Black with rage the boy storms the iron-clad beast.

His enemy sets his feet in rust spotted sabatons and his legs form a bridge over the unconscious girl. He smiles his rotten tooth smile and crooks his index finger “Come along little doggy,” he whispers with a raspy voice.

The would-be warrior grunts with effort and with a glinting flash of steel swings the sword, acknowledging this one shot is all he will probably get.

The miss is heartbreaking. A wild swing with sweat-soaked palms that equals the blade flying out of his hands leaving him standing defenseless. He lowers his head, and reaches up to touch at the blade, that slides through his chest and into his heart, as he is made of melted butter.

His singular thought is, *no pain.*

When he looks up he expects to see the brute standing there gloating with his chipped and crusty sword dripping, maybe the girl would be looking up at him also, disappointed that he failed her. Instead, he stands at the foot of a mound of skulls. The sky is on fire and a figure floats with huge wings billowing like smoke from her back.

She is beautiful this thing, but her face is sad and her eyes leak tears as she lowers a flaming sword at him.

“Were you virtuous?”

The question forms in his mind like a blister and he immediately thinks of the few moments in which he wasn’t stealing, lying, sneaking around, or other selfish moments where he was concerned more with staying alive than doing right. He wonders if maybe death was preferable to sin.

“It is not.”

His mind settles on the girl puddled on the ground, unconscious and probably on her way to join him here in whatever afterlife this was, but only after a very painful end has its way with her.

“No, she won’t.”

The sky behind the angel turns hazy and he sees the girl, still prone on the ground, but now his blade in her hands his murderer and her would be rapist struggling to pull himself from it.

A golden door opens. Through it, he sees a pink sky and green forest stretching far into the distance. His father stands there waiting, bow over his shoulder hunting boots on his feet.

The boy smiles feeling more happiness then he has ever felt in his life.

Family something he has known for so long.

He steps through the door and just before it closes behind him he turns to see the ironclad man has taken his place. He screams in agony, trapped in a roaring fire. The beautiful woman, no longer beautiful, her body and face twisted into a red-skinned demon laughs as she torments.

The gold door slams off the scene and his life in paradise begins.


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