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Introduction:

Alison and Desiree have found the Patriot's headquarters as the terrorist are about to unleash a devastating attack on Mark and Mary.
The Devil's Pact
by mypenname3000
edited by Master Ken
Copyright 2013, 2014

Chapter Forty-Eight: The Patriot's Blood

Visit my blog at www.mypenname3000.com.

For those of us that remained free of the Tyrants' control, one of the great mysteries of their rule was the Patriots. They had appeared almost immediately to challenge Mark and Mary. From their first assassination attempt in Washington D.C., to their spectacular attack in February of 2014 that left dozens dead in the streets of Tacoma, the Patriots had been a constant thorn in the Tyrants' side. So why did they mysteriously vanish after almost crashing Mark's plane on May 1st, 2014?
–excerpt from 'The History of the Tyrants' Theocracy', by Tina Allard

Thursday, May 6th, 2014 – Mark Glassner – The Mansion

“Are you ready, Chase?” I asked my week old daughter. I was using that high-pitched voice everyone seemed to use when talking to infants; I just couldn't help myself; she was so cute and beautiful. Chase, as we had started calling her, cooed and stared up at me with her blue eyes. “I wonder what mommy is doing? Huh, do you want to go see?”

Chase gurgled.

“That's what I thought, kiddo.” I kissed her forehead, and walked into Mary's dressing room. My wife was naked, applying her make-up. Her auburn hair fell in a full, curly mass about her shoulders. “Looks like Mommy isn't ready yet, even though we have to leave in fifteen minutes.”

Mary glared at me over her shoulder, her expression softening when she saw Chase. “Mommy needs to look like a Goddess,” she said in that high-pitched, sing-song voice. “Daddy just needs to not look like a slob.”

I feasted on my wife's body. You could hardly tell Mary had even been pregnant. Between her Gift and her Pact, her body had quickly returned to its youthful, flawless beauty. Though her breasts were still a cup size larger, heavy with sweet milk. In fact, that was the first thing my daughter and I had in common—we both loved Mary's milk.

I admired my wife as she pulled dark-black, thigh-high stockings up her pale legs, then stepped into her deep-blue dress, and pulled it up her body. It was strapless, and would leave the majority of her freckled breasts bare. “Can you zip me?” she asked.

I handed Chase to her, and Mary cooed happily at our daughter as I zipped her up. Chase was a happy baby during the day; at night, however, she was the opposite. I yawned; I had to spend an hour last night walking up and down the halls with our fussy daughter before she fell back to sleep. I could have had a maid do it, but I wanted to be her father, and that meant getting little sleep so I could take care of her.

“Today is your special day,” Mary cooed in a high-pitched, singsong voice. “You're going to meet your worshipers, and they are going to just love you.”

The Cunningham twins were building the main Church of the Living Gods in downtown Puyallup, but for the moment they had repurposed a nearby Christian megachurch. Many Christian churches were being transformed into Living Churches as the number of Christians in America plummeted. With so many new converts over the last five months, many of our original worshipers had founded their own congregations across the country, our Missionaries.

As we walked through the hallways of the mansion, maids would pause from their cleaning to curtsy, and I let my eyes admire their fine bosoms on display in their transparent blouses, and maybe reach under a ruffled skirt to give a bare ass a squeeze. Outside, our limo awaited in the middle of a convoy made up of black SUV's carrying several squads of bodyguards. More bodyguards would already be down at the church making sure everything was secure.

“There's my Granddaughter,” Sean, Mary's father, cooed, taking Chase from my wife.

Both of our families were coming to the ceremony. Sean stood at the heart of his family: his very pregnant wife Tiffany; his two daughters, Missy and Shannon; their boyfriends Damien and George; and the family's sex slaves. Dawn belonged to Missy, Starla to George and Shannon, Mrs. Corra to Damien, and Felicity to Sean and Tiffany. It was still surprising to see Felicity; nearly a year ago Mary had given the teenage girl to her father, and then Sean had freed her. I never thought to see her again, but a month ago she showed up, begging to be Sean's slave again.

“Don't hog her,” my mom said to Sean, a big smile on her face as he handed our daughter off to her. “She's just so beautiful, isn't she Betty?”

My mom's Black girlfriend nodded in agreement, her arm wrapped around my mom's waist. Antsy insisted on her turn holding my daughter, and she tenderly held her niece while her girlfriend Via cooed in joy. Missy demanded to be next, then Shannon, and last the very pregnant Tiffany had her turn, tears glinting in her eyes as she held her granddaughter.

“We have to get going,” I finally said, taking my daughter from my mother-in-law. “You can hold her later.”

The limo pulled away from the mansion, and I noticed a flash of fear crossing Mary's face. “What?” I asked her, reaching across the car seat strapped between us and taking her hand.

Mary glanced down at our daughter. “What if the patriots...”

“They won't,” I lied. It was a fear nagging the back of my mind too. What if they did try something. I kept coming up with rationalizations why they wouldn't. “It's too public. They're not going to risk all those innocent people.”

“Maybe this is a mistake, Mark.”

“We can't keep her in a bubble all her life. We have our guards, she has her amulet, and we'll be there to protect her.”

“Yeah, sis,” Missy giggled. “Your husband's a bad-ass warrior. There's nothing to worry about. He'll just summon that wicked sword of his and...” She a swishing noise and sliced her arm through the air. “That's that.”

Antsy laughed. “That's my big brother. Attack the problem head-on with a big, phallic-shaped object.”

“Maybe I should attack you with a phallic-shaped object,” I grinned at my sister.

“Promise?” she asked, fluttering her eyes.

“You can count on it, sis.”

“So, Mark,” Shannon said, shifting in her seat between George and Missy, “I've always wondered something.”

“Yeah?”

“You got your gift from Mom, but how would you pass yours on. Hypothetically speaking, how did one Monk give his powers to another. Would you have to ass-fuck the guy? I mean, that's basically how nuns do it, right?”

“Yep,” Tiffany nodded. “We ass-fuck each other.”

A laugh passed through the limo.

“So, how do you pass it on?” Shannon asked after catching her breath.

“I'd have to die,” I answered.

“What?” Mary exclaimed, giving me a shocked look. “Is that a joke, Mark?”

“Nope,” I said. “Monks pass on their gift to the person that killed them.”

“Why?” Mary asked. “I figured they just fucked someone. Like nuns do it.”

“It's an act of forgiveness,” I explained. “I never told you this, Mare?”

She shook her head.

