Follow Through

It’s not gone entirely, but it feels muffled and faint, like the memory of an emotion instead of the actual emotion. –unknown

 

It was less a memory of the emotion and more a memory of the memory.

If that made any kind of sense.

She remembered what it was like to actually love someone and not just anyone, but a human man. She’d loved him enough to marry him and to have his children. But at the same time it wasn’t a memory that she could call up and experience within her own mind’s eye.

It was like reading about something in a book that had happened to someone else and then finding out that it hadn’t happened to someone else, but to the person who had read the book.

Her life was full of all kinds of screwy things it seemed.

Case in point:

“Are you certain that this is the right thing to do? She might not even be the real one…”

“You just don’t want to do this!”

“I just don’t want to screw this up…”

“I knew that you wouldn’t have the guts to follow through!”

“If being wrong turns us into nothing more than murderers then I would gladly be labeled a coward!”

There’s a breath as if the second person hadn’t even thought of that before they shrug and disregard it.

“We’re not wrong and if the thing you’re slaughtering isn’t human then it’s not murder. That thing isn’t human even though it looks like one.”

“You know that you sound like all of those crazy hunters from the movies and t.v. shows now, right?”

“Only cheesy people or people who are legitimate psychos sound like those characters.”

“You’re trying to talk me into ritually sacrificing this girl in order to bring us some kind of power or wealth or whatever.”

That last was said in a very monotone sort of voice. If she wasn’t still regretting her life choices that had led up to this moment (and actually written the book on how to do this kind of ritual to someone like her) then she might have been…something like impressed? She didn’t know and honestly? She didn’t care what kind of personal growth the first person was trying to instigate in the second, the fact of the matter was they had ambushed a six year old, knocked her out, dragged her…somewhere and then tied her up to some kind of crudely put together alter and were now standing over the groggy child debating on whether or not to finish what they’d started when they’d cut several runes (badly done runes at that) into the soft flesh of said child and now were supposed to slit the child’s throat, drain the blood and then drink it from the ceramic mugs ready on the side of the alter.

The fact that this wasn’t the first time the child had gone through this was more than aggravating. It was the reason she’d had to be born all over again (for the umpteenth time) and was only six despite the fact that she was always reborn within ten years of her previous life’s death date and the fact that she rarely lived to be more than thirteen years old after the first several decades of being sacrificed.

But other than guesswork and research and just plain dumb luck these two didn’t know that. For all they knew, just as the first person was arguing, they had done more than commit a felony they were planning to kill a helpless little girl just on the off chance that she was some kind of regenerating mystical creature for their own gain. They had no way of knowing if what they’d read about was real or not.

Second thoughts now, while all well and good, would have meant nothing if the little girl hadn’t been a mystical creature with regenerative powers. Just because it wouldn’t leave her dead in the long run did not in any take away from the criminal and horrifying acts that these two had planned and mostly already carried out.

Different Phoenix, Different Ending – Reflections Traces Prompt #12

Sometimes she wondered how different life would have been for her had she the power to chose her own outcome. She had loved a man so much, much more than he had ever deserved, though that was something that she had not known until later in their life together. They’d had children, so many children and she thought they’d been happy.

It was only later that she learned there was more to life, their life, that she had not known about.

Her kind were often thought of as a blessing or a curse, depending on who was talking.

To her husband, she had been a blessing both in children, long life and in personal power. Those who came to their home to speak with her husband were always awed by his wife, though it was unintentional on her part. It was just what and who she was.

In many tales, it is said that those of her kind will die and then become reborn from their own ashes, ready to rise once again in glorious fire.

For her, she would die upon an altar, her children and grandchildren and great grandchildren around her and her husband standing over her. In her death, her children, some of whom were very sick, would gain some of her life force and heal from it. She had chosen this. She was old and if her death could have a purpose, then she would be grateful, even if it interfered with the original sequence of her kind’s death.

Her rebirth would happen not right away, but scattered throughout the lifetimes of her descendants. What she hadn’t foreseen was the outcome of that supposed one-time sacrifice. Every death thereafter would further seal her fate to what had once been her family but was now nothing more than her slavers.


Original concept for this particular story is actually a little old. I have some scenes for this story written down somewhere in another collection of shorts. When I saw the Reflections Traces Prompt for this last week, I thought of this story. It has no connection to my other long-standing story in Phoenix ‘Verse.