Preaching the End of the World

Order of business first-if you are here because of the NaNo Hop, please drop me a comment-I have no idea why my notifications aren’t loading, but I can’t see any of you.

This past week was my birthday. Birthday 24. And like I do every year, I look for songs which contain my age. I found quite a few! I’ll link us up. But I picked the Chris Cornell song. It’s not exactly the best video I’ve ever seen-but the words are spot on.

I’d been a fan of 1985 since high school, but I’d never heard any of the other songs until I went looking. The Pat Stansik song definitely came pretty close as a runner up, and I thought about it for a while, but I had to go with the one that I just felt a little more strongly about.
Now, this is going to be a little bit of a reintroduction-simply because I know there are NaNos out there who have only just come around to the epic word fest that is my blog. For the rest of you, please know I appreciate you and our regular broadcasts will return shortly.
So hi there!
I’m Michelle. And this is my safe space. I write about what I’m passionate about, and I delight in epic conversations. I generally try to make sure there are no rules, except for respect. Differing opinions welcome, interaction always welcome-but I have no problem shutting down things that get rude, racist or otherwise belittling.
This is a forum for discussion (typically) about:
Mental Health
LGBT+/SAGA issues
Women’s Issues
Sexual Assault
Spirituality (although not often)
Current Events (including the Dakota Access Pipeline)
Writing (Both news pieces and novels)
Poetry
I post my opinions about these things, I post my stories. I write. And I do not apologize for having opinions, but I know I’m not perfect either. I make spelling errors, I make grandiose passionate speeches that I sometimes need to explain. I am human.
So welcome to this little nook. Grab a cup of coffee or tea or maybe something a little stronger. Stay hydrated. Be safe.
You are valid. You are irreplaceable.
Oh, and P.S. I’m working on a new novel. 🙂

The Race is On

It is Monday, April 11th. That means that there are exactly 22 days left of my semester. And it is typically known as the time of the semester when literally everything happens at once. Homework, term papers, finals, Camp NaNoWriMo, and not to mention, the weather is, well, let’s just say it’s definitely showing it’s Ohio roots. It’s the last month for things to be done as far as academically before summer and I think that there needs to be a certain degree of haste made. As much as I am looking forward to summer, I feel that if there were just a little more time to be had, I could accomplish something great.

In just one month, I will have exactly a year left of my undergrad life. I have said that same sentence I think three times now. And that’s okay, but this time it’s quite serious. I’ve made the appointment with my advisor and we’ve worked it out so that that deadline will occur. That means that as of May 2, 2017 I will no longer be a student of The Ohio State University (technically May 7, but who’s counting?). That means that I have one year to get everything done that I haven’t yet. And as big as that list might have been before, I think it’s gotten considerably smaller-which is a good thing. But the last few things on the list are more important than ever.

As you might recall (and I know she certainly does), last week I said I had a friend date. That friend date set in motion my blog about resources for sexual violence victims/allies/bystanders which you can find here. But we also discussed what could be done to help educate people about these issues before they need to use those resources-to prevent incidents. And we came up with some really great ideas. But I want to implement those before I graduate (if possible) and that means that on top of school and work, I have to become an intense project planner yesterday. Which can be done. I just hope I’m worthy enough to do so.

I wrote the children’s book, about body safety and image, and it is currently awaiting judgment at an agent’s table, I assume between cups of coffee and other things. The typical wait time is anywhere from 4 weeks to 4 months, and that’s supposing I get any response at all. However, I knew that was the risk with traditional publishing and I would like to try that avenue before I try self-pubbing. Here’s how it goes down in my head. I get notice of acceptance from an agent, I then do some rewriting (because that’s what authors do). After the final draft gets accepted, I will then wait for the illustrator to finish their work and off it will go to be published. IF that happens before I graduate, I would like to start work on what I lovingly have termed: Operation Educate Everybody.  Using my book as a platform, I want to go around speaking to schools about safety and about how to love yourself. I would like to do so with elementary schools, but I would also like to give boys positivity messages to middle and high school students. Then with all that accomplished, I would like to make some presentation material available to colleges-starting with my own. 

I know, this all sounds a little vague. BUT. I also happen to know that all great plans start somewhere. I don’t think I necessarily want to be a public speaker for the rest of my life, but I would definitely like to get some things rolling in that direction. I think that the greatest thing that could happen personally would be for me to go and do a Ted Talk. The greatest thing that could happen period, would be to have more people love themselves and respect themselves.