“That sounds weird,” Antsy said. “Why would they do it like that?”

“Well, the way Azazel explained it was to help the person who killed you become a better human being. That's why there are so few Monks; if they were slain by a demon, or if they thought the man who killed them would abuse the power, they wouldn't pass on their Gift.”

Mary raised her eyebrow. “How can you forgive the person that killed you?”

I shrugged; it seemed impossibly hard. “Fuck if I know.”

“Well, I guess you won't be giving up your powers any time soon, big bro.”

“Yeah,” I grinned. “Little attached to my life.”

“So am I,” my wife smiled, and leaned over our daughter's car seat to kiss me on the lips.

“Get a room!” Ansty yelled and Missy wolf-whistled.

“If we got a room, then you couldn't watch,” Mary smiled at our sisters.

“That's a fair point,” Missy said to my sister. “Plus, we couldn't join in. So where's the fun in that.”

“Excellent point, pipsqueak,” Antsy agreed.

“Pipsqueak?” shrieked Missy.

“Umm, how about a cute, beautiful, vivacious pipsqueak?”

“Better,” Missy smiled, and gave my sister a kiss on the lips, which brought a wolf-whistle from Damien.

The crowds were ecstatic as we pulled up to the church, held back by a line of bodyguards. Many of the faithful had flocked to the church to see their new Goddess. There were more women then men, a sad reality in the aftermath of the Wormwood plague, and I admired more than a few pair of exposed breasts as our limo crept slowly forward.

I savored the passionate cries of my worshipers that flooded the limo when Leah opened the doors. Our sexy chauffeur bowed with a flourish of her arm as I stepped out. I surveyed the crowed, then held my hand to help Mary out, little Chase in her arms. It was like a physical wave slamming into us as the crowd roared their love. I waved and Mary held Chase up to her cheek, facing our daughter towards our loving worshipers. The noise scared our daughter, and she started fussing; Mary rocked and soothed her as we walked into the church.

“My Lord, my Lady,” breathed Rose Cunningham, her blonde hair caught up in a long braid. Daisy, her twin-sister and wife, slipped up beside her, and they bowed their heads.

The Cunningham Twins were our High Priestess. In a ceremony in March, we had publicly bound them with the Zimmah spell in this very building, sealing their position as the head of our Church. Since they were bound, and therefore trustworthy, Mary handed over Chase to Daisy. Our priestess's face melted with awe, and she gently cradled our daughter.

“She's perfect,” Daisy breathed, handing the infant to Rose, who bent down and kissed our daughter's forehead.

“We've set aside a room for you to wait in, my Lord,” Rose said, handing Chase back to Mary. “The Ceremony will begin in about an hour.”

I suppressed a yawn, there were worshipers watching us, and it wouldn't do to let them see us as humans. “Lead on,” I commanded.

It was a small room set with a few, padded benches. Two of the maids—cute, innocent Cindy and sultry, dusky-skinned Karishma—had set out refreshments of wine and juice and quickly started serving Mary, our families, and me. I sat down between my wife and my sister, who pressed her warm body up against me. Almost immediately, Missy and her boyfriend Damien started making out.

“You are such a cute thing,” Sean smiled as Cindy handed him a glass of wine. Pregnant Tiffany gave her husband an amused look.

“Thank you, sir,” she smiled back, braces glinting on her white teeth.

“I would have loved to have you in my class.” Sean's hand reached out and fondled the teen's ass. Cindy's grin broadened. She was a maid and lived to serve in any way.

Mary glanced up, rolled her eyes, and held up Chase to Karishma. “She's a little young to see this.”

“Yes, my Lady,” Karishma purred in her Hindi accent. “You are so beautiful,” she cooed to my daughter, carrying her out of the room.

Cindy let out a gasp; Sean's hand rubbed between her thighs. It seemed like I had transformed both our families into sex fiends. My sister's hand rubbed at my crotch, her lips kissing my neck as Sean pulled our teenage maid into his lap, and aggressively kissed her.

Mary shifted in her seat. “All my careful work is going to get ruined,” she muttered, then shrugged. “Oh well, I'll just cast an illusion on myself.” She had become quite proficient with the Ashan spell, and sometimes like to play pranks on me with her illusions.

I glanced at her. My wife's cheeks were flushed, her emerald eyes wide with desire, and wet spots appeared over her breasts, darkening her bodice. “You're leaking,” I whispered.

“Damn,” she muttered, pulling her dress down. Her two dark-red nipples popped into view, white milk beading on the hard nub. When she became horny, her breasts always leaked milk.

Shannon, who sat on the other side of Mary, smiled. “Let me help you, sis.”

Mary gasped as her older sister sucked her right nipple into her lips, nursing loudly. My sister pulled my cock out, stroking it a few times, then leaned over me to capture my wife's other nipple. My shaft was rock hard, leaking pre-cum as my sister jacked me off. Her cheeks hollowed as she nursed at my wife's breast, milk leaking out of the corners of her lips.

“Oh, yes!” moaned Cindy, drawing my attention to my teenage maid bouncing on my father-in-law's cock.

My mother sat down next to Mary's mother. They shared a passionate kiss, my mom's hand roaming across Tiffany's pregnant belly, pushing down her top to reveal her large breasts and dark-red nipples. My mom sucked a nipple into her mouth, and Tiffany moaned her delight.

“Fuck my ass, George!” Missy shouted. “I'm so horny! I need two cocks!”

The younger Sullivan sister, her strawberry hair streaming around her as she rode Damien hard, smiled over her shoulder. Her skirt bounced up and down, flashing her naked ass at George. Shannon's fiancee didn't hesitate to bury his cock in his future sister-in-law's teenage ass.

Antsy straddled me, her lips kissing me, full of my wife's creamy breast milk. My cock slid into my sister's cunt, warm and hot, and she writhed atop me. The room was filled with the moans and gasps of our family enjoying themselves. I gripped her asscheeks as she furiously fucked me.

“Umm, you have a great cock, big bro,” she purred.

A tongue licked at my balls. I had no idea whose. The tongue followed up my cock and licked where I penetrated my sister's pussy. Antsy moaned, glancing behind her. “You dirty slut, Via!”

Via, my sister's girlfriend, gave a wicked giggle. “Wait until I'm licking your asshole!”

Antsy gasped, her cunt tightening on me, as Via's tongue moved away from my cock. I pictured the black-haired girl's face buried in my sister's asscheeks, tonguing her backdoor. Antsy's back arched, and her breasts pressed against my face. I pushed her red bodice down, and sucked a pink nipple into my mouth. I was disappointed not to get any milk; I had come to love breast milk.

