Katriena Knights

           Small, spinning lump of lead, there, coming, so slowly, instantaneously, and there is nothing in the world but that, everything in the world but that, and she hears the report of the gun somehow after the bullet begins to spin toward her, silver, gray, silent, screaming, so fast, so slow, and then so hot as it bites--

            She can feels its path as it moves into her. Inch at a time, fire, ice, metal, blood. Deep, lancing pain unlike anything she has ever felt before, and she has felt pain in a hundred different guises.

            This feels like death.

            She falls, barely aware of falling, the impact of her back against the ground dull, meaningless.

            So deep, so invasive, the penetration, tearing, lacerating, opening her up inside.

            She isn't afraid. Death is not unfamiliar to her, after all, and she knows with utter certainty where it will take her. It is a wonderful place. She misses it. She has just begun to put it all out of her mind and now it hovers there at the edges of her vision, blue and white and pure. Beautiful. If she closes her eyes, she will be there. Oh, so soon, only a few minutes away, as she can feel the blood draining out of her, filling empty cavities inside her where blood isn't meant to go.

            So tired. Strength leaching out of her, into the grass, into the dirt. She blinks, her eyes heavy and slow. How much longer?

            Voices. Warren? Xander? She isn't sure. Her hearing seems muffled and hollow, as if she is underwater.

            She closes her eyes. Everything on the insides of her eyelids is red. Blood-scarlet, as if the wound in her chest has hemorrhaged into her eyes. Can blood move like that?

            It doesn't matter. Not to her, anyway, as barely coherent thought fades into a purity of sensation.

            Butterfly wings on her skin, a pale touch barely registering…no, not butterflies--angels--

            People see angels when they go to heaven, don't they? But she sees not angels but Angel, and the feather touch isn't wings at all but fingers on her face, on her throat, on her breast there, just where the blood bubbles out of her body, where her life puddles, pulsing out of her--

            It's okay, it's okay, it won't hurt if I can help it I promise just hold onto me let me give this to you--

            Or is it Spike, who has tried so often to touch her with tenderness, but she won't let him--

            Just quiet down, pet, it doesn't always have to be just a fuck, you know, let me touch you the way I want to touch you, luv, just let me give you that one thing--

            Something inside her jolts. If orgasm is a little death, and this is the big one, then she can take it, she can encompass it, she can feel it pass in soft, convulsive pulsations all the way to her fingertips where she remembers exactly the textures of Angel's cool skin, of Spike's bleach-roughened hair, and she can give it all up, let it go and she can--

            Not breathe.