There are unspoken details you never know until you stand in the midst of wreckage, wreckage wielded by your own delicious magic, magic both bitter and heady, flavored with a destructive passion that will eventually burn itself out. No one speaks of the taste of ash that sticks to the palate, the texture of dry licorice that coats the tongue, the stench of life's impending end that clings to one's nostrils as if it has been pasted to your flesh.

One never describes the sting of hollow eyes gazing back at you, eyes once brimming with devotion now distant and cold. This is the emptiness of losing the love of one's only child. It is an emptiness more complete than that of losing your own soul one piece at a time.

Don't Mom. Please.

Fear is the aphrodisiac of darkness, but not when it stares back at you from eyes of one born of your body. Then it is a menace, a nail in your coffin, a moment when life and death balance precariously on a scale handed to you in a bargain you should never have struck.

"Henry."

It's all you can utter, for you have no other words for your child. He doesn't understand the compulsion to drink the blood of immortality, nor can he fathom the rush of holding a beating heart in the palm of your hand, the need to reduce it to soft, gray powder, the scent of an impending kill.

But she does. And she is now to him what you once were.

It's alright, Henry. Violet will be okay.

Your body trembles from the rush of a curse yet unfinished, a death halted by the words of a would-be savior now gazing back at you with an expression you don't want to interpret.

Don't do this, Emma. Don't do to our son what Cora did to me.

Something has cut through the thick veil of shadows, a glimmer of an old life, a fear of losing innocent love forever, a certainty that your action will put him on a road to darkness, an act that will sever the few strands of humanity you have left.

He'll never get over it. Trust me, I know.

It's then she pulls her own heart from her chest, a curious swirl of scarlet and crimson, now colored with streaks of silver and gold you both envy and detest. You knew she would do this a mere second before she acted, and your body buzzes with revulsion, a sensation that prickles across muscle and bone.

It is revulsion towards the woman pretending to be the savior, revulsion towards the girl your son seeks to protect even though her life bears no value, revulsion towards yourself for being the darkness seeking to snuff it out.

If you need a heart, take mine.

The words stroke like daggers sheathed in velvet, pleading with the flickering core that still bears shards of who you once were, taunting the darkness with the whispered tease of a bound lover. Is it soft, you wonder, this heart freely offered, or is it still encased in the invisible steele of destruction? How would they taste, the ashes of her remains? You see the man who loves her tense as he cries out her name, his pathetic plea melting into hay and horse dung while the man who once loved you stands with no words to utter.

The vacancy in his eyes tells you that he doesn't know you anymore. That's good-isn't it?

Would this act push him away forever? Would it sever the ties that anchor what humanity you have left, leaving you free to soar down a silken tunnel with no end in sight? How would it feel to give the darkness free reign? Like the never ending drop of a roller coaster, or perhaps more of a free fall, a leap from a cliff with no cord to pull you back? Would the pain end then? Would regret cease to leave its marks in places no one sees and you don't dare inspect?

Please, Mom.

His words cut through iron, stirring the heartstrings of a mother, the thickest ties that bind human to human. This is the one cord that remains unsevered, this tie to Henry, to her boy on the cusp of manhood pleading for the lives of his girlfriend and his mother.

His other mother, you remind yourself. He is your son. His life came from you-not her. You are the pulse that pumps blood through his veins-not her.

"I'm doing this for you, Henry."

The excuse is shallow, and it floats like scum on a pond, making his face twitch in a disgust that tears at your womb. His rejection hurts, deeper than a contraction, harder than a death blow, and something white claws its way up from the depths, splintering your vision as the girl's heart falls to the floor. She retrieves it, the pretender, and thrusts it back into the chest of the girl with no value, the girl your son sees as someone of immeasurable worth.

Bones ache, brittle with the exhaustion of an unfilled hunt as muscles threaten to pool into warm wax. The heat of humanity-it had one last stand to make, and it stands there between you and the rest of them, these people you once called family, and the lone boy you still do.

Thank you, Mom.

His voice surrounds you, binding the darkness long enough for realization to settle, for the poison of decency to retain a small foothold, for the eyes of a mother to stare back at her son.

So you decided to save a life?

The darkness plucks at you hair by hair, it's grinning scowl, now etched into your marrow. Icy talons war with hot pricks of pain, shards of starlight dotting a landscape of blackness. No one understands the protection of apathy other than those who have shunned all remorse, and you search for it now with everything you have, drawing it around you as a protective cloak, shutting out the former savior as the pretender walks away with your child. .

She wasn't worth my time.

You wonder if you'll ever truly believe it.