“I should knock you up,” I grunted as her cunt slid up and down on my shaft. “I want to drink your milk.”

“What a nasty thought,” my sister grinned.

“Here, hun,” Mary purred, and her milk-heavy breast loomed before me.

She was kneeling on the couch now, her sister on the floor eating out her pussy. I captured my wife's nipple and sucked hard. Delicious milk flowed into my mouth, warm, creamy, and sweet. I loved her milk; I loved every woman's breast milk. I wanted to drain her dry, but my daughter loved my wife's milk, too. And I wanted to be a good father.

“Let me taste!” moaned my wife.

I didn't swallow the mouthful I had, and pulled my wife's face down for a passionate kiss. My balls boiled; sharing breast milk with my wife, and being buried in my sister's cunt, was too much for my dick. I groaned, my body tensing, and I shot three large blasts into my sister's womb. She kept riding me, gasping and moaning.

“Lick my ass, Via! You dirty whore! I'm going to make you cum so hard!” she screamed. “I'm cumming! Oh, yes! I love fucking my big brother's cock!”

Antsy leaned against me, then Via pulled her off me. My sister stretched out on the floor, her pussy messy with my cum. Via straddled her girlfriend's face, and they slipped into a sixty-nine, Via sucking my cum out of my sister's pussy.

“Oh, shit!” Mary gasped, throwing her head back as she writhed on Shannon's mouth. “I love it! Make me cum, sister!”

I looked around the room. Cindy knelt on the floor getting fucked doggie style in the ass by Sean, her mouth buried in Tiffany's cunt. Betty, my mom's Black girlfriend, had Missy's head buried between her thighs while sucking George's cock and Damien had mounted my mom, his face buried in her tits, as he pumped away at her cunt. Damien had a thing for older women, and my mom was one hot MILF.

Smiling, I slipped behind my young sister-in-law, and stuck my cock into her tight, freshly fucked ass. Whenever the entire family gathered together, these sort of orgies were the consequence. We all loved each other, and what better way to show it then by shoving your cock into your wife's sister's ass while she ate out your mother's girlfriend's cunt?

Mary knelt beside me, and gave me a kiss on the lips, reaching out to fondle her little sister's ass. “Don't get too carried away,” she whispered. “We do need to present our daughter soon.”

“I'll try,” I moaned, Missy's ass tight on my cock.

“Come lick my pussy, Mary,” Shannon cooed. “I need to cum so bad.”

Mary gave a wicked laugh. “Well, I'll try not to get too carried away myself!”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Noel Heinrich – Patriot Headquarters, Montana

“The ceremony should be starting in an hour,” Wyatt reported.

“Let's get the golem's moving,” I ordered.

“It's still not too late to abort,” Wyatt pointed out. “I've seen the crowds gathering on the news. It's going to be a bloodbath. The golems are not discriminating! Why not attack their mansion?”

“It has to be a place that we know where they're at!” I countered. “And someplace public so Mark won't flee. You've seen him. When there are cameras on, he can't help but play the invincible god! We don't know their schedule, so we wouldn't even know when they would be there, and if we did, we don't know the layout of that mansion. They could be anywhere in there, and slip away through the Shadows. We're only going to get one chance at this so we can't afford to fuck it up!”

“There has to be a better way! We can wait for another appearance! One where there aren't thousands of innocents gathered! We're supposed to protect these people, Noel! Not butcher them!”

I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and steeled my nerves. “Their hunters have forced our hand. Alison and Desiree could find this place at any moment, Wyatt! The time for being careful is over! If thousands have to die, then that's cheap in my book!”

“Fuck,” he muttered. “Why did I ever listen to you, Noel?”

“Because you can't stand idle while people are enslaved.”

Wyatt spat. “Fine. Let's get this bloodbath over with!”

I reached out to the black sword lying on the table. It felt disgusting in my hand. The blade seemed to drink the light in, reflecting nothing back. It was emptiness hammered into a weapon, like a part of the universe had been cut away, leaving behind a void of nothingness, a hole in the fabric of space. It was Annihilation, and what it cost me to procure this cursed sword haunted my nightmares.

It was the only thing that could harm the spirits guarding the Tyrants in the Shadows. Three of us had been lost trying to slip through the Shadows and assassinate them before we learned just what was protecting them. This blade could harm them, could kill them, so to speak. It was Annihilation, and would unmake their very souls, ending what is eternal.

I slid it into the sheath hanging from my waist. “Start opening the portals.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Alison de la Fuente – One Mile South of Patriot Headquarters

My wife was sleeping, half on her side, her black hair spread out across her pillow. Our sleeping bag was half unzipped, and her pillowy, brown breasts were exposed to my gaze, topped with her dark nipples, looking like Hershey kisses and tasted just as sweet. It reeked of pussy in the tent; we had fucked each other like bunny-rabbits last night after we finished planning our attack.

We were going to attack the Patriot's suspected stronghold tonight. Our soldiers were special forces: a mix of SEALs, Delta Force, and Marine Force Recon. All were veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, proficient at midnight raids. We each had ten soldiers under our command, all bound to Master with the Ragily prayer. More than enough to storm the house under cover of darkness and eliminate everyone inside.

We had a Predator drone orbiting overhead, and its infrared only showed a dozen or so people living in the ranch. Snipers would take out the sentries, and the rest would rush the compounds and capture or eliminate the Warlocks before they knew what was happening. For now we just had to wait behind a knoll a mile away from their compound.

And I knew just how I wanted to pass the time.

I dug into my rucksack, and found a hot-pink dildo and a clear strap-on harness. I quickly pulled them up my slim legs, adjusted the end of the dildo so it pushed against my little clit, and cinched the straps nice and tight. I thought I saw movement, and I stared at my wife; the curve her lips twitched as she suppressed a smile.

“Hmm, what a pretty, and helpless woman I found,” I said out loud. “It would be a shame if some perverted woman came along and molested her.”

Desiree continued her charade of sleep as I grasped the side of our sleeping bag, and peeled it gently to the side, exposing her lush, nut-brown skin. I reached out, and stroked her thigh up to her plump, Latin ass, squeezing her cheek. She was so beautiful, almost as beautiful as Mistress, and every day I was thankful to Master for bringing us together.