Anyway,I know that there are any miles to go before I can sleep, but I have a great desire to change the world for the better and I want it to start right now.

I Just Can’t Even

The thing about life is that it throws you curve balls and you think you have a handle on everything and then there’s another curve in the road and your car topples over, down a cliff and you think “Oh crap! This is it!” And then you wake up and realize it’s not it and you have to keep living each day, even if it’s hard, because you’re still alive and that’s all there is.

I have always been honest about the fact that I am opinionated. But what happens to opinionated people is that they take a stand, and occasionally because of that, they take a fall. I live in the state of Ohio, as I have all my life. And it’s like living in the middle of a political hungry, hungry hippo game, and the people are the balls. Seriously, if there isn’t one thing in the news, it’s another. For example, I go to The Ohio State University (yes, the “The” is capitalized). In this semester alone, we’ve had a bomb threat, a suicide and an accidental death, which resulted in the end of a tradition. Now, that isn’t to say that I do not feel safe, because I went to classes on the day of the bomb threat and came out just fine. However, it seriously has been the worst semester as far as bizarrely awful things. And I mean, with this being a hot spot for political rallies, our campus has been a zoo on the worst days, and little better on the best days. We’re a bunch of kids and early adults, and as developmentally immature future generations, I would like to speak up and say “What the hell?!”

I didn’t come here to complain. In fact, I’ve stayed away from my blog for the past couple days because I just wanted to be alone. I’ve been mad, sad, grumpy, selfish, whiny and a whole host of other not-so-graceful things. But when I started this blog, I said it was my outlet and while I GREATLY appreciate each of you who have followed me, I am not writing for you but rather, for me.

So here’s why I’ve been so angsty. I was writing my book for NaNoWriMo and reached 50k words (yay!). But as December 1 rolled around, I found myself unable to continue. I hadn’t hit a creative block, because I know where my story is going,but I hit a different kind of pause, one where I actually kind of hate my book. I can’t even look at it. So I thought “Hey! I’ll just start a new one!” And when I got to work, I was trying to figure out a working title so I googled my ideas and lo and behold, someone already wrote the damn thing! I was so happy to have come up with a new idea and then so furious that someone beat me to it without my knowledge. So I stopped writing, which led me to not blogging. And now I have returned, idea-less and a little wispy.

I don;t know what to do. Writing has always been “my thing”. I turned to it when I was blue, when I was happy. Words have been my walls, the things which keep me in and others out. I sound so much more elegant when I write than I do in person. And to have no motivation to even catch a line of poetry has been a new experience for me.

It’s like having an itch on your back at that spot where you physically cannot reach so you scratch around it, and it subsides, but you can still feel it. It’s like finally deciding what you want to eat, being able to taste it in your mouth but knowing you don’t have any of it. It’s like waking up mid-dream and vaguely remembering this great idea, but you’re forgetting a really important part. It’s like going into a room and forgetting why, then leaving without remembering it at all. That’s what this feeling is. And it’s so ungodly frustrating. Writing has been my sole way to escape, to create and process. I never thought I was decent at visual art, music is far too personal to be anything less than a blissful experience. Writing was the way I broke through to the inner me and expressed all the things I didn’t want others to see for the exact purpose of letting them see.

So I’ve been on a break from myself. And I want to reconnect, but maybe I just need to let go first.

Thankfulness, Day 29

Today is my last day of break. Tomorow, I start my new job. My husband and I are cranking out homework and well, it’s going to be a good day. I love the temperature today, I love the smell, I even managed to make coffee and breakfast without burning myself on the darn eggs (or frying pan!). So as I write, coffee in reach, I’m pondering what to write that hasn’t already been done.These last few days have been harder for me to find unique topics. I’m incredibly grateful for the things I have, the people I know and the…got it.

Today I am thankful for the people I have known, who in their own way have helped me get to where I am today. My sister was reading The Five People You Meet In Heaven by Mitch Albom, which honestly is one of my favorite books and I really loved the screen adaptation. I’ve been centering around that book all week it seems, just by pure coincidence. It sits in the back of my head, like a little reminder that we are all connected. So today, I want to give a little shoutout, without naming names, to the multiple people in my life who have shaped it. Perhaps some of them will even read this. Who knows.

  First, I will name a name, but only because I’m not entirely sure if I’m correct in attributing this lesson to this person. I THINK it was Woody Hayes who said something about treating all levels of people with respect and how you should always get to know the name of everyone, including those people who are behind the scenes, like janitors. I learned that lesson as a young adolescent and it has opened many doors to insightful relationships.

