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In some cultures, what I do is considered normal.
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((Here we go. All GMing in this thread is with full permission.))

Annaliese heard someone call out her name and feet pounding on pavement. With extreme effort, she turned her head towards the sound. It was probably a really bad sign that it was so hard to do that. It was Alex, who was down near her. ‘Hi Alex,’ she silently greeted the other girl. ‘Where’s Ray?’

Her unvoiced query was answered when Ray joined Alex next to her. She wanted to talk to him, but her lips moved silently. There was so much she wanted to tell him, but she couldn’t gather enough air.

Ray reached out and gathered her up in his arms, heedless of the blood. "Annaliese...Annalie..Why...Why did you come in here without us?"

She could hear the emotion in his voice. Oh, this isn’t how this was supposed to go at all. She was doing this so he would be less upset with her, not more. She wanted to reassure him. It would all be okay, she was sure of it now. Gathering up her will, she slowly reached up and gently rested her fingers against his cheek.

When they had started their journey together, she was sure that it was because he had something to teach her. But she understood now why they had been placed together. It was all leading up to this. This was her job. To teach him how it was all going to be okay. It wasn’t about control and dominating. It was about letting go and having things unfold as they were supposed to. It was about the journey, not the destination.

Ray was frantically apologizing. "I'm sorry, I wasn't mad at you...I wasn't. I'm so sorry.."

Oh, when did it get so cold in here? Fine tremors started to run through her. Now, in this place, in this time, she finally understood and she had to make him understand. It would all be okay.

She pushed her fingertips into his cheek slightly to get his attention. There would only be once chance to make him understand, she knew it. She was fading fast now. It was getting hard to keep her eyes open.

She struggled to find the word to explain what she was feeling, but it was getting so hard to think and she wasn’t even sure she had the right words. Instead, she could only hope that he could see what she was trying to tell him. “Sssshhh…” she whispered at him, a small grin on her face. “I understand…it’s all okay.”

She locked her eyes on his and willed him to understand. Please don’t cry. This isn’t the end. I get it now. This is only the beginning. You, me, Alex, Jimmy…this isn’t all there is. It’s just the beginning and it’s glorious.

She didn’t have the strength to keep her hand on his cheek, which was so wonderfully warm and alive. She knitted her brow as she spotted the blood trail she had accidentally left on him. She needed to tell him to wipe that off. And she would. In just a second. She just needed to blink and gather her thoughts.

Annaliese closed her eyes and softly exhaled.

G073 – Annaliese Hansen deceased
Version 5
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