Sometimes I despaired of ever hunting down all these despicable Warlocks. I wanted to spend so much more time with my wife and my Masters. Then stop hunting the Warlocks, my subconscious whispered. Then you can go back to Master, and be with him and your wife.

No. Desiree needs to do this. And I need to help her!

Then let her do it, answered my subconscious. Master needs you at his side. Leave Desiree and go back to him. You never should have married her to begin with!

I love her! I screamed at my subconscious.

I didn't know why I had these regrets about marrying Desiree. I loved her so much, more than Master and Mistress. When we were apart, I ached for her. It had been difficult the last six months being separated from her and our Masters. But Desiree needed to hunt down the Warlocks for what he had done to her, and I needed to help her punish them. Sadly, it was faster for us to split up. Anger burned inside me; I wanted to make all the Warlocks pay! I hated them all for what he did to my wife. If I could raise Brandon Fitzsimmons from the dead, I would flay every inch of his flesh, starting with the cock that raped my Desiree. I would just have to settle for disposing of all the other Warlocks.

I pushed my anger down, and ignored my stupid subconscious. I had a beautiful, 'sleeping' wife to molest. I bent down, and kissed her butt-cheek, then kissed my way up her hip and side. I found her ribs and gently moved her arm out of the way so I could follow them to her large melons. I rubbed my cheek against her soft breast, and found her dark nipple, sweet as chocolate, and sucked it into my hungry lips.

A soft sigh escaped Desiree's lips, and I looked through a curtain of my pink hair to see Desiree quickly shut her eyes. I nipped her nipple, biting ever so gently with my teeth, and felt her twitch. I released her nipple, and kissed up the slope of her breast to her shoulder. I bit and nibbled on her shoulder blade, then I nuzzled at the nape of her neck, sucking hard just above her choker, and leaving a dark hickey.

“Umm, you are such a sexy, helpless woman,” I cooed in her ear, after kissing up her cheek. “I'm going to stick my cock in your cunt, and have my way with you.”

I rolled Desiree onto her back, her black hair falling over her face, and I parted her thighs, settling between them. I rubbed the tip of the dildo across her slit, smearing her juices to lube it. Desiree twitched every time the hard plastic brushed her clit. After a few tries, I found her hole, and pushed just the very tip of the dildo inside her, enjoying the fake cock's base pushing back against my own clit.

“Oh, no, what are you doing?” Desiree gasped in mock alarm, pretending to wake up. “Please, stop! I am a virgin!”

“Ohh, that just make's this more fun,” I cackled, pushing in the dildo an inch.

“No, no, no! Someone help me!” Desiree cried out. I giggled; she was cheesier than a soap opera. “I have never been with a man before.”

“I'm no man,” I growled, pushing in another inch.

Desiree's hand found my perky breast, fingering the barbell that pierced my nipple, and purred throatily, “Umm, I see that.” I pushed in again, sinking the dildo almost all the way in. “No, this is wrong!”

I gently pumped into her. “Doesn't this feel wonderful? Your cunt was made to have my cock shoved inside it!”

“Yes! I mean, no! It's so wrong! Women shouldn’t be making love! I'm no lesbian! Take it out, please!”

“If that's what you want?” I sighed, and started pulling the dildo out of her, but Desiree's legs wrapped around me, stopping me. “I thought you wanted me to stop?”

“I...I...” she stammered. “I want you to fuck me!”

I pushed the dildo into her just a little bit. “You want me to fuck you? I thought you weren't a lesbian!”

“I was wrong!” Desiree moaned. “Fuck me! Make me your lesbian whore!”

I shoved the cock in, delighting in the pressure on my clit. Hearing Desiree begging to be my lesbian whore was stoking my fires big time; I pounded her pussy. “My little, lesbian whore!” I gasped, watching her breasts bounce as I fucked her. “You love it, don't you!”

“Yes!” Desiree gasped. “You've made me love women! Pound my cunt! Make me cum!”

My orgasm was an inferno burning through my entire body; I drove the dildo deep into her cunt as I writhed in passion. She kissed my neck and chin, her hips screwing up into me as she ground her clit against my pubic bone. Her hands squeezed my ass, urging me to fuck her harder. I pumped my hips as fast as I could, Desiree panting every time the dildo buried into her snatch.

Then she exploded, writhing beneath me. “¡Mi Sirenita!” Desiree gasped, lost in the pleasure of her orgasm. “¡Me estoy corriendo!”

Desiree smiled contentedly at me. So irresistible; I bent down and kissed my wife, and her arms wrapped around my body, hands running across my back. I slipped my tongue into her mouth, explored her and caressed her tongue. “I love you,” I told her when I broke the kiss, then I grinned, “Do you want to play...”

“Ma'ams!” Sergeant Holland shouted from outside, “Something's going on at the ranch!”

I sighed, kissed Desiree one last time, and shouted, “We'll be right there, Sergeant.”

“Very good, ma'ams.”

“¡Mierda!” Desiree cursed. I thought the same thing. I hadn't cum yet!

After we were dressed in camo fatigues, we joined Sergeant Holland, formerly of the Marine Force Recon, on the knoll. Thirteen men and women were gathered outside before the field of rough, clay statues. A pair of them were standing on ladders doing something in the air. I focused my auraculars—a pair of enchanted binoculars Sam whipped up that allowed you to see a person's aura—on the people on the ladders. There was something weird in the air, glowing lines, and the men moved their arms like they were drawing an arc in the air.

“They're making a portal,” Desiree muttered. That definitely made them Patriots. Only the Patriots and Lilith's followers knew that spell, and no man followed Lilith.

“Why do they need one so big?” I asked her.

The portal finished, shimmering as it opened on the misty Shadows. It was large, easily ten or twelve feet tall and twenty feet wide. More than enough for a human to walk through. My stomach sank; that was tall enough for one of those statues to walk through.

“¡Mierda! They're fleeing!” She glanced at Sergeant Holland. “We need to attack right now! Before they get away!”

“Risky,” he answered. “We'd be exposed. There's not much in the way of cover between here and there.”

They're going to attack the Church! my subconscious screamed. You have to stop them!

“Wait!” I shouted, “They're going to use the statues to attack the ceremony! Master and Mistress are presenting Chase this morning!”

As I spoke, the front ranks of statues lurched to life, and then more and more ranks. Like a wave rippling through a pond, the roughly shaped, clay figures started moving. A blonde woman was at the portal. She walked through, and a group of ten statues followed her into the Shadows.

“I want the drone to drop its hellfire missiles right on the mass of Warlocks!” I shouted at the Sergeant.