  One such relationship was actually with a wonderful, witty janitorial staff member of my high school. She’s a fabulous person, a caring individual and she goes out of her way to make others smile. She treated me to a soda once, and even without that incident, she impacted my life. Even now, when I return to my old haunt, I know she will be there with a hug and a smile.

There are several teachers throughout my compulsory education who also deserve recognition. Mrs. U. for her encouragement to enjoy reading. Mrs. B. for instilling a great respect for responsibility. Mrs. M. for understanding the need to have a creative outlet and expressive behaviorisms. Mr. W. for being an upright citizen and always keeping calm. Mrs. R. for being a blessed angel. Mr. G. for brightening my day with the wonders of the world around us. Ms. M. for proving to me that hardwork makes masterpieces. Mrs. B. for showing me that just because you are different doesn’t mean you can’t be brilliant. Ms. R. for letting me love music for many years. Mrs. H. for giving me the first taste of passion. Mr. B. For introducing me to theatre. Mr. W. for introducing me to my husband and making sure it was really funny that he did so. There are others, but I think this gives you a taste of my early education.

In college, people were thinner spread, because most of the lessons they had to teach had been given to me before. But a few of them really did make a difference. My history of art professor who made history real and art far more than just pictures of artifacts. It is because of him that I have fluorished in my academic career. My first anthropology professor, who said “not all of you will become anthropologists” and made me the exception. She is a continued supply of valuless knowledge. My theory professor, who has made sure that I will never leave college without knowing the truthful answersto my questions. She has been a godsend. I’m not done with college, so this list remains open ended.

My first boss, who made the most hilarious things happen, like answering the phone with her nickname instead of her real name. She was honestly the best first boss I could have ever hoped for. It made working food really wonderful and that is an extremely major thing. My newest boss, who took the time to give me (a total newcomer) a chance to belong. I will forever be grateful to her for that. 

My mother and father, obviously, for teaching me not to be a spoiled brat with entitlement issues. My husband, who teaches me how to be strong every day. My brother for introducing me to great music, my sister for allowing me to take over conversations and tell her all about college, even though she probably wasn’t looking for a rant. My friends who are always there for me, even when I can’t come to the phone or go out.

My readers, who always look at my stuff with open hearts, because I never really see things the way everyone else does. The students I have met, who make me sit wide eyed and wonder what their line of thinking is.

I have had a large grouping of people who have given me lessons, and the ones I have listed are only the ones who have given me positive lessons. There are plenty more who have given me a taste of my own medicine, who shall just be referred to as “others”. I am thankful for them too, though, so never you fear. If there is such a place as heaven*, I think I shall have quite a lot more than just five people meeting me there.

  
*In a later post, I shall reveal my thoughts on the topic, as well as many others. This in no way means to say that I do not believe in an afterlife, or that I view those who do in a negative manner. I in fact, have a great reverence for what comes next and hold no belief systems as lunacy (apart from those which willing inflict pain on others). That post is coming soon, really. Read: I’m not being an ass, I promise.

Thankfulness, Day 27

As I return from my day of family visiting and chaotic shenanigans, I’m still not entirely out of my turkey coma. I got loads of leftovers (which made their way into my fridge, and will be my lunch/dinner for the next few days). I have today and 3 more days until November is over. Which means 4 more topics to cover. So what’s left? Do I go for the obvious lies? Do I head towards the “holier-than-thou posts? Or do I spice things up? Obviously, I chose the latter.

Today I am thankful for my health, even the unhealthy bits. 

 But before I get to that, I have to give some honorable mentions: Google, sweatpants, cheese, proper grammar, crock-pots and Christmas lights.

I usually manage to escape flu season relatively unscathed. Mid-January I get a 24 hour stomach bug, but that’s really about it. I’ve never really had allergies, I’m not deathly allergic to anything. Sometimes my body convinces itself that it’s lactose-intolerant for a week or so, and I just have to prepare myself for it with some Lactaid. 

I had bronchitis before my second birthday. Followed by a slew of earaches. It’s only been since college that I’ve gotten the big sickness packages. Strep which turns into bronchitis which becomes a pneumonia type bonanza, but that’s only happened twice. And as it would turn out, I’m an incredible clutz sometimes (pre-coffee) and my poor hands have suffered some pretty narrow escapes por eso.

