Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for language.
Author's Note: Rated "+16" due to the nature of this death, and the presence of one swear word. I thought it better to be safe than sorry.
Her stomach twisted in knots, the sound of a breath against her neck and the hiss of some reply she couldn't decipher filling her ears almost as loud as her own heartbeat. It was at that moment that she turned to the one thing she'd always shirked, the one thing her father always faulted her for; That initial last hope, that last glimmer of a chance to survive.
A higher power perhaps?
Though, even as the thought slid through her mind, she didn't know any real prayers, nothing outside one of the books she used to read. It should count...right? Ever wondered, her eyes drifting slowly closed as she exhaled a shaky breath. How did it start? She wasn't sure it mattered, that it'd help, but if her mother had been right about religion, about someone's immortal soul...then maybe, just maybe, this verse she'd seen would help with that.
Now I lay me down to sleep...
She felt it then, that bite. It didn't hurt for the first moment, his cool lips acting as a sort of numbing sensation. But with each drag, each pull of her blood slipping free of her body and into his, it burned a little brighter. Ached a bit stronger. Each suckle of his lips dug his fangs a bit deeper in, her breath growing shorter as she sought to keep the panic from overwhelming her.
So this...this is what it feels like...
...I pray the lord my soul to keep...
The thought had been a random one, slipped in almost the same time as the next part of her prayer, her heart's beating quickening as it tried to spread the lessening blood to her limbs. In all the books she'd read, and the few movies she'd seen, she'd always wondered what it'd feel like to be bitten, to be drunk from. But this...this wasn't as she thought it'd be. It hurt more, ached more, each breath hurting more than the last as her muscles tried to work despite the deprivation they were now met with.
If I should die...before I...wake...
Yet, the longer it happened, the more tired she grew, the ache becoming more of a dull white noise accompanied by a sluggish inner monologue. The hand that had found its way to his, once seeking to pull it free of her mouth, was instead halfheartedly clinging, her grip growing weaker and weaker as a darkness set in.
To her, it was to better her ability to stand, to hold herself up, not to lean so completely into him as she drew her last breaths. Subconsciously, it was a desire to cling to the life she'd not yet lived, to cling to all the things she'd lose upon her death, and to, somehow, impart something...some silent hope...something to save herself. To keep herself alive, despite the darkness closing in around her mind.
By this time, she was again, detached, viewing the scene from above, watching her body letting go as did her consciousness. Her hand slipped free of his as her knees began to buckle. Her head lulled into his touch as her skin grew more taut. Somewhere, she swore she heard the distinct sound of "Lacrimosa" drifting on the wind, as though to mock her where she stood, dying, in the arms of a monster.
At that time, all manner of consciousness slipped, her feeble grasp of it, severing as her mind plunged into an inescapable darkness. She was too tired to fight it, to continue to fight after what felt like an eternity in his embrace. There was no drive, no will, no strength to begin to stave off death's chilly embrace as all went quiet.
For a split second, her heart pumping erratically, she swore she saw her life flash before her eyes. The life she could have lived, should have lived, and didn't. All the things she could have done and the people she could have connected with...Only to be replaced with its sad reality, all ending with Wolf's steely eyes holding hers, the last thing she'd ever see, the last though she'd ever feel in the form of his lips on her neck, of his hands holding her up.
A distorted, lonely reality brought to an end in the arms of a stranger. An all consuming darkness wrapped her in its cold embrace, her mind quieting, all sound echoing as it took longer to register, everything eventually going unnoticed as she drew what she thought would be her last breath.
- - - -
When someone dies, what happens? Does their soul release into whatever afterlife they believe in? Does it walk the earth, doomed to repeat its last moments, an imprint of its death? Do they simply cease to exist, their bodies decaying beneath feet of dirt, until no semblance of them remains, their name disappearing from the lips of those who knew them, their memory fading as fast as their body decays?
For Ever, death was relatively painless.
While her heart had sputtered to a grinding halt, the worst of it she'd been unconscious for. She'd been spared the agony of trying to breathe when all you want to do is sleep, when your mind is telling you to let go, but your heart is trying to do what it's programmed to. She'd died, her heart crawling to a stop, her breaths stopping with it, body lifeless to the unsuspecting onlooker.