“Yes, ma'am!” he grabbed his field radio, and started relaying his orders.

Desiree grabbed her radio, “Snipers, take out their sentries! All other units prepare to assault the compound!”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Noel Heinrich

The portal sprang to life as Ben and Jarvis finished drawing their circle, the gray mists of the Shadows pressing against the portal's plane like smoke against a glass window. Ben and Jarvis climbed down their ladders; the portal had to be carved large enough for the golems to fit. Nodding in satisfaction, I turned to survey the field of golems, all roughly shaped from the red clay we had dug out of a nearby hill. Each was hulking, standing ten feet tall, and broad shouldered, but only had the vaguest resemblance to a human, like they were merely cut-outs in the shape of a human without any of the fine details: eyes, nose, muscle definition, hair, lips, bellybutton. They stood motionless, waiting for a Warlock to activate them. We had a hundred and thirty. Ten for each of us.

I took a deep breath, and yelled the golem's activation order, “Met!”

The first ten shook and came to life. Wyatt shouted the order, then Jarvis, Ben, Gus, Marrisa, and the rest. Row after row of the hulks came to life, their bodies creaking as they began to move. Hebrew letters appeared on their foreheads, blazing scarlet. They spelled a single word—death. They would reek havoc in the church, killing anyone who got between them and their target. They would not stop, they would not tire, they would only kill. Even if we were struck down, they would keep killing. And Mark, wanting to prove how great and mighty he was, would throw himself into the fray. I smiled; he'd be overwhelmed.

Drawing Annihilation, I stepped through the portal. With booming footsteps, the ten golems under my command followed me through the portal. I peered around the mists, keeping a wary eye for Mark's ghosts. I didn't see any. But you couldn't see far through the fog. I glanced behind me, watching my golems stump through the portal. Wyatt and the other Patriots waited for their turn, standing in a group by the portal.

They all looked uncomfortable, nervous, talking to each other or smoking a cigarette. Arms folded, tension in their eyes. And guilt. Wyatt looked at the ground, his shoulders slumped. None of them liked my plan, but we had run out of options. Mark was too powerful, and we were being hunted down like dogs. There was—

Fire engulfed my compatriots. Red and orange erupted in the blink of an eye, boiling with fury. A rapidly expanding cloud of flames and smoke consumed them, then ripped through the ranks of the golems like a combine through a wheat field, battering their bodies into chunks of red clay. Then the shock wave slammed into me.

The fog spun about me as I was thrown by the force of the explosion; Annihilation flew from my hand. I tumbled through gray mist, struggling to comprehend what had happened as I was tossed like a piece of debris in a hurricane. I landed on my arm; there was a sickening crunch, and pain roared through me. I rolled across the ground, and came to a rest next to the black blade. It had landed point down, sunk to the hilt into the gray rocks.

What just happened?

I lay dazed, my ears ringing. My thoughts were scattered, and my mind groggy. The image of Wyatt and the other Patriots waiting for their turn to enter was burned into my mind. They had been standing together talking or smoking a cigarette, waiting for their turn to lead their golems through the portal, when—my thoughts froze.

They were all dead: Davin, Jarvis, Marrisa, Nyree, Kilie, Ben, Alec, Gus. I was the last one left.

I felt numb—too stunned for grief. Mark had found us, and sent some sort of air strike. I should be dead, too. I had barely entered the Shadows when it happened. My body shook; I missed death by mere seconds. The weight of what just happened fell on me, crushing my soul. I was the only one left.

It fell on me to save the world. That weight almost crushed me.

“I'll see you dead, Mark!” I screamed into the shadows. “You'll pay for every innocent life you destroyed!”

I sat up, trying to ignore the pain of my broken left arm. I glanced once at it, and almost threw up. It was twisted; a splinter of white bone jutted bloody out the side. I grasped Annihilation with my good arm, and struggled to my feet. Surrounding me stood my golems, patiently waiting for their orders. Two were destroyed in the blast, and another had lost an arm.

I was the last Patriot! I would see Mark Glassner dead even if it cost me my life! Gritting my teeth, I led my golems through the mists.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Alison de la Fuente

The hellfire missile struck at the center of the mass of Warlocks, consuming them in red flames and black smoke. The shock wave was so powerful I could see it rippling through the air, collapsing the side of a barn, blowing out the windows of the ranch house, and blasting the animated statues into huge chunks of red clay, which flew in every direction and crashed down across the Montana countryside.

The second missile was overkill, striking just feet from the first and collapsing the rest of the barn. A few seconds later, the booms slammed into our position on the knoll. The shock wave struck me, and I felt like I had just jumped face first into a pool of water. My hair whipped about my head, and my ears protested the sudden pressure change. The Patriot's three sentries only had to time to gape at the missiles' devastation before they fell dead to our snipers' fire.

“Good kill,” Sergeant Holland radioed to the drone operators back in Langley, Virginia.

“Maybe one got away,” Desiree mused as she scanned the wreckage with her auraculars. “That blonde woman was through the portal when the missiles struck. I don't know if explosions can pass through a portal or not.”

“Um, are those statues still moving?” I asked. Maybe twenty of them, the ones farthest from the portal, were still standing. It looked like they were turning around, walking towards us with a slow, unstoppable gait. “I think they're coming for us.”

“Send another missile down,” Desiree ordered. “Wipe them out.”

“The drone only carried two Hellfire missiles,” Sergeant Holland answered.

The snipers opened fire, their bullets sending up puffs of red dust, pitting the surface of the claymen. They may as well have been firing BB guns for all the good their shots did. When the lead hulk reached the barbwire fence surrounding the ranch, it just walked through it, the barbwire tangling uselessly about its legs.

Sergeant Holland whistled and waved at our men waiting at the base of the knoll.

The soldiers scrambled up the hill almost as agile as mountain goats. Two had one-shot missile launchers called LAWs, small tubes that they quickly deployed. They aimed and squeezed their triggers. With a hissing whoosh, the rocket motors ignited and they streaked down the hill in a shower of sparks, and struck home, exploding against the chests of the first two clay men. Clouds of black smoke billowed away, revealing gaping holes blown into their chests. The first fell apart after taking one step, but the second somehow kept coming, enough of its mass left to sustain it. Despite the fact that I could see through the damned thing, the clay man kept plodding closer and closer.

