1832, Paris…After the final battle at the barricade.
Eponine woke amidst the smoky rubble of crumbled buildings and dead bodies. Her shoulder stung with a sharp pain as she tried to prop herself up on her elbow. Her left shoulder was still bleeding lightly from her bullet wound. Her hair was full of dust and smelled of gunpowder. Dried blood stained her coat and tangled her hair.
Women and children wandered through the mass of dead bodies lying around her, picking pockets and looking for their dead husbands, sons, fathers, brothers. Everywhere Eponine could see, people were crying, tears streaking their dirty faces. Eponine tried to ignore the confusion around her as she strove to remember how she came to be where she was.
"Marius." The word escaped her lips in a faint breath. I must find Marius! she thought to herself.
Fighting the pain in her shoulder, she picked herself up from the ground. She rose swiftly, as if an angel had touched her forehead, allowing her live, yet leaving the rest of the dying bodies for the clutches inevitability.
She made her way through the rue de Villette with frightful thoughts that her poor Marius was lying dead in the sea of lifeless rebels in the barricade. Holding her left arm still with her right hand, she escaped the battleground with tears drowning her eyes and a soundless cry caught in her throat.
* * * * *
Eponine wandered the city for hours upon hours. She cried aloud, not caring who saw her, ignoring those who tried to console her. All she could think about was her love, her darling Marius. Thoughts of him and his warm arms around her consumed her. Her parents, the students, Cosette…they never even had the chance to enter her mind. Marius! Marius…
"Oh Marius!" she cried to the heavens. "Your words of love, they healed me, don't you see? Dear God above, can you feel the anguish I am experiencing? Please, let my Marius be alive. I pray to you Lord, for Marius' soul! Let him live! I need him in my life, please, let him be alive and well! Oh, Marius, my love! I don't know where you are! Do you live? Are you lost? Do you lie, injured, waiting for the touch of someone who cares? I love you! And I know you love me too! Marius, you love me too!"
Eponine's ideas of the death of Marius escaped for a brief moment as she recalled the words he spoke to her. Her realization drew lovely tears from the bottom of her soul and she wept with happiness so full and strong, it banished all the harshness she'd ever felt in her life. But it was just a brief moment of bliss, and the terrible worry for Marius crept back upon her. She continued walking the streets of Paris, seeing Marius' face in the faces of young wounded men, in the half-broken windows of little shops, in the reflection in the river. Her heart ached without Marius.
The night was flying in from the east. Eponine's thoughts of Marius were being broken by pangs of agony from her bullet wound. She stopped along the river to take a good look at her shoulder before night completely shrouded the city. She took her coat off and examined her wound. Her shoulder looked like it was nearly blasted off. She was weak. She knew she had lost much blood, but she was very fortunate. The bullet did not hit the bone. She leaned toward the river and cleaned her flesh with the sobering cold water. She winced as it ran through her open wound, but she gritted her teeth and resisted the urge to cry. After a few more examinations and cleanings, she ripped off a length of material from her coat and wrapped it around her shoulder twice before tying it.
She shivered from the cold water and the chilly night breeze blowing over the river. As she got up, she gave a gasp. My coat! Where is it? She looked up and saw a young boy scrambling away with her main means of warmth. She screamed out and tried to run after him, but she was so weak from her wound. She could barely run a few feet without that stinging pain. Cold and disheartened, she trudged away from the chilly river wind, among the dark monstrous buildings of Paris. The dull ache in her arm draining her strength and her morale, she saw the huge shadowy structure of Notre Dame and collapsed just inside its great doors.
"Marius," she whispered just before she passed into darkness.