willing to love her in a way that no one else did. 

    Because she does not know what to do with love that does not burn. She does not know how to exist when she is not tearing herself down and apart and trying to rebuild herself into something new. 

    She stands here in the weight of this solitude, trying to decide if she wants someone to break it, or if she’d rather simply disappear again.

    idk what this is, I promise if someone replies she won't just mope about her dumb life.
    I am... not in the forest anymore. I don't think so, anyway. The trees have gotten smaller and less colorful, a greenscale of new leaves and old bark. I'm thin again, any weight gained with childbearing shed in my bid to starve out the Voices in my mind. A beautiful crystal skeleton is what steps from the woods and into the phobic open. 

    The light hurts my eyes. Its so much brighter than I remember it, so much hotter. Little white knives of pain make me shut them tight while I try to remember where I am, and why. From one side to the other I sway as I think, fighting through the fog in my mind. The rod of darkly stained wood in my chest swings in time with me. A constant, tangible reminder that I'm broken. 

    When I open my eyes again, they water but do not hurt as badly. I can see bright light and emerald green, and a sky as far away as the deepest ocean floor. My own wings hang by my sides, ragged and moulting their pastel plumage. Too worn to carry me anymore. So I walk instead, and let the deep grassy meadow engulf me. 

    The light begins to resolve in my sight, and a gasp of surprise leaves me. A mare. Familiar, I think. An angel I've met before, who came and went from my life like a breath of wind. Not that I can call that a distinguishing feature. Not when it describes all I've met. Still, an angel. There's no mistaking them. 

    With crooked, halting steps, I approach her. Jauntily, I think, but the effect is likely more that of a walking pile of bones. Macabre, uneven. "They're coming, you know." I announce, quite certain suddenly. I stumble to a halt and look behind me, the glimpse of shadowy figures ever at my back. Always, I am followed. They whisper in my ears when I sleep, and tangle my mane and tail when I'm not looking. This angel looks like she should be warned. 


    ── and i was never sure whether you were the lighthouse or the storm ──
    She can hear someone approaching, and at first, she does not move.

    She listens to the sound the grass makes as it is parted, the odd rhythm to the steps that imply there is something slightly off about the gait of whoever it is. It makes her certain that it is not someone that she knows, and for a moment she marvels at the fact that this skill was so quickly recalled, even though she had not needed it in years. She has learned to read footsteps and heartbeats, learned to match the quiet inhale and exhale patterns as though they are faces. She has learned to rely on so many things other than sight, but it did not mean she missed it any less.

    She adapts so easily to being blind again, and part of her wishes that she didn’t.

    There is a part of her that wishes she could have at least held onto the fear of stumbling in the dark instead of picking up the threads of an old life, that she could have at least had something to preoccupy her mind other than the haunted thoughts and the searing pain that flares in her ribcage with each pulse. She wishes there was anything to chase Atrox from her mind, that something else might fill up the dark besides him.

    Fear has always been her favorite distraction, but right now there is simply nothing; just a hazy feeling of gray that she cannot escape.

    Her head turns to the sound of the voice, and she considers what the stranger says. The voice is unfamiliar, and though she cannot make sense of what she says she is secretly grateful that the first words out of her mouth did not involve something about her lack of eyes.

    It had been a pleasant break for everyone to focus instead on her personality flaws rather than her physical ones.

    “Who is coming?” She asks, her small head now tilted just slightly. She takes a step towards the other mare, likely not as hesitant as she should be, or at least not as much as one might expect a blind angel to be.

    She doesn’t have a reason to be afraid, not yet, and even then fear has only ever drew her in instead of driven her away.


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