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The pain burned through his body and filled his mind with a strange kind of haze. Through it, he found himself wondering how many bones he had broken, and why he hadn’t died.

Maybe the fall wasn’t far enough, he thought, staring upwards at the window high above. Strange. He would have thought ten stories would do the trick.

The curtain was flapping out of the window, fluttering in a breeze that was absent down there in the alleyway. Shards of broken glass lined the window like teeth; like sharp, transparent teeth, with the red curtain a hideous tongue trying to lick away the last remnants of a messy dinner.

Then he saw her.

She leaned out of the window and gazed down at him, shaking her head in a mixture of pity and sorrow. She covered her hand with her sleeve and leaned further out, knocking shards of glass carefully inwards, before climbing out of the window and leaping out.

She flew down with preternatural grace, landing astride his broken body as if the distance had been mere inches.

She looked into his eyes.

“No,” he muttered. “I don’t want this.” He shook his head weakly.

She smiled and leaned forward to whisper to him, her lips treacherously close to his ear. “Do you really think you have any option in this?”

She bit through her lip and kissed him. Too weak to push her away, he choked briefly on her blood before his gag reflex forced him to swallow, sealing his fate.

His heartbeat seemed to grow louder, faster, blocking out all sounds and filling him with an unfamiliar sensation that was at once hot and cold, at once pain and comfort. He tried to scream, but he had no breath.

He opened his eyes suddenly. Had he passed out?

“Welcome back.”

He sat up. She was standing a few feet away, leaning against the wall with an enigmatic smile on her face.

He stood up slowly, staring at his hands, at his unbroken arms. He took a breath to speak, and realised that he hadn’t been breathing before. He put a hand to his chest. There was no heartbeat.

“You have so much to learn,” she said quietly. “Follow me.”

She pushed herself away from the wall and walked away, down the alley, not looking back.

After half a moment’s indecision, he followed.

© Kari Fay

(Author’s Note: This week Three Word Wednesday gives the words Indecision, Option and Fate. My first thought was Sophie’s Choice, but I decided that was too grim and wrote a cheesy vampire-fest instead…)

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