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The Final Turn by Raeann

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Author's Chapter Notes:
Carla, 'Reap, and Frosty-thanks for reading.
~What do you expect to see when you die?~

He didn't anticipate an answer, though the screeching birds through the skylight provided their own version.

~Whose pocket does it climb from?~

The kitchen. Very hot. For December. Refreshing. Maybe. A drop of sweat fell from his face. It's brothers followed. Maybe not so refreshing. He grimaced, pressing his wrists to his forehead.

~Maybe I'll fix myself a sandwich. Maybe I'll forget this whole thing and push myself into the water of a cool bath. Maybe my lips will catch in the drain and I'll get sucked into the pipes. Maybe I'll be a ghost, wedged into the porcelain bathtub. Lapping up other people's filth.~

His eyes popped open. Pale blue-green eyes holding court in a pale round face. What a thought, he thought. He rubbed his baby blues. Something trickled onto his black pants. Sweat? No. Whatever its source, it was also smeared onto his forehead. No matter. "GodDAMN I need a drink." To say the least.

He was also incredibly tired of waiting. He checked his wrist for the time. Forgot that he'd taken off his watch and left it-"In the flowerpot." Still early, though. Nobody home for a while. He stood, stretching out his black clad legs. His arms reached towards the heavens, and he suddenly fell back down with a thud. Dizzy. He rolled his neck, lids shielding his eyes. Then a smell shyly found his nose and he searched the source. Didn't have to search far.

The blood was still on the table in front of him, still stuck in the knife that was still stuck in the chocolate cake.

"So weird."

He shook his head. Everything felt distant, as if he were watching himself on a movie screen. He swiped a finger into the cake and licked off the chocolate. A song came to mind.

"Honey. Doo doo doo doo doo doo. Oh sugar sugar." He sang. He laughed. "What the hell." His mind encountered a better song. One that he found perfect for the moment-"And When I Die" by-damn, who was it again? He giggled, "Oh yeah-Blood Sweat and Tears."

Perfect.

"So weird," he whispered. The warmth of the filtered sunlight beckoned from the skylight. He carefully swept an arm over the table top, sending the cake and knife tumbling to the linoleum floor. He climbed up, breath ragged. As he did this he sang quietly, "I'm not scared of dying, And I don't really care. If it's peace you find in dying, Well then let the time be near."

He lay down, staring into the sky. His wrists didn't hurt anymore. They were gone. His legs were gone. A tear escaped his eye. "Come on," he cried. He began singing again.

"If it's peace you find in dying"-

-It was on the skylight. It landed with sweet steps, tips of its fingers encased in black leather gloves.-

"and if dying time is here,"-

-He shut his swimming eyes, and still the tears squeezed angrily out through the lids. "Funny," he thought. (Under the skin it's so white. And the blood is so red. Looks like small red worms. Spilling out of the white.) It tapped on the glass.-

"Just bundle up my coffin Cause it's cold way down there."-

He attempted to sit up. Pointless. He laughed again.

Come on.

It punched through the skylight.

Come on.

"Don't sleep on me yet," it hissed. It landed with hands and feet, hovering above his prone form. It was wrapped in a long black hooded robe. All the better to keep out the sun. It smelled like roses and lilac and peaches and rot. It leaned over him, took his face in its hands.

"You still with me, son?" It's voice was cold, sharp, and sexless. He could have used it to slice his wrists instead of the knife. "No sleeping."

"No," he agreed softly.

It pulled back its hood, revealing a small, triangular face with a pointed chin and flat nose. It's eyes were a liquid amber with pinprick pupils. It's skull and without hair. No eyebrows adorned it's face, and just a smattering of gold lashes framed its eyes. It's skin was silver, and its veins and arteries were clearly visible; long and entwining red and blue streaks like electrical wire. It smiled as he took in its visage, baring thick canines on top and bottom. It clucked its long blue tongue. Madness rode its strange and beautiful eyes.

"Eager, aren't you?" it asked, noticing his ripped and bleeding wrists. It brought his hands to its face. Its tongue darted in and out, cleaning the wound. It pinched his neck and he hollered.

"Stay awake, son." It smiled cheerily, its tongue turning purple as it mixed with his blood.

"Cute trick," he grinned.

It finished cleaning, and began drinking, very dainty and cautious. When it finished it said," Your turn." It bit into its arm and released its blood. "I am a Vessel of Atma'al," it cooed as he drank. "And I am what you saw when you died. David." It took his name in its mouth and drank it down, as he drank its life force down.

David.

It removed its gloves. Just couldn't resist touching *hair*. Its hands were skinless. It smoothed his hair, leaving trails of red. The very touch of those hands turned his blonde hair white.

"The blood in my veins is our master's. He is *your* master. Understand?" Its breathing slowed. "He cannot leave his resting place during the day. You know him, yes?"

David looked up, his eyes healthy and shining. "Yes."

"You know where to find him?"

"Hmmmm," he smiled, and rested his head down, enjoying the euphoria of his drink.

"Son, do you hear me?"

"Yes," David answered, his voice strong.

"Good, then kill me and be on your way."

David rose from the table with confidence. He found its gloves and put them on. Then he tore through it with all the fury of his twenty-one years. The way he'd torn through that welcoming flesh of his arms. He broke its neck. It fell to the floor, slowly decaying into dust. Even its robe disappeared. He glanced for the last time at the damning sun, and strode from the room.

The End
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