A part of me wants to yield to the pain, to let the burn take me under. But I know that’s what Mara wants. If I let my guard down for a even a second, if my strength wavers and I lose consciousness, she’ll win. And I’m not about to give in to her. After all, I’d made it this far, and if Death himself couldn’t reign me in, I wasn’t about to give his sister that pleasure, either.
So I clutch the book and force myself to my feet. Rather than try to ignore the way the marks on my skin burn, I let the pain keep me moving, keep me awake and aware of my surroundings.
“Arius!” I don’t know if Death can hear me, but I keep calling his name. The canyon that’s opened between us is an endless void, and I can’t even see him in the distance anymore. Above, the sky has darkened, the only source of light left the twinkling stars.
He can’t hear you. And even if he did-
“Stop!” I hit the heel of my hand against my forehead. “Shutupshutupshutup.”
“I said stop!” My voice resounds around me, deep with a power that I’m sure comes from the etchings. A ringing silence lingers after, and for the first time since she started speaking to me, Mara is silent. Maybe even absent.
Behind me, on the other side of small stand that once held the book, a door materializes. Well, it’s less a door and more of a portal, or opening. There’s only just enough space for me to walk through it. I look back in the direction of the chasm, where somewhere in the distance, Arius might be.
But there’s no way for me to get to him, and nothing I can do from here. Clutching the book tight in both arms, I make my way through the portal, hoping it’ll lead somewhere Death will find me.
Meant to get this up yesterday, but the day got away from me.
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As always, think happy thoughts!