“Set out Claymores,” Sergeant Holland shouted. Three soldiers slid down the knoll and started sticking Claymore antipersonal mines into the ground; small, olive-green rectangles, slightly concave, and stuck into the ground on small legs made of wire. They were powerful, filled with high-explosives and ball bearings, the charges shaped to spray a concentrated area with maiming death.

“Call Sam,” Desiree shouted at me. “We need to know how to kill these things.”

I pulled my satphone out of my pocket, looked up Sam's number in the directory, and called her. It took a moment for the phone to connect to the satellite and another ten seconds before it started ringing. And it rang and rang as the clay men drew closer and closer. They were deceptively fast; while their gait was slow, their stride was very long, and they were already approaching the base of the knoll.

“Pick up, pick up!” I snarled at the phone in frustration.

A boom shook the air as the first claymore detonated, finishing off the second golem and spraying the third one with shrapnel, shearing off its arm; it didn't seem to care. The soldiers opened fire, muzzles flashing, and my ears were assaulted with cracking gunshots. The golems were sprayed with automatic fire, chunks of mud flaking off them, and gouges and pockmarks began to litter their bodies. They still kept coming, the soldier's bullets too small to hurt something that large made of hard-packed clay.

“How many claymores did you set out?” Desiree asked.

“Three,” Sergeant Holland answered. “All we had.”

“¡Mierda!”

We were in trouble. The satphone just rang and rang.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Noel Heinrich

“Ignore the pain, Noel,” I whispered, my voice hoarse. “Just ignore the pain. Mark Glassner must die for all the atrocities committed in his name, and his callous enslavement of the world. All humans deserve to be free, and to ensure that freedom it sometimes means spilling blood. Your enemies' blood and your own. For generations, men and women have laid down their lives at the altar of Liberty, and today it's your turn. So keep walking, Noel.”

I stumbled through the Shadows in a haze of pain, my golems lumbering along beside me. I knew my destination, picturing the church in downtown Puyallup, and let instincts guide me. That's how you moved around in the Shadows—instincts. What would be a twelve hour trip in the real world, would take me maybe thirty minutes of trudging through the never-ending mist.

I tried to shove down the pain of my broken arm. I bound it to my chest with my torn shirt. All I wore now were my pants and my bulletproof vest, my 9mm service pistol holstered at my waist, a bronze dagger tucked into my belt, and Annihilation, the sword of negation, clutched in my good hand. I held the vile thing in a death grip; the price I paid was far too high for me to lose this blade.

I just kept putting one foot in front of the other, just one more step, over and over. Righteous anger fueled me—and guilt. The innocent girl's face swam in my mind, pleading. I tightened my grip on the sword, trying to forget that memory. I never could.

The Tyrants had to die! Their tyranny could not be allowed to run unchecked. I would stop them no matter the cost to my soul! I just needed to keep putting one foot before the other. Step after pain-filled step. Time seemed to lose all meaning in the Shadows, and distance was only a thing remembered from the real world. Here everything looked the same. Gray ground, gray fog.

“Hello, Noel,” a soft voice whispered out of the mists.

She stepped out before me, blonde and beautiful, a sad smile on her lips. A terrible ache grew in my heart as I stared at the spirit, and for a moment my resolve slipped and those memories I had carefully bottled threatened to rush back; I tightened the lid, and reclaimed my resolve. Nothing was going to stop me, not after all I had done to reach this point. After I had killed—

The girl's innocent face filled my mind again. Her face was never far, frozen in that awful moment. Her eyes had bulged as her fingers had clawed ineffectually at the garrote. Guilt racked my soul; I could not let her death be in vain! Her death had to mean something! Otherwise I had murdered her for nothing, and that would mean I was nothing more than a—

I pushed the guilt away; I was a Patriot. I did what was necessary to defeat the Tyrants. I gripped Annihilation, raising the hole-in-reality up, and leveled it at the spirit before me. I had to finish this! I had to kill Mark! No matter the cost!

Even if that meant condemning Chasity to oblivion.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Alison de la Fuente

“Pick up, pick up!” I screamed at the satphone. “Pick up you stupid...”

“Hello?”

“Candy, put Sam on right goddamn now!”

“We're in the middle of something important,” Candy said brusquely. “We've found something here at Qumran, call back...”

“Put her on right the fuck now!” I screamed. “It's life or death! We're under fucking attack!”

“Fine, Alison,” Candy sighed. “You don't need to be so melodramatic.” She paused, then asked, “Are you setting off fireworks?”

“Those are guns, you stupid cow!”

“Stupid cow?” she muttered angrily. “I should just hang up right now!”

“I'm sorry,” I said through gritted teeth. I wanted to reach through the damned satphone and wring the stupid cow's throat. A boom rocked me, the second claymore detonated, blowing the legs off a golem. It fell to the ground in a cloud of red dust, then flailed on the ground with its arms, before finding purchase, and started dragging itself up the knoll. Great. “Now put Sam on before we die you stupid fucking cow!” I snarled, so angry my words almost ran together.

Candy snorted, and she spoke to someone. There was more rustling, then Sam answered, “Hey, Alison, what's so important?”

“We're being attacked by clay men,” I told her with relief. “The Patriots created them.”

“Claymen?” Sam frowned. “I'm not sure I've heard of that.”

My stomach sank. “Really? Only heavy explosives seem to do anything to them. And we're running out of those.”

“Hmm, describe them in detail.”

“They're tall, maybe ten feet, and made of red clay. They don't feel pain or anything. They're like animated statues, and we've already killed the Warlocks who activated them, and now they're attacking us.”

“Interesting,” Sam murmured.

“It's really not! These things are practically unstoppable!”

“They sound like golems,” Sam said. “It's a Jewish legend. Supposedly they'll obey any command that their Warlock gives them. Is there anything written on the golems' foreheads?”

I peered through the auraculars at the nearest golem's forehead. There was something there: three Hebrew letters. It was hard to make out which three as the golem lumbered forward. “Yeah, a three-letter Jewish word.”

“That would be met, I believe,” Sam answered. “It means death in Hebrew. Without a Warlock to guide them, it will just kill the nearest humans until it is deactivated.”

“So how do we deactivate them? Outside of brute force?”

“Oh, destroy the word on their forehead,” Sam explained. “That's probably what actually stopped them. The blast probably disrup...”

I hung up—I didn't have time for one of Sam's long-winded explanations—and screamed, “Shoot for the forehead!”

“Yes, ma'am!” Sergeant Holland shouted back, ejecting the magazine smoothly from his weapon and jamming in the next one, and started firing.

