But I could not say it. What right had I, Den O'Derron, to promise to do better, to appeal for forgiveness, when my one wish was for revenge and hatred? I didn't want love or promises. They would weigh me down on my journey. Then my lifelong goals would be lost on me. I could not commit to such a thing.

So I turned away. I turned my back on the cross, blotted my mind over the dying body on the wooden cross on the green hill. The colours drained of the sunset, became drab and miserable. The weight returned to my shoulders, and I realised what a burden my hatred was. What I would give to be free and loved. But I wouldn't give up my hatred. It was a duty to my sister's memory.

I turned my head towards the voice, and a few feet away on the grass was Deanna Macpherson, mourning clear in her eyes.

"Oh, Den." she murmured, and for a second an emotion I hadn't know existed almost overwhelmed me. I willed it to pass. And it did. The likes and minds of Deanna Macpherson could not influence me.

I got to my feet, glaring at her, and stalked to the crest of the hill. I placed my hand on the treetrunk, and leaned my whole weight against it, worn out by the feelings of the day.

My eyes strayed once more to the cross on the green hill. The body was gone, the hill was dark in the dying light, and the cross told of a tragic death on top of the hill.

The valley was chilly and dreary, and the plume of smoke from the farmhouse was black and cross. The hills were cold and forbidding.

Then my eyes searched for the spot on the grass where I had been sitting a moment before with Deanna Macpherson. The grass was not still flat so I could not find the exact spot; it would already be cold. Deanna had vanished.

It was all gone, the magic was gone. I had rejected it, and it was gone, disappeared forever. I might never find it again. Perhaps it was never there. I had lost my chance. And I didn't regret it. I couldn't regret it. Not if I really wanted the future of unrivalled hate I had chosen for myself.

And yet I couldn't forget the sorrow in Deanna's eyes as I turned away from what she offered me. I couldn't forget her dark eyes as I rejected her. As I rejected all that was everything to her.

I'm so tired and confused.

The End

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