AUTHOR'S NOTE


Inspiration:

"Pieces" – Red
"Not Alone" – Red
Any freaking song by "Red" ... :'D

That and a tragedy that recently happened.


Is fusing with monster souls painful, people ask.

When your body morphs around your shivering self until there's barely anything left that resembles your true form.

When your own thoughts mix with those of the monster.

When your will ceases to exist and you're forced to watch your own body do things you can't control.

When the doubts come. Will this end? Or will that monster finally take control for good and kill everyone it meets, until someone puts an end to your sad existence?

It doesn't hurt. Not anymore than going insane on a daily basis. Unless you're me, then you get treated to all that and nightmare-inducing pain. Ever since that happened in Domremy, ever since that cursed mistletoe pierced my heart, ever since then; it hurts as hell.

The others don't know about it. I never told them. They never ask. Karin once tried to, but I avoided the topic. She needn't know. I don't need anyone to fuss over me. Just a couple more months, maybe just weeks, days, then it'll be over anyway. The curse will run its course and wipe all that is me, leaving an empty shell.


If I am scared, people ask.

When you don't know when it will happen to you, but you know exactly what will.

When you know that fighting it is in vain, because it will only get worse from there.

When everyone you ask can't help you, even the oldest mage in the world.

When even conquering a mighty god of wrath doesn't save you.

When, every day, another piece of precious memories goes up in flames?

Why do people ask, anyway? What do they expect?

Me smiling and telling them 'nah, not afraid'?

Or do they want to see me break down in tears?

Lose it? Become a mental case far before the curse can make me one?

Or shake it off like a cold?

Keep fighting despite the outcome?

Or give up and laugh at the bitter irony.

My girlfriend died of a curse she caught in my soul (long story), trying to save me (even longer..), now I'm to follow her.

I wonder.. If that curse destroys my soul, what will be left to join her anyway? Even if there was anything left, would she recognise what's left of me? Will I know her?


If I have hopes for the future, people ask.

No. I don't. There is no future. The world will move on, without me too. It doesn't matter if I stay alive for a few more months or drop dead right now.

A future? I don't have that. That's a luxury for other people.

Maybe there is one single hope. That she may forgive me for what I'm about to do. That she doesn't hold herself responsible for it. This is my decision. I've chosen this place, far away from the others so they can't stop me. Secluded enough so nobody else will. This will be the end. I will put myself down before all that's me disappears.

Regrets? Few. None important.

Fear? Not anymore.

A will to live? None. What's left for me to go on for?

My friends? They'll be better off without me.
Without the constantly collapsing me, insane me, cursed me, dying me.
No more worries, no more mad enemies and monsters coming after them.

Should I write my last will? I heard people do that before they die. To take care of their stuff ... and so on. Then again, there's not much I own.
I take out my fist-mounted claws, glancing them over. Where I am going, I won't need these anymore. So I put them down beside me.
I was the one carrying our items, so I remove my bag as well.
As I bow down, something else drops.

It's Alice's cross.. I actually wanted Karin to have it, to preserve the memories attached to it.

Thus, it goes on top of the heap before I turn back to the cliff. No time for seconds thoughts now.

I take a step towards the edge, wind blowing around me. The fall will be steep, the sea rocks down below, crashing against the shore.

Will I drown first?
Or will the fall end it?
I wonder if I bleed before I die.

Another step forwards, I now see the depth before me. I smile. It seems like yesterday when I saw Alice.

Alice..

I get ready to jump, but something stops me. A voice in the wind, someone calling. I look back over my shoulder, spotting a red-yellowish figure running towards me.

Karin..

How did she even find this place? I thought it was far enough away.. Seems I was wrong.

As I watch her getting closer, something starts breaking under my feet. Little at first, then the ground falls and I slip, losing my balance. The edge rushes past me as I try to grab it. Time almost freezes, as gravity pulls me down. Images rush past me. My whole life - what a cliche. A look at the cliff where I stood seconds before. Karin is there, her hand stretched out towards me, tears in her eyes. She calls my name, desperately.

I do the only reasonable thing; call up Amon - if not to safe myself, then to escape her tear-stricken face. As his hide wraps around me, every sorrow falls off. Every fear, regret, sadness. Then, a hard impact. Something in my back and skull cracks, air leaves my lungs, pain all over, the fusion breaking up, leaving me in a growing pool of my own blood. Above; Karin's scream. My sight getting blurry. Can't move anymore. Don't want to anymore.

Is it supposed to hurt like that? I always thought I'd just drift away.. Couldn't scream if I wanted to. Blood in my mouth, in my nose. Can breathe, not well tho. My crushed ribs refuse to work, there's no feeling in my limbs either. I idly wonder if my spine is broken too. Even if I live, I'll be paralysed.

I close my eyes for what feels like an eternity, then there's steps, coming from far, coming closer. Her voice. What does she say? Can't make out words.

Then, her hand caressing my cheek. She's crying, her tears dripping on my face. Idiot, that's why I ran.. You of all, I didn't want to see this. I try to smile, to show her it's fine, but it feels wrong. Probably more of bared teeth than a grin. A touch on my broken skull, warm energy flooding me. Her voice again, mumbling steady words. The disturbing groan as splinters merge with bone matter and cracks close themselves.

Another touch, her warm hand a welcome pressure on my chest. More pain as my back and torso start mending themselves with loud cracks, ripped muscles and skin healing more gently.

I want to stop her, tell her about my decision, but I can't. All I manage is a husk whisper that costs too much air to get repeated. She didn't hear me anyway. The effort leaves me lightheaded. Blacking out.


Another voice..

Not Karin. It's.. her again. Alice. I can see her, waiting for me, stretching out her hand.

I want to take it, long to be with her, free of this life, but something pulls me back, away from her.

I hear myself growl with frustration.

More voices, not Karin's, not Alice's. A bark and a male voice, an old one. Can't place the faces.. or names..

The pain is gone now. I start feeling lighter, like letting go of a heavy burden. This shattered thing, that is my body.

I'm ready to go. My soul pulls against the force keeping me bound. Towards her hand, towards peace.

Our hands almost touch.

Then..


A slapping sound, pain, spreading from my cheek. I half open my eyes, blurred shapes around me.

"Idiot, don't you dare dying now!", Karin barks - she means to be angry, but you can hear she's afraid.

Someone puts their arm behind my shoulders, pulling me up. A touch on my exposed lower back, again, warmth. A sharp pain as backbones realign and heal, nerves connect. I blink, just to get rid of the tears forming in my eyes.

"Hey kid", says the man holding me. "Welcome back." I know this man.. Gepetto..? When did he get here?

The pain is getting less now. Feeling returns to the legs, a mess of pins and needles. Also can see better now. I wish I couldn't. Gepetto tries his best to smile, but his eyes are wet. Karin doesn't even try to hide it, her hand still on me, magic at work.

"What were you doing there, eh?", Gepetto asks, his voice shaking. "You scared little Cornelia here.. and Karin too!"

Cornelia.. his puppet. His incredibly life-like puppet.. sitting next to him. Staring at nothing.

Blanca is there too, somewhat unsure of what to do, so the wolf just sits in the distance, waiting. Probably guarding us. If we were to be attacked by monsters now...

"He's a good dog", Gepetto then remarks, as if he'd read my mind. "He will tell the others where we are. Let's find a nice place to rest first, shall we?"

Karin's look is unreadable as she stands and walks off.

I feel miserable for doing this to her. To all of them. Just how selfish is it, to leave like that? Must've been out of my mind.. I see it now. I can't just quit like this. I have to finish this last mission.. maybe, then I can rest.

Funny how a close encounter with death can change your mind..