Torchlight flickers across the stuffy old room. I sit on one of the rickety pews, my body numb. I stare, unblinking, into the darkness beyond the gilded fence. Events from the past weeks replay in my mind; Logan stealing the book, going after him, being mind controlled in Camelot. All of those mistakes, and yet they pale in comparison now. This time, two people died.
I thought I would be happy, you know when Logan finally died. When I could breathe easy, knowing he would never come for me again. I thought I would feel vindicated, satisfied. I feel none of those things. In a way, I’m relieved that it was someone else who snuffed out his life. I never even got her name. It hardly matters now.
Ryan didn’t deserve to die, especially not like that. Why would she be so reckless? I know she admired me, but she should have known better. I should have known better. I was reckless. I put her in danger, by letting her get close to me. I put all of them in danger. I’m selfish, for wanting them around. It’s my fault.
That’s not the worst part. Deep in my heart, I’m a little relieved. I’m relieved that Andrei wasn’t there. That it wasn’t him that took that dart for me. The thought eats away at the back of my mind, and I feel sick. Ryan worshipped the ground that I walk on, and I’m relieved that it was her, and not Andrei, that died today. She deserved so much more than this. I am not worthy of her.
My fists clench on my lap. I wish I’d never been born. I wish I’d never been brought here, that I never brought the others here. They’re so much better off without me. All I do is cause them despair. I bang my fists on the back of the pew ahead of me, resting my forehead on its aged wood. Fresh tears stream down my face as I grit my teeth.
The pew starts to smolder under my skin, eventually catching fire. I lean away, gaze fixed on the flame. I want to hate the fire. If it wasn’t for that, I would be just another human. Ryan would be alive. My family would be alive. My eyes lift to the darkness up ahead. They would all be alive… If not for him.
“Do you see what I’ve become, Markus?” I ask, not really expecting an answer. I stand up, yelling, “Do you see what you made me?! Is this what you wanted?!” I pick up the burning pew and flip it. It crashes against the bookshelf to my right, knocking several shelves off. Dusty old books spill onto the carpet. The hungry flames quickly jump to the dry pages of the books, climbing up along the shelves.
“I bring nothing but destruction. I’m not even human anymore… if I ever was,” I scoff bitterly as the fire consumes half of the room. “I wonder if this is what you intended,” I kick a pew on the other side, spreading more fire. “Are you happy now?”
“Kat, stop. This isn’t like you!” Rhoan begs, flying as a red bird in front of me.
I swat at him, but he moves out of the way. “What would you know? Did you ever really care about me? Or were you just keeping an eye on your master’s little experiment?”
“Kat, you know I care about you. Don’t be ridiculous,” he responds calmly.
“Do I?!” I shriek,.“Because it feels like all you’ve done is stand by while horrible things happen to me, around me… Were you going to let me be hit by that dart too?”
Rhoan shakes his little head slowly. “You’re angry. I understand that. Lash out at me all you want, but stop this.”
“Leave me alone!” I swat at him again. “I don’t need you telling me what to do! Go find someone else to boss around!” he hovers for a moment, before disappearing up the staircase. A sense of emptiness washes over me as I stare at the stone steps.
My lips tremble, emotions welling up in my chest. I don’t know what else to do, so I just keep hitting things. Flames spill out all around me, consuming whatever they can reach. I quickly run out of things to destroy and find myself standing in a puddle of liquid metal, the fence gone. In the light of the fire, I can see the crypt beyond. I leave metallic footprints as I approach it.
The face is worn, but I see the resemblance to the portraits. “I hate you.” I spit, glaring down at the stone. As I stare at the face, it begins to warp. The stone bubbles, sliding down and melting away until there is a crater in the stone where his head had been. The liquefied stone dries, like candle wax, down either side of the crypt. I’m equally satisfied and frightened by my own strength.
I can’t stay here. I have to leave, and I have to do it now. If I wait until Andrei comes back, he’ll talk me out of it. Then I’ll end up getting him killed too. He’ll be safe if I leave. My heart shudders, and I feel a stabbing pain in my chest. I don’t want to live without him… but I have to, for his sake. For all of their sakes.
At the top of the stairs, I see Selene and Caroline waiting for me. They stand in my path, faces painted with worry. Rhoan sits on a chair behind them, in the form of a cat. I hesitate. I was hoping to leave unnoticed and hadn’t planned to be confronted. Seems like I never learn.
“Kat, please,” Caroline’s voice cracks, her eyes swollen and red. “Let’s talk about it.”
“There’s nothing to talk about,” I state defiantly. “I messed up. Again.”
“It’s not your fault!” Caroline insists.
“No?” I raise an eyebrow. “Tell me, who would you blame? I’m the one who chose to sneak off. I chose to go after Logan. He was aiming for me. Who should be to blame, if not me?”
She shakes her head. “We decided to go after you. It’s no one’s fault!”
I press my lips into a line and shake my head. “That’s not how the world works, Caroline. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have dragged you all into this mess,” I brush past between the two of them.
“Wait! I need to tell you!” Caroline jogs after me. I keep walking. “Kaitlyn! Stop!”
I’m suddenly drenched in water. I pause in the doorway of the library, turning slowly to glare at the blonde. “Was that necessary?”
“I know where Andrei is!” She holds up a book. I notice Selene, lingering at the back by the stairs, her face downcast.
“Good.” I nod, “When he comes back, tell him I’m sorry, for everything.” With that, I spin away from her, running down the hall.
“You can’t just leave! What about Andrei? If you go, he’ll break! You know that!” Her voice resonates down the cavernous hallway. I shake my head. My eyes sting. He’ll be okay. He has them. They’ll move on with their lives. They’ll forget about me. They’ll survive.
By Krystyna Yates