I was the only person on the bridge when the distress call arrived...
The rain drenches me in seconds and I shiver incessantly, not from the cold, but from the pure rage that threatens to swallow me whole.
I hate storms.
CLANG. CLANG. CLANG.
One glance behind me confirms that the bells in the church tower dance in a panicked attempt to warn me of my folly. I steel my resolve, and turn my back on them as the thunder overhead renders their clatter indiscernible.
No matter how much I may wish to run the Gods have discovered our crime and there is nowhere left for me to hide.
A warning bolt of lightning strikes the stones less than a foot away. The heat blisters my skin immediately, but the wind suddenly changes direction and pushes a curtain of rain to my burns, soothing them.
Furious, I scream at the sky, “Haven’t you done enough, Reeve?”
The wind gushes around me unnaturally as if to shield me. My eyes glow in the darkness as the magic he gifted me turns their normally muddy color to gold as I resist him.
Thunder claps and lightning overtakes the sky in a brilliant flash of white.
Even with Reeve’s cyclone of wind and rain to keep the lightning at bay not even he can fully hide me from the monstrous figures that await within the clouds, and soaking wet as I am, somehow my mouth still finds the ability to go completely dry.
If I had ever doubted it before I know now for certain that the Priestesses are liars. These couldn’t be the same Gods they promised showed all their children mercy. These Gods didn’t look capable of love.
A hand grips my chin, and turns my gaze away from the terror above. Reeve’s golden eyes burn with a pathetic mess of fear and pain. “Caeli, please don’t do this.”
“You didn’t leave me any choice.”
“I can fix this. I can think of something, some trick they won’t see coming, or—”
“No.” I pull away from him as if he had been the one to burn me. “No more tricks and no more games. I want this to be over.”
“You’re a liar.”
“I did learn from the best.”
I expect him to recoil in the shame and guilt I see flash across his features, but he surprises me and latches onto my shoulders with a vice grip. His lips crash onto mine desperately as he tries to make me understand.
I hate the warmth that flows into me.
I absolutely detest the way his body fits against mine.
I loathe him with every fiber of my being.
But I still kiss him back, because he’s right, I’m a liar.
Another burst of lightning lands too close, and I yank away from him.
I have no more control over the tears that spring from my eyes than I do of the storm overhead.
“Stop! I said no more tricks!”
“This isn’t a trick, I lo—”
“Don’t. Don’t you dare lie to me again.”
Above us the sky flashes menacingly, and I sink to my knees in sobs as pieces of the bridge start to crumble into the flooding river below. He falls with me.
My eyes snap shut. Against the storm. Against the Gods. Against him.
I can feel the magic pounding inside my body, begging to be released, begging to fight, begging to live. But I can’t. I groan in physical pain as I hold it back.
He holds me close against him, cradling me as wave after wave of spasms wash through me.
“It doesn’t have to end like this.” Reeve’s voice cracks as he pleads with me.
“This was the ending you wrote for me the moment you walked into my life.” My breathing hitches in my chest. “From the moment you used me to get back at them you knew I was damned.” His golden tears burn my cheeks as they fall. “That makes you the cruelest of them all.”
The elements whip around us in a show of fury, and his eyes glow fiercely bright as he continues to shield me from his siblings vengeance. Still the wind tears the words from my throat, “And I will never forgive you.”
“I will never ask you to.”
Darkness wavers at the edge of my vision as the magic claws at me as, hell bent on its own self-preservation, it tries to fight its own way out.
My back arches as if an invisible cord tugs my chest towards the sky and I reach out for him instinctively as my vision goes. The taste of blood coats my mouth and I know it won’t be long.
“Enough!” His shout reverberates in my bones. “You can’t have her!”
The voice that answers him makes me writhe in agony. Each word like an icicle being shoved into my brain. “You played your game and you lost. Now you must face the cost.”
“I must. Not her.”
The world calms around us and the voice comes again, this time deadly quiet, but still just as piercing, “You jest, Brother.”
“It is no jest, Sister. These were your words.”
Her shriek rents the air and the storm crashes down around us once again tenfold stronger than before.
Reeve holds me close as warmth blooms throughout my body. The spasms continue, but no pain follows. For half a second I think perhaps I’ve finally died, but then Reeve’s arms slacken around me, and I pull back.
His eyes firmly shut, his body shakes uncontrollably. “Reeve?”
My hand cups his ashen cheek; it’s too cold.
He opens his eyes, and a sob tears through me. They are such a brilliant blue.
He tries to speak but he can’t form the words. My golden tears fall onto his cheeks, burning him.
“Shhh, it’s okay. I understand.” I kiss him softly, and hold on tightly as his body stops moving. I shudder as his eyes go blank and my heart breaks open. “I love you, too.”