Anna didn’t know how long she had been walking, time, space, and everything else seemed to have blurred at that point, but eventually she felt the rough grit of concrete beneath her feet. She was in a town. The streets were empty and it was so late that even the street lights were off; the only real light was the glow of the single traffic light. She was going to have to stop walking soon. The tops of her toes were scraped from where she had dragged her bare feet on sidewalk, but she really didn’t notice. She couldn’t seem to get out of her head; couldn’t seem to stop reliving the moment when she had first smelled the smoke, when she had run to her parents room to find them too still to just be asleep, when she had seen her sister sprawled face down halfway down the stairs. She was so immersed in these images so freshly and so deeply ingrained into her mind that she didn’t notice that there was someone standing in front of her until she ran into him.

Hitting another human body shocked her back into reality and she stepped back. She found that she was shaking; her nerves were on edge to say the least. Without thinking about her actions, she instinctively held her hands out in front of her. Her palms tingled for a split second and then her hands were engulfed with fire. She could feel the energy being sapped out of her. With the help of the streetlight and its pulsing green, yellow, red glow and the illumination of the fire. Anna could just make out the face of a man. Thick ringlets of blond curls hung around his too-good-looking face, his eyes were shadowed from Anna’s view by long eyelashes, and he had full, slightly feminine lips. He was entrancingly, stunningly beautiful. Weak and suddenly calm, Anna closed her hands and the fire vanished. She swayed a little bit, her head spinning.

“Hello, Anna.” His voice was warm.

Anna didn’t know who he was, or how he had known her name, but she instantly, inexplicably trusted the man.

“I’m tired.” The words were slurred and came without any conscious thought.

“I know.”

The man reached out and took Anna’s hand in his. His hands were large, warm, and surprisingly soft. Anna started to feel her knees give away. Right as she started to topple the man caught her, lifted her up, and as Anna started to slip into unconsciousness she realized that the man was walking as he carried her like a baby in his arms.

The End

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