Bullets began peppering the golems' faces. The damned things were so close, so I drew my Colt .45, and aimed the pistol at the nearest one's face. My hand shook with adrenaline as I unloaded the clip; I missed with every shot.

“Shit,” I muttered.

I ejected the clip, fumbling with the replacement magazine. The first golem collapsed in a heap of red rubble from the soldiers' fire, then a second and third. It was working! We could do this! I slammed the magazine into my pistol, released the slide, took a deep breath, aimed carefully. “You can do this, Alison,” I whispered, then fired, emptying my entire clip in two heartbeats.

And missed with every goddamn shot! I didn't even hit the fucking golem's giant torso! Dammit! The damned thing was almost as big as the side of a barn! And I did so well on the practice range. I ejected the magazine, my hands shaking violently. I tried to calm them down, breathing deeply. How were all these soldiers so calm? How could they face down unfeeling and unliving mounds of clay walking towards us like it was just another day at the office.

“We need to retreat!” Holland shouted. Half of the golems were destroyed, but the other ten were so close, about to summit the knoll.

“Fall back!” Desiree ordered. I didn't need to be told a second time.

Two of the soldiers, Millner and Vasquez, kept shooting, providing cover for our retreat, as the rest raced down the slope of the knoll. It was two miles to where we parked the vehicles. Two miles across broken ground and scrub bushes; we'd never outrun the golems. That didn't stop us from trying!

Fear spurred me as I ran down the hill, heedless to how dangerous it was. I didn't care that I might trip and fall and break my neck, I just knew that if those things caught me a broken neck would be the least of my problems. The hill was dotted with olive-green brush that ripped at my arms as I raced by, leaving stinging cuts I barely felt. I reached the bottom of the knoll, thrilled that I somehow didn't fall, and I put all my effort into running as fast as I possibly could. I wasn't going to die here, killed by some fucking golem!

I stepped in a jackrabbit's hole.

The damned thing was practically invisible, dug into a tuft of yellow grass. My ankle twisted; pain shot through me, white-hot. I fell forward with a loud gasp, landing hard on my hands and knees. I couldn't lie here, those things would tear me apart. I pushed back up, struggling to stand. I put weight on my hurt ankle; it folded up like a cheap chair. I cried out, clutching it, and collapsing onto my face again.

“Alison!” Desiree shouted, kneeling down next to me.

“I think I messed up,” I said, trying to grin through the pain—I failed.

“Come on,” she said, grabbing my arm.

Desiree put her arm under my shoulder, helping me up. She supported me, my arm wrapped around her shoulder. We struggled forward—I was reduced to hopping on my one good ankle. Behind us, I could hear thudding footsteps. I glanced back and saw six golems striding down the knoll after us, Millner's ruined body clutched in one of the golem's fists like a bloody, torn doll. Vasquez raced ahead of the advancing golems, running like the Devil himself was licking at his heels.

“Let's go!” Vasquez shouted, grabbing my other arm and, together, he and Desiree half-carried and half-dragged me away from the golems.

We didn't go fast. There wasn't much that I could do. I opened my mouth, prepared to tell my wife to leave me, but she shot me a warning glance that said everything: “I love you, and I am not leaving you behind to be torn apart.” So I struggled to use my one good foot, trying to push us forward as they carried me. The other soldiers quickly outdistanced us, and the golems kept advancing like a force of nature, uncaring, unfeeling, unmerciful.

Holland and the other soldiers reached a line of scrub, and turned to provide us covering fire. Another golem collapsed behind us, but those thudding footsteps grew closer and closer. Two more collapsed. A grenade sailed over our head, exploded, and I screamed in pain as something hot seared into my ass.

“Faster!” I urged, glancing behind me to see a golem only ten feet away, his arms outstretched. Christ, his hand was bigger than my head!

The gunfire was dwindling; the soldiers were running out of ammo. They drew their sidearms, carefully aiming, and opened fire at the golems. I could hear the bullets whistling as they flew right over our heads. I scrunched down, trying to hunker my head out of the soldiers' line of fire, and squeezed my eyes shut. I didn't want to see what killed me. Whether it was the golem's grasping hand or my own men's bullets, I didn't want to know.

See what your stupidity has done! my subconscious railed. You never should have left his side!

“I'm sorry, Masters,” I whispered; I didn't want to die. I wanted to be at Master's and Mistress's side forever with Desiree. “I'll wait for you with Chasity and the others. Yours forever.”

There was a groaning noise and a loud thud as something heavy crashed into the ground behind me. The gunfire stopped; the soldiers cheered, whopping and hollering with unabashed joy. I forced myself to open my eyes and look back. Strewn across the ground behind us were six piles of red clay, one just feet away, a small line of clay leading from that mass to just inches from me. The thing must have been just heartbeats from wrapping its strong hands about my neck and squeezing the life out of me.

Whoops of joy went up from the soldiers. I started shaking as Vasquez and Desiree set me down. We were alive. Energy surged through me, and I grabbed my wife and kissed her thoroughly on the lips. We were alive! She held me tight, trembling in my arms. We lived! We defeated the Patriots, stopped their attack, and survived! Desiree thrust her tongue into my mouth; my fingers stroked her neck and cheek, savoring her warmth, her life.

I was so happy! I didn't even feel the pain in my broken ankle.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Noel Heinrich

A battle raged around Chasity and myself, the other ghosts attacking my golems with silver swords. The golems would punch, but their blows were ineffectual against the ghosts, unable to hurt those who were already dead. But their damned, silver blades could hurt my golems, hacking and biting into the clay, and sending chucks flying off to be dissolved by the mist. One golem collapsed, enough clay missing from its legs for it to be able to stand.

None of that mattered as Chasity stood before me, a silver blade in her hand. “Out of the way, Chasity,” I growled. “I don't want to hurt you.”

“You can't hurt me,” Chasity answered.

I raised the black blade, the tear in reality, and Chasity's eyes fell nervously on it. “Don't be too sure, Chasity.”

“Watch out,” Karen called out. “That's Mishbath, the Blade of Annihilation.”

Chasity's eyes narrowed, but her resolve never wavered. “Turn back, Noel.”

“I can't,” I hissed. “He deserves to die, to have never even existed. I will set mankind free from his tyranny!”

“Please, Noel,” Chasity begged, “Don't make me kill you. Remember that night we shared, the passion?”

“I remember that you threw your life away protecting them the next morning!” I screamed. “They made you their slave and forced you to sacrifice your life. Just like all the other ghosts here! They are monsters, Chasity! Now step aside, or I will deliver oblivion to you!”

