Tainted Memory

“Two years…,” I sighed.

“It wasn’t your fault.”

“It doesn‘t matter now. The winds have swept the grounds, the blood wiped away.” I murmured, lost in the delirium of memory.

Matteo eyed me with suspicion. “Don’t even consider it. It’s dangerous and it will kill you.”

“Maybe that’s what I want. To die, to leave this goddamn world behind. To get away.”

“We’ve talked about this before. It’s not an option; that would be negligence. I know your pain is great, but theirs is greater…. It’s what…” He gave brief but potent pause, “ he would have wanted.” The worlds stung like a whip, searing. The pain ignited my shoulder again, like the flames were once again licking the flesh away. I cringed, and Matteo rushed to me again.

“It’s nothing,” I breathed. I wasn’t one for drawing attention to myself, let alone the scars.

“Here, the wound, it’s just…” But he knew the words would be useless as soon as they escaped his lips; they hung in their air like a dreary sermon.

A fleeting shadow. Swift, drifting along the rafters of the vestibule. It was brief, but I could discern it clearly as it stalked along, a stain in the dark. Matteo must have seen my eyes grow wide or simply sensed my terror as he whirled around, his coattails flashing. I was already up off the wooden bench, knife drawn, adrenaline surging through my trembling body. Perhaps it was the howling wind of the storms outside, or a deep echo from the catacombs below, but I believe I heard a whisper, almost inaudible: Do you remember…?

The End

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