  A couple months ago, I had this nasty ear infection. I thought it was just an ear ache, so I warmed sweet oil and filled my ear with it, having done so many times in the past. After a week or so of agonizing pain, sleepless nights and a 105* fever, my husband took me to the urgent care where I was prescribed the medicine you give to Anthrax patients. Within a week, the infection was gone and so was my eardrum. If you’ve ever seen Pet Semetary, the way the wife’s eye looked at the end is how my ear (post eardrum burst) looked. It was DISGUSTING. But since then, my eardrum has grown back and I’m very appreciative of that. The human body is a miraculous thing.

I was diagnosed with Bipolar as a kid. But what I should have been diagnosed with is an entirely different matter. I went to therapy for 2 years and then left. I had been on medicine and did counseling, the whole gambit. I returned to counseling over the summer and had to leave when I moved. I have good days, bad days and everything in between. But I struggle with them on my own, without any chemicals (apart from caffeine) altering my cognition. 

Overall, I would say my health is great. My body regulates itself, I am simply the puppeteer. I don’t have a perfect body, but it’s perfect for me.

Thankfulness, Day 26

Today, for my fellow Americans, was Thanksgiving Day. On this day, we fill our tables full of food, we talk about being thankful and we eat. A lot. In my family, it’s a gathering of nearly grown children and parents, along with significant others. A lot of faces are made, food may or may not be thrown at various occasions and book series are discussed. My husband and I spent 5 hours in a car to getto our families today. It was a long trek, and took all day, thus the late post. But it’s nice to feel like people are genuinely waiting to see you. And of course, when we came home, we were greeted by our furbaby. It’s nice to feel wanted.

Today I don’t have a theme. It’s not mebeing lazy, or taking a day off of the 30 day goal I set out with. Today I am thankful not for anything in particular, but everything. I am thankful that I have a chance to be thankful. I have a family (three, in fact), a home, friends, readers, and those are just people. I am beyond blessed with marvelous things and events and occurrences. I have many personality and character gifts which give me purpose.

And at the end of the day, there doesn’t have to be a reason to be thankful. It’s something that I am because I have been blessed with much and am appreciative. 

Thankfulness, Day 25

It’s exactly a month until Christmas. Mind you, the only reason I really celebrate is because it’s my mom’s birthday and she’s very into all that. But it’s a good reminder that there aren’t too many days left in the year. I have a grand total of 2 weeks left of classes and work before winter break and everything is wrapping up (well, sort of). In the next 36 days, there are 3 birthdays, 3 holidays, 2 weeks of classes and finals, and preparations for the standardized new year. 

All of that really puts into perspective how time passes. Just a couple days ago, I was talking with my husband about how time is just blazing by, without paying us any mind. This year, we’ve been together five years. We got married last year, and are approaching our 2 year wedding anniversary. But it all feels like we’re just wandering around like our high school selves.

Today, I wanted to do a segment on my husband, and I think that with all of the end of the year thoughts, it’s a good idea to do so.

We met in marching band. At the time, I was playing flute and he was a trumpet. (He’s always been a trumpet, but I like to switch it up.) I made jokes about him being too short for me to go out with. Eventually, though, his persistance paid off and we started dating my junior year in high school. We did all sorts of things together: band, prom, graduations, you name it. We split up twice and by the third time, we’d managed to figure out the rhythm in our lives. We got an apartment, left it, got married and then got a new apartment in the big city. But I want to share my favorite memory.

The Day of No Pictures.

We called the judge and set up the appointment. Yay! We were going to be married. Two college kids broke and in love, trying to get that one last piece of paper that signified we’d done everything right to claim each other forever. May 2, a Friday, at 4:55PM, the secretary called and told us that we would be unable to get married the next week because an error had been made in the books, that he was busy. Oh no! With all businesses closed and no one to perform a marriage, we began to email every single person we knew, many we didn’t, trying to find an officiant for the next week.

By Monday, we had such a person. He’s a political science professor at the college we attend. The week went by, time passing as it always seems to do, and Friday arrived. I put on my dress (which came from Victoria’s Secret) and did some makeup, putting my hair in a band. My family and I went to the university where I met up with Ben and we ate some pizza from Little Caesar’s. We got married in a classroom where I took History of Art. The professor brought a guitar and played Good Riddance by Green Day, said the words and it was done. We were married.

We had a weekend stay in Hocking Hills right after our ceremony. We were finished at 330, but we stopped at the store, picked up food and three seasons of Game of Thrones and arrived sometime around 9. We spent the entire weekend holed up, watching Game of Thrones. When we came back, our pictures did too. And much to my dismay, not one of them turned out. There were blurry images, images of our families, but none of them seemed to have been clear shots. (There was ONE, but it was of my behind and so it doesn’t count).

