They had told her she couldn’t die. They hadn’t told her how much it would hurt. She was used to hunger, used to cold, used to loneliness, but she wasn’t used to dying. It was something that happened to others, something she’d do to others, not herself.
But she can’t lie to herself. They’d taught her enough anatomy to know what was happening. At first she raids carts, slipping away with a raw potato or cold sausage. When she’s too tired to run, she scavenges through trash bins, shooing rats from stale loaves or overcooked steak. She can’t get enough; soon, anything more than a bite won’t stay down. The muscles she’d struggled to build break down under carabolysis, converted into fuel for her hearts.
It is only a matter of time before she catches something. First came fever. Then pain. It doesn’t matter what it is, an infection or diarrhea or the flu. She can’t get warm or fed or dry, not without going back. And that is never going to happen.
Melody staggers past a pile of rubbish. A month ago, she would have gone through the entire contents, separating food and clothes from useless scraps. It doesn’t matter now.
“You okay?” The tramp sounds nice, concerned even. “Little girl, you okay?”
“It’s alright. “ He can’t help her now. “It’s quite alright.” She still has one trick left, a special gift not even they have. “I’m dying. But I can fix that. It’s easy, really. See?”
It will work, it has to work. She focuses on the part of herself that can sometimes see things before they happen, remember things that never were. Now, she tells it.
Golden light flows from her hands, wispy and warm: not fire, not merely brightness, but something more, something that takes the memories of cold and hunger and pain and wipes them away. It’s so new, so unlike anything else in her short life, but it feels right. She laughs. She can beat them. Someday, she’ll come back and beat them all.