Only One Life

Only One Life

Shadows of the Heart

A half-shrouded moon glared balefully into the opened window. The house had been defaced: the door twisted and hanging from its hinges, the windows smashed, and the furniture overturned. Everything was destroyed. Remnants of wood and fabric littered the floor along with dark streaks of blood. Something terrible happened here.

Pain was evident the instant my mind snapped back into reality. I groaned, tasting dried blood on my lips, the blood that had no doubt tainted my blood. Moving became a struggle as the pain tightened inside my limbs. Tiny cascades of tremors rippled throughout my body. I gasped, tears stinging my eyes. But it didn't stop there. It intensified until there was nothing I could do but vomit it up. Stars burst before my vision, scattering into brilliant shades of red and purple. I blinked through it, trying to refocus my vision, and nearly screamed. On the floor across from me lay a raven-haired elf... my mother. Her body was mangled and twisted. A bloody mockery of what it should have been. I turned away, choking on my sorrow.

“No.” My voice shook with tears. Not like this. I couldn't go down like this! I had never been alone before. It just didn't seem natural. I was scared, hurt, and lonely... I wanted my mother, and I wanted her now!

Her body might have been mere inches from mine, but her spirit was far away. I shook my head hard enough to send a wave of vertigo through it. It didn't seem right. How could she be dead? How could my mother be dead? My first instinct was to rush toward her, but I stopped myself... There was no way I could look into those eyes that once held mirth and see nothing but a blank reflection. No. I'd go mad. It was time to leave.

After a pitiful struggle to my feet, I leaned against the wall for support. My breathing became wheezy, and the pain in my wounded shoulder ached. Fortunately, the gash wasn't as deep as I thought it to be.

This pain was nothing... not...

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