Therefore I was left alone, and saw this great vision, and there remained no strength in me: for my comeliness was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength.

Daniel 10:6


I had a gut wrenching feeling that I only had moments left.

Moments left before they ended it — before they killed me.

Royce tore off my jacket, the beautiful blue suede one he had given me as a gift. His thick hand gripped my neck, his putrid breath hot on my skin as he trailed his lips towards my collarbone.

"You look pretty, Rose. But you would look prettier with all of that off," he rasped huskily, eyes darting up and down my body.

I could hear all the other men jeering and laughing drunkenly. My vision tunneled, and the world started spinning. I knew what was happening. I just couldn't believe it was happening to me.

A small mass of curly brown hair rose out of a patch of wildflowers, a head turning to reveal the chubby face of a little boy, wearing a silly grin.

Royce's hands gripped me tighter; I felt him rip at the buttons of my dress. The men were still shouting, but fortunately I couldn't make out any words.

The giggling little boy made an awkward, ungainly run toward his mother, who swept him up in her arms and planted a kiss on his flushed, rosy cheek.

"You're so pretty, Rosey. Pretty as a picture."

A young man appeared around the side of the house, his face lighting up. The woman and the little boy turned to him, and he wrapped his arms around them both, merrily twirling them around. They all laughed, and the sound was pleasant.

A harsher peal tore the blessed dream from my eyes, leaving only the blurred sight of the silhouetted form above me. But I could still hear the joyous laughter. It served as a bitter reminder of what I now knew I would never have – a perfect life. Then a searing pain tore through me before my real awareness began to fade.

It was then, as all coherence left me and blessed nothingness drew near, I knew. Dreams filled with giggling curly-haired boys and handsome, kind-hearted men would never become a reality – at least not in this lifetime….

For I knew that this was my end, wasn't it?


Everyone please bow to Aine and Alcyone, my wondrous betas.