Guilt

The warm stone beach patiently supported her as she let herself bake in the sun. She felt empty, as though all the color had been sucked out of her. She couldn’t remember why. She had come down to the beach to talk to someone, but now she couldn’t remember who. And there was nobody around that looked like they were waiting for her. In fact–there wasn’t anybody around at all. Whenever she went down to the stone beach she was the only one there. She’d always felt good about that before, as though the beach was her secret place where nobody would be able to find her. 

But now she wanted to talk to someone, she wanted to feel less empty. But she couldn’t convince her body to move. She tried–she felt like there was somewhere she needed to be–somewhere she wanted to be. But she couldn’t even remember what had been so important that she’d walked down to the beach. 

So as the sun set she just let herself lay helplessly on the stone beach. As the bright light of day faded the large glowing moon appeared overhead. The moon had a bright rainbow scar running across it’s middle as though someone had taken a magic paint brush and slapped the silvery moon with it.  

Has that always been there? She wondered. I don’t remember the moon being so colorful before.

It was quite pretty, as though some powerful god like artists hadn’t been content to work on a mundane canvas. That they had looked up at the moon and decided that their life wouldn’t have been worth living until they’d painted the moon.  

The sight of the rainbow moon filled her with just a little bit of energy. Just enough where she felt like she could get to her feet. So she used her arms to push herself up. She expected her muscles to protest, but she didn’t feel sore at all . Just a little slow–like she was swimming through slime.  

There was nothing else to do, so she slowly dragged herself off the beach and up the path into the temperate rainforest that bordered the seemingly endless sea. The cool air warned of a storm that was on the way. But it hardly seemed to matter to her. The tall moss covered pine trees made the forest floor cooler, and the amount of rain the area received ment there were streams and puddles scattered throughout the forest. 

She made her way back home–home. Home was a house built into one of the shorter fur trees. A little too big to be called a tree house, a little too small to be a single family home of any kind. A ladder ran up the tree so she could climb up and lay down into her bed, that sounded good.

I’m home, she thought as though someone important could read her mind. 

She slowly started to climb up the ladder–her whole body protested the effort. And her mind wasn’t in much of a mood to fight her body. But the thought of her warm bed gave her just enough energy to push down her feelings of exhaustion and keep climbing until she made it to the top. Until she was home. 

She pushed past the heavy wooden door, not even bothering to turn on the lights. There was no point, she knew where everything was by memory. Normally the house was well lit, due to a lot of open windows, but she’d pulled all the curtains before leaving, so the house was as dark as night.

She let herself fall into bed on her stomach. She didn’t even bother to roll over onto her back, she didn’t have the energy. She just fell asleep. 

Her dreams were filled with odd images. She saw a flying tower in the distance, a glacier, a bunch of odd monsters fighting. Mechanical spiders, and cats with bladed tails. She saw a large wolf made of dark shadows, moving around, taking large bites of people who screamed and ran in terror, even without their heads. She ignored everything, trying her best not to think about it. She wanted the world to pass her by–she wanted all the trouble to just let her be–it wasn’t her problem anyways. 

Then a bright light shined into her dream, and she squinted to keep the light from waking her up. But the more she tried to ignore it the brighter it got–until the light coalesced into a person. A woman, radiant, with sandy blonde hair, pale skin, and three pairs of rainbow colored wings sprouting out of her back as though humans with wings were the most natural thing in the world. She thought the women looked familiar, but she didn’t want to recognize her, so she didn’t.  

“What are you doing?” the angel asked sternly. “Nobodies going to come and save you, you have to get up and move.” 

“I don’t care,” she responded trying to walk past the angel–however–her legs stopped moving. No matter how hard she tried to walk past the angel, the dream wouldn’t let her. 

“You can’t run–I’ll always be there to find you,” the angel said, reaching down to grab her face. 

“No,” she said, slapping the angel’s hand away. “I’m not going to let you control me anymore. I’m done, done with all this guilt.”

“Guilt is all you have,” the angel said. “It drives you forward–it’s what let’s you do good in this world–it gives you purpose. Without it you’re nothing but an empty husk of a girl.” 

“I already am…” she took a deep breath before continuing. “They left us, they left us to live their own lives–so they wouldn’t be held back by our pathetic unending guilt. I make everyone I touch miserable–even myself.”

The angel’s calm face twisted into surprise. Like she was an actress who’s co-star had just gone off script. Forced to reach into the back of her mind to mentally check the script and see if she’d missed something. The angel hesitated–she didn’t seem to know for sure. 

“You’ve held on for so long,” she said looking up at the angel. “Why? There’s nothing left–nothing left for you to do or say–nobody left for you to save. Nobody left for you to be. They took every part of you with them when they left. And yet–you won’t die.”

The surprise on the angel’s face was replaced with panic–she was starting to understand. Understand what was happening–she was losing control. She’d spent all of her remaining energy on trying to hold onto something she’d already lost. She’d just delayed the inevitable. 

The dream twisted around her, and her fingers curled around something cold and made of metal. A sword–formed from shadows–the same shadows the dream was made out of. The angel noticed the sword and started to step away from her. But her legs were working again, so she stepped forward, and with one single thrust, stabbed the angel through the heart. 

“But I…” the angel choked on her last words. “Just wanted to…” And then the angel fell over and died. Her rainbow colored wings burned up in shadowy fire.

“You wanted to keep using me,” she said, letting the sword drop out of her hand. “But I’m not you anymore.”   

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