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Time, both angel and demon, slowly creeps to a standstill. I watch, horrified, as the accursed dagger, moonlight glinting off its silver surface, leaves the merciless assassin’s skilled hands as he darts nimbly away. The weapon is hurtling from between the trees, through the air, slicing its way towards her. She is too shocked to react, too stunned to step away and save herself. Something snaps in me, adrenaline burning in crackling flames, coursing swiftly through my veins. I step in front of her, my body acting as her shield. My hands force her roughly but gently to the side, away from the oncoming blade whistling through the air. And something embeds itself into my flesh, firmly lodging itself deep within me. Dazed, I stare down at the dagger hilt protruding from my stomach, at the red streaks staining my tunic like deadly crimson flowers, not believing what I am seeing. Oddly enough, there is no pain coming from the wound, severe as it is. Vaguely, sleepily, like I am in a dream, I feel myself stumble back from the impact of the blade, and then I am falling.
Through the blanket of haze, I clearly see her reaching out to me as if she can stop my fall; stop my life seeping out of me. I land with a muffled thump on the earth, the spongy loam cushioning my fall like a giant pillow, moonbeams illuminating my frame like faint candlelight. Her slender form kneels swiftly by my side, bowing over me, her long silken brown hair flowing down in waves, framing her pretty face. Tears cascade down her cheeks in small shimmering rivers and splash onto my bloody tunic. Those tears merely make her all the more beautiful, adding to her ethereal, incomparable beauty, her face glistening in the starlight. Oh, how I wish I had worked up the courage to say I love you long, long before this.
It is too late now, yet there is still a chance, still some hope. I open my lips to divulge to her my deepest secret, but nothing comes out except for a bloody cough, the ultimate sign that I am dying.
“No,” she whispers in her musical voice, soothing as a murmuring stream, that I know so well. “No. Don’t go. Please don’t leave me all alone like this. You can fight this; you’re strong enough to.”
But I must go. I cannot fight. I am not strong enough to. In my fading heart, I know that she understands the dagger will be my death.
My hand twitches feebly at my side, already losing its life. How I want to reach up and gently wipe the tears away from her striking face like a caring mother does to her child, to tell her that I love her. To tell her I am sorry for leaving her. To tell her that we will meet again. But I am simply too weak. I smile faintly, so feebly, like a golden sunray that cannot break a cloak of gray clouds. “I… I…” That is as far as I can get before a series of guttural coughs racks my body, blood flecking my lips.
I expect her to sob even harder, but instead she stops abruptly. Her soft blue eyes lock fiercely with mine, determination unmistakably shining in the dancing depths of those divine deep blue pools. She bends over my head. All I can see is her face, the tearstains still clearly visible. The only person I would ever live for, the only person I would ever die for— the love of my life just inches away, yet I have so little strength left. Barely enough to even move my lips, not even enough to impart that I love her, not even enough to stroke her auburn hair soothingly.
She smiles sadly down at me. “I wish we had had more time,” she whispers sorrowfully, so quietly I can hardly hear her. And then in a tone of steel, hard and tough as the blade stealing my life, she declares, “I… I love you.” Before I have time to react, she leans down and kisses me full on the mouth. Almost as if her kiss has transferred energy from her vivacious body to my dying one, I muster just enough vigor to kiss her back with all of the love and passion I have sealed up in my heart for years, with all of the love in the world. She must taste the tart crimson lifeblood in my mouth and on my lips, yet she does not stop herself or me. I yearn that this had happened earlier, that we could have had more time to bond. When she breaks the kiss at last, it is for air, to breathe. Her slim hand clutches my wiry one tightly, like a lifeline. She gazes down at me warmly, her lips stained red as a rose from my blood.
Though I can feel the strength slowly but surely ebbing from me in small unstoppable waves, I manage to rasp out, “No… Please don’t stop… I love you too. Always have… since the day we met, always will, even after I go.” In answer, her lips lock desperately with mine, speaking without words, for the second and final time in my short life.
I smile against her lips, as joyful as a liberated person. Although I know I am dying, this is more than I would have ever asked for, to have my secret love finally know that I love her, and to know that she shares my passion. I know that I will die, that nothing can stop the dark hand of death, for it is now as inevitable as the sun setting and the moon rising. I accept that. Still, I regret causing her so much pain, leaving her to fend for herself in this harsh, brutal world of violence and bloodshed and death.
My final wish is not for me, but for her. I hope that she will be happy and safe after I depart from her, depart from this cruel land. But I feel, deep in my bones, that my wish is in vain, that it is utterly futile. Brief as it is, the two of us are tied together by the bond of true love. A bond that can last until the end of time, enduring even death, for it is harder than a diamond, tighter than the tightest knot, and completely impossible to destroy. I know that after my spirit flies away, she will not have the willpower to endure the pain. She will take her own life, so she can fly high and run free in the clouds with me. So instead, I can only hope it will not be too painful, not hurt her more than the pain I am causing her now. She is such a pretty little thing, the kindest, most compassionate, most thoughtful person I have ever met; she has done nothing to deserve this…
But now… I am tired, oh so weary. I murmur her name once, softly, lovingly, merely to have the melodious sound of it lingering on my lips.
And then the last thing I ever smell is her floral scent, flowery as a blossom-filled spring meadow, fresh as the caressing breeze after it rains. The last thing I ever taste is her sweet breath, sweet as ripe summer berries, mingling with my metallic blood. The last thing I ever see are her soft blue eyes, blue as the crystal clear aquamarine ocean, brimming with tears and an excruciating, bitter hardness. The last thing I ever feel are her gentle lips melding to mine, the tears springing from her eyes and running onto my face as she starts crying again; her hand still grasping mine with all her strength. The last thing I ever hear is the wind softly whispering the mysteries of the living world amidst the leaves on the branches; her lips murmuring my name in despondency, worry, anguish, despair, and most of all, love.
“Thayne… Oh, Thayne…”
The last she will ever know of me is my mouth curved up in a permanent smile against hers, my final breath leaving in an insubstantial wisp from my mouth to hers, her name still upon my lips.
My golden sun is sinking below the hazy, far-off horizon, its dying rays tingeing the sky. And creeping into its place, my silver moon emerges, perhaps for eternity. The blanket of night takes over, shadowing the remaining sunlight. However, for me, the sun will never set. It will always be shining, because of the strength and power of true love.
Inside me, my fire, once bright and inextinguishable as a star, is burning lower and lower; now mere glowing embers as the black fingers of death beckon to me. My eyes flutter weakly, inexorably drawing me closer to a slumber I will never awaken from. And then they close, for now and always and forever, never to open again as my remaining spark of life leaves my dying body and I soar away on my wings.