I spent a lot of time moping about not having pictures. What happened when I got alzheimer’s or dementia and couldn’t remember we’d gotten married, and all I had was a blurry picture of two people? My husband was great about letting me believe we could have a vow renewal and take pictures then. But then one day, I remembered all the memories in band, all the ones that had led us to where we are and how many of those I don’t have pictures for. It’s time I stop living through a camera and make memories for the sake of making memories.

My husband is my paladin, the one who stands strong when I can’t. He pushes me to be better, he reminds me that I have a purpose. He knows my order when I want coffee or Chipotle or Subway. And he’s the only person I want to be with. We don’t have everything in life that we wanted, we don’t have every luxury known to man. But what we have is each other, and I think that puts us a step ahead.

Thankfulness, Day 24

I had a thought yesterday that I had meant to include in my list of thankfulness, but what I have to say requires a bit more than just a blurb in passing.

When I was a child, I was impatient, self-centered and at times, a little devil-spawn. No one else even knew. Because by the time I reached kindergarten (well, actually pre-school), I had been trained. Of course, the only people who knew I was a little hellian were my parents.

I am incredibly lucky that I have both parents, and they are together, they are both healthy and they are patient people. My mother is supportive, she makes excellent food and has taught me several things which only mothers can do. My father is proud (and proud of me), he works incredibly hard to provide for my siblings still living at home and has taught me multiple things which only fathers can teach daughters. Growing up, my siblings and I were always introduced to crowds as “the cross between a hillbilly and a polak.” My father’s family is the stereotypical country folk, coming from West Virginia, Virginia and Southern Ohio. There’s a twang in their voices, and they are red-skinned from work outside. My mother’s family is a very stereotypical Russo-Polish family, even though we’ve been in America for two generations. We love food, we thrive on familial support and don’t seem to mind the cold. We ate pierogies before they were cool, and all of us are pale skinned with dark hair (except my sister, who is oddly blonde, but we love her anyway). Both sides of my family are infamous for their hotheadedness and quick tempers. 

My mother has a teacher’s aid certificate, but chooses to farm. I don’t mind, because I help her till up the yard and thusly get to have some of the food. My father works for the biggest newspaper in the midwest, and I get to tour the factory and inevitably just end up covered in ink. They’ve been together for an incredibly long time, they married while he was still in service to our country (he got married in his dress uniform and helped make/decorate the cake). I was born just after Operation: Desert Storm, when my dad came back from Kuwait/Iraq/The Persian Gulf, where he cooked and drove a tank on occasion. He doesn’t talk about it, but I am proud of him regardless. War cannot have been easy.

I put my parents through the ringer as a kid. I was never a “bad kid”, and in fact, that’s probably why I was such a hell raiser. But the thing is, I always knew they loved me. And they still do. My mom and I talk every day, my dad and I are basically the same person in different genders and time frames. For a long while, that’s why we didn’t get along (I mean, two people with bad tempers and the ability to lash out quickly don’t make for a fun time all the time). But once I grew up and actually tried to take responsibility (and otherwise acted like an adult), we got along splendidly. My parents are such wonderful people. 

So on this day, if it isn’t obvious at all, I am thankful for my parents. Without them, I would not be the me that I am now. I love you, mom and dad. Thanks for always being there-even when I didn’t deserve it.

Thankfulness, Day 23

It’s hard to believe that today is the one week mark until December, December is actually one of my favorite months. So much going on, so much happiness. But we’re not there yet, so let’s keep on, shall we?

Today I am thankful for warm food on cold day. I have the blessed opportunity to have access to warm food, and a way to make it. I have access to heat, to comfort. I work hard for my gifts, and so far it’s all paid off. 

I am thankful for little furry animals that make my day brighter. Although my heart has a special place for kittens, our fat little puppy is a nice reminder that sometimes fur makes a difference.

I am thankful for cheap entertainment. Board games went out of popularity a while back, but call me old fashioned, I happen to like the feel of dice and cards in my hands.

I am thankful for shooting stars. For wishes and dreams that make life worth living. I saw one today. I made my wish and now to add in the hard work to make it come true.

I am thankful for good timing and the positivity of other people. Sometimes it’s just spooky how people just seem to know you need to speak with them.

I am thankful for cleanliness. I’m not the neatest person in the world, but I do have an appreciation for a well cleaned room.

I am thankful for the past which made me who I am, the present for always being here, and the future for all it will be.