“Mark's the monster?” Chasity asked, eyeing the blade with disgust.

Purple face. Bulging eyes. Hands scrabbling at the garrote.

I pushed the guilt down. “He's enslaving the world, he needs to be stopped, Chasity.”

“He's making it a better place,” Chasity retorted.

“Of course you think that. You're still his slave!”

“I am,” Chasity asserted, voice full of pride, “and that's why I can't stand down. He's my Master.”

“And you threw your life away for him!”

“No!” There was anger in Chasity's voice. “My death was not in vain! He learned compassion! He stopped seeing us as merely things, but as humans with hearts. That's why he set you free! He felt guilty for what happened to me. He learned compassion from my death. He's just human, he's made mistakes!”

“He's a beast, a monster. He unleashed Lilith, and look at all the harm she's caused!”

“Lilith tricked him!” Disgust curled Chasity's lip, her eyes flickering to the abomination cluched in my hand. “You summoned Ashtoreth, and you call him a monster? He's never murdered anyone! I know what you had to pay for that blade! Whom did you strangle?”

Bulging eyes and a purple face starring up at me.

“I did what I had to!” I spat.

“The excuse of a tyrant.”

“I am a Patriot!” I shouted, rage screaming from my lips, and I swung the blade at her face. The mists parted before the blade, snapping back like a taut string severed; the fog screamed in my mind as oblivion claimed a small portion of it. Chasity raised her silver sword, and negative black struck shining silver, locking together with a sickening screech that vibrated my bones. I drew back and hammered another blow at her; she parried. Again and again I slammed Annihilation at her; again and again she blocked my fury.

“Are you so eager for oblivion?” I snarled. “One slip-up and you're gone, Chasity! Just let me pass!”

“I will face oblivion for him,” Chasity resolved, her face fierce and beautiful, her voice full of passion. “He is my Master.”

I had tasted that passion before. Memories of that night—her last night alive—we had shared flashed through my mind. We had loved each other passionately; I had been consumed in ecstasy for this woman. The emotions I had beaten down into the depths of my soul after Chasity's death came rushing out, screaming in protest as I strove to drive my blade into her body.

“Please,” I begged, trying to bottle them up again, but they were like a gas hissing into the atmosphere, impossible to rebottle. “Please don't make me do this.” I could feel the tears rolling down my cheek.

“Then stop! Walk away.” Her sapphire eyes softened. “I think I loved you that night. Maybe, if I hadn't died, we could have been something more.”

Her words slapped me, and I stumbled back. No! Be strong! Liberty has its price! Blood must be shed, even if it's the blood of your friend, your lover. With an animalistic scream, I leapt at her. Annihilation swung through the mist, the fog crying out in pain as the blackest blade cleaved through the vapors towards Chasity's body. For just the merest moment, profound grief and regret flashed across Chasity's face, then iron-hard resolve glinted in her sapphire eyes; her sword stabbed forward.

It didn't hurt as her blade slipped between my ribs.

Annihilation fell from my suddenly useless hands before the abominable sword could connect with Chasity. For a moment I stood there, impaled upon the silver blade, staring into Chasity's ice-blue eyes. Her face broke, twisting into sadness. She reached out with a trembling hand to me, but my legs buckled and became useless; I slid backwards off her blade, landing on the ground with a grunt. I stared up at the never-ending mist as my lifeblood spilled out, staining the gray ground red. I shivered, a numbing cold spreading through my limbs. Chasity stood over me, tears running like silver rivulets down her cheeks, and bent down and picked up the terrible blade.

“Do it,” I whispered, the guilt consuming my soul. I had murdered that girl for the blade. She had been so full of life, and I was only full of death. “Send me to oblivion.”

She swung the sword at my head.

Only it missed, burying in the gray ground just above the crown of my head. Something inside me snapped, the chain wrapped around my soul—my slave chain—was severed, setting me free from bondage to Lucifer. Free from his torment, but not free from my punishment.

“I don't deserve this,” I sobbed as Chasity knelt down next to me, grasping my hand. A rough, wet cough rattled out of my throat; copper filled my mouth. “She was an innocent.”

Chasity stroked my face, bent down, and kissed me on the lips. When she pulled away, they were stained red. “We all make mistakes, Noel. Some are just worse than others.”

“I'm scared,” I whimpered. The cold was spreading through my torso; my vision shrank, leaving only Chasity's beautiful face. “Don't let me go.”

“I won't,” she whispered.

“I'm so sorry, Roxy,” I cried out. That was her name. Roxy. She had run away from home; from one horrible adult to an even worse one. She had wanted to be an actress, going to Hollywood would be her big break. I stole that from her for something as meaningless as vengeance.

My eyes closed; regret filled me. That was living, regretting all the hurts you heaped on your friends, your family, on strangers; regretting all the missed opportunities—chances to have fun, to take risks, to experience love and companionship. What was the point in living if you never actually lived. I had let the anger and rage at Mark consume me, burning out all the good parts of my soul and leaving behind only ashes. Regret.

My heart slowed. All feeling faded away from me, the clammy mist upon my face, the rough ground beneath my back, the shuddering pain in my torso. Every sensation was bleeding from my body except one single hand gripping mine, full of love and forgiveness. I clutched at that hand as I hung over the precipice of death. I didn't want to be alone and full of regrets. I wanted love. I wanted Chasity.

My heart stopped beating.

My soul fell into the darkness; I held on to Chasity's hand with a death grip, unwilling to let go. I was like a woman hanging from a cliff mere moments from plummeting to her death. Her only hope is a strand of flimsy grass. So she clutches it, knowing the blades are too weak to support her weight, but not caring because she so desperately wants to live that she'll do anything, no matter how impotent, to survive. I didn't want to plummet off my cliff, so I clutched Chasity's hand with all my strength—my blade of grass—and hoped for a miracle.

Sometimes miracles can happen.

I opened my eyes; Chasity's face shone above me. I sat up, leaving my physical body behind; the mist assaulted my corpse, dissolving it like styrofoam in nail polish remover. Joy surged through me—I wasn't going to be alone! I hugged her, and kissed her on the lips, warm and wonderful. Her arms wrapped around me, holding me tight, and her lips kissed down my cheek to my ear.

“I didn't let go,” she whispered. “You're one of us now. Somehow your soul is tied to mine.”

“I chose love,” I answered, caressing her cheek. “I didn't want any more regrets.”

To be continued...
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