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The whole world was on fire. So it seemed to Cassandra, at least. Anywhere she looked, flames took over the air. They climbed the walls, swallowed the bar, tables and chairs. The club became a burning h*ll from which there was no way out, no chance to escape.
The inside of Cassandra's nose and throat burned as the smoke made a cage around her, trapping her inside. Her lungs filled with smoke and she coughed, which only resulted with pain. She had searched the whole club, inch by inch, using her hands, nose and ears, but she found no one. It was comforting, though, the fact that they escaped and were safe now. She couldn't bear another loss.
Tears of frustration poured down her face as she screamed for help. Tried to scream, actually. The screams were soon silenced as even more smoke penetrated into her throat.
Finally, she gave up, falling on her hands and knees. This is it, she thought.
Somewhere far away sirens wailed, ripping through the quiet and peaceful night.
The feel of someone's hands lifting her up awoke her from dizziness, yellow and red flowers still blossoming in front of her eyelids.
„Hang on“, someone said. The voice was familiar. Maybe she had just imagined it, but it was the same voice she had spent months and months forgetting, suppressing out of her memories. It can't be, she thought trough the haze.
A rush of air flew past her, and her eyes shot open. The ground was hard and cold under her and she clenched her fingers around something. Gravel. It was a pleasant surprise being able to breathe fresh air again. It brought her strange joy. But, something else bothered her. How did she get here? She doubted she had passed out for so long that someone carried her outside. It seemed like she was inside one second, outside the other.
She grabbed a fistful of stones and let them slip through her fingers. A flapping noise came from her left and she jerked her head to the side. A person was standing there, hidden in shadows. She couldn't see his face, but judging by his built, it was a man. The one who saved her. She hauled herself up, supporting her body with her elbows.
„Do I know you?“, she croaked and frowned at how broken her voice sounded.
The man took a step forward, then another one, gradually coming out from the shadows. Only, it wasn't a man after all. He was younger, with blonde curls that fell over his forehead and unusual gracefulness when he walked.
Cassandra gasped when she recognized his face.
“Matt”, she breathed.
She met him seven years ago, he was twelve – one year older than her, and saved her from class bullies. They became best friends right away, and five years later, a couple. It had been the best year in her life.
Until he left and broke her heart. But no, he didn’t leave town, or cheated on her.
He died in a car accident, taking half of her heart and soul with him.
And now, he was standing in front of her.
“Cassie”, he nodded in acknowledge. For one moment, which seemed like a lifetime, neither of them spoke. There was no other sound, too, except her raising to her feet.
Then they both moved in the same time, like there was a cord between, pulling them together.
She fell into his embrace, not asking any questions. There would be time. And she was sure she couldn’t take anything else tonight, so she just enjoyed the time with him, soaking in the warmth of his body.
Still, the urge to know the truth won her inner battle, and she asked it. “Where have you been? The crash…”
She was re-living it all over again, remembering the sorrow and grief, the moment she saw his car on the news, the sickness that followed.
Matt stroked her hair when she started sobbing.
“I’ve been…away. Someplace far away. It’s so beautiful, you can’t even begin to imagine. There is no sadness there, no darkness. Only light. You will love it.”
Cassandra sighed and glanced in his ocean-blue eyes. They flickered once and Matt held her tighter. He kissed her, and she was so happy then that a tear rolled down her cheek.
She was complete again.
Lost in the embrace, she almost didn’t see when his wings spread from his back, wrapping around her.