In a perfect world, her soul would have gone somewhere else, would have left Harper Rock behind, would have silenced its worries and enjoyed what she knew to be eternity. In her life, she'd been uncertain if Heaven or Hell existed, her father saying that, if a higher power existed, his job wouldn't be needed; That praying to some "unseen asshole" wouldn't save you from getting taken out by shrapnel, and dying on the spot. He'd told her to make her own luck, to be vigilant and headstrong. To live.
...Her luck took a turn for the worst that night, and she died...
...And heard Presto Agitato?
It was the sound of tinkling ivories--more aptly compared to skilled pounding, than tinkling--that caught her attention first. At some point, it seemed her body had remembered to breathe, the silent breaths confusing her. I'm...I'm alive? she wondered to herself, thoughts clearer than they'd been prior to what she last remembered. It...It was all a dream?
Though she didn't move, body still as the grave, a feeling of relief, something resembling some sick perversion of gratitude, washed over her. He spared me! I didn't die! I can't beli- Her thought cut off as a thought dawned on her, an eclipsing thought that took any happiness she'd previously held a moment ago, and taking away its life. ...My...My heart's...It's not...
It was ludicrous, insane, her mind instantly trying to push away such crazy thoughts. No, relax. Breathe, Ever. Focus on it. It's got to be there. You're thinking aren't you? You're just not focused, she cautioned herself. Focus. So, she focused, the sound of the piano's music filling her ears quieting as her mind shut it out, seeking out the one sound she'd never hear from herself again. She lay there for what felt like ages, listening to nothing but a thick silence where her erratic and panicked heartbeat should have been.
It can't be...
About then, her focus was shattered, screaming inside her own head, not even wanting to try and move. This must be purgatory! came an instant thought, anguish in her mental voice. I've died and gone straight to some hell! No sight! No sound! No movement! No not-!
Yet again, her thoughts stopped, though this time it was attributed to a sort of mental slap she gave herself as the silence she'd grown used to got more weighted, the hairs on her arms and neck standing up as she felt someone's eyes on her. Movement hit her next, feeling whoever it was getting closer, their steps, though quiet, pounding like drums in her ears. Anything she'd have tried to think of, in that moment, was muted, too focused on the presence moving closer to her, settling somewhere eerily close, and then the feel of icy fingers touching down on her cheek again.
The touch was familiar, one of the last moments she'd recalled prior...followed by a voice.
He knows? Ever thought, trying to pull herself together enough to test her limbs, to pull free of the veil of confusion she was currently hopelessly entangled in. How does he know I can hear him? This doesn't make...any...sense.
Unlike the thoughts before it, this one didn't halt suddenly, cut off abruptly to be replaced with more silence and frantic speculation. Instead, it ended, simply, quietly, curtly, as something that Marius had said came through. How he'd died. How he'd turned.
A finger twitched then, trying to keep her thoughts calm the longer she thought through them, almost wanting to say this was all a dream; A hopelessly intoxicated dream that she'd soon wake up from. Vaguely, she tried to remember how much liquor she'd actually had, another finger twitching as she tried to "follow his voice". Eyelids fluttering a bit next, they were slow to open, heavy, burning as though she were trying to force herself to awaken from a sleep that was gripping a little tighter than usual. Parting just a hair before blinking once more, her vision remained blurry, so she tried to blink them again, her head shaking the smallest bit side to side as though it'd help clear the cobwebs, as though it'd help make her vision clear.
That was what she first noticed when things were no longer blurry, no longer hazy, as though someone's lens focus needed to be tweaked. The piercing blue eyes she'd seen, that she'd felt boring into her soul before the fateful bite, were on her again, though...somewhere different. There was so much she wanted to say, to ask, to figure out, but her throat seemed to be burning, a burn she was only just beginning to notice the longer she let herself ween back into reality.
Or was it a dream?
"N-New...eyes...?" she questioned, a shaky hand reaching up to her forehead, trying to sooth an ache--a force of habit while human--before inevitably falling to her neck. "...You...I'm a...?" The words refused to finish coming out, her voice even sounding different to her and catching her off guard, but she figured the sentiment would be known, would be felt, would be understood.