I am thankful for my spine: it always backs me up. 

And I am thankful for my readers, who see fit to humor me no matter which direction I go with my thoughts. Thank you.

Critique Piece, Chapter 9

Hello all, I need some critiques on this passage. It’s for my NaNoWriMo novel. In the scene, I am killing off a secondary villain as well as my protagonist. Any thoughts you have would be lovely and appreciated. Sorry about the formatting, I can’t seem to get it the way I want it, so it’s just the way it is.
He held her by the jaw, his hands surprisingly warm, as the knife tenderly kissed her cheek. She screamed once more , the gag preventing her full volume but she’d really just wanted him to stop at any rate. He kept going, pressing the blade into the softest part of her face. It felt like white hot acid were being drawn across her cheek, the warmth of her blood flowing into the fabric securing her mouth and collecting. There was nothing she could do but scream, and yet it did nothing. Each swipe of his hand tore more of her humanity away than it did skin and Katerina was replaced with a trapped animal, fighting desperately for her right to live.
Tears pooled in her eyes, those which escaped mixing with the blood and just when she thought it could get no worse, he stopped. The pocket from which his knife came held one other metallic item which he traded the knife for. He opened the little mirror and showed her what he had done. She could just barely make out the two humps at the top and from the way his sickening grin was plastered over his pale face, she could only assume that the rest of the injury was a heart. He seemed like the sort of twisted person who would delight in the sick satisfaction of making his mark on all he came across. It seemed much smaller than it had felt, and she supposed she had the gag to thank.Her eyes moved to the other individual and as her worst nightmares came alive, her eyes gushed once more. The man from her dreams rocked back on his heels, noticing the direction her eyes had ventured. “Yes. It’s him. Would you like to say hello?”

Josh stumbled forward and caught sight of Katerina. Recognition didn’t cross his drunken face, but something else did.She’d seen it briefly the night she’d left the house in the care of Natalia and Ianna. 

“Shall I put her out of her misery, Alexander?” Josh’s voice slurred the words together, but they were unmistakable. Alexander, the man from her dream, looked back at him and moved out of the direct line. He took a moment in his move to pull down Katerina’s gag. He motioned for her to make her plea. She took a deep breath, steadied her nerves as best she could and watched Alexander remove himself from between them.

“I will not beg for my life from this pig. From either of you. Just do it.” Her cheek squelched with the injury, the pain from which screamed at her to stop. “I want to know why.” She swallowed the fluid in her mouth, the bitterness of bile, rusty pennies and saliva causing her to force it all down.

“You don’t even know who you are do you?” Alexander chuckled. “You’re the most crucial part of this plan and you haven’t even got an idea why. It’s a shame about all that, really. But someone should have told you before now. This is a task far more important than you.” His attention turned to Josh. “You will take the gun in your hand and you will use it on your useless self. Now.”

Josh’s face went blank, as though he felt nothing, knew nothing. He pulled a black object from his waistband and without hesitation put it to his head and pulled the trigger. He dropped to the ground and was no more. Katerina, although incredibly glad she would never be accosted by this man from her past again, found herself unable to do anything more than stare at the large hole where his head had been intact just moments before. He was bleeding out all over the dead leaves and she couldn’t find a reason to be sad about it. Alexander walked over and picked up the gun, waving it around.

“Now. It looks like we have business to discuss in private, then. You were born into a warring faction, you are the last living, direct descendent of the purest line of monarchs.” He waited for understanding to cross her face, but when it didn’t, he let out an exasperated sigh. “I can’t explain our entire history! You really should have pushed harder with those lunars to tell you about who you were, who your parents were. But you won’t have the chance now, I suppose. Really too bad about it, but I guess that’s the way destiny is sometimes. Anyway, the whole thing boils down to you have to die so that we can survive. As I said, nothing personal.” Alexander raised the gun to her chest, and offered one last time. “Any last words?”

“I hope you’re happy with yourself.” She began slowly. “Because in the end, I’ll be there, waiting for you when you least expect it.”

“I’m sorry, my dear, but I’m afraid you’ll already be dead.” The sound of the bullet never really registered with Katerina, as she closed her eyes, shock already taking over. There was a gurgle of blood before her body went limp. The bullet had gone straight into her heart. Alexander was pleased with his handiwork. He cut the bonds away, wanting the chance to gloat over her dead body. “Now I have the power. And you are just a casualty of war. You weren’t worthy of all that could have been yours anyway.” Alexander backed away and disappeared into the darkness.