Chapter Fourteen: What Could Have Been

Luc found Charlene at the cemetery, standing against the morning wind in front of two headstones. Luc hurried up to her and grabbed her in a tight hug.  

She turned inside his grasp and kissed him with sudden ferocity until she collapsed, ceding her weight to his arms and resting her glistening cheek on his chest.  

He cried out to her, "What’s going on? Are you alright?" 

Charlene sobbed, tears streaming from her face. "I’m sorry. I’m sorry."  

"What are you sorry for, Sorry for what?" 

Charlene replied through her tears. "I shouldn’t have brought you into this. I shouldn’t have let you in, it’s too dangerous." 

Luc held her tightly. "Dangerous? Baby, I’ve been shot at. Lots. There isn’t much that scares me." 

Charlene leaned back to look at him. "There should be. There are things about me that you won’t ever understand." 

Charlene tore herself from Luc’s grasp and put her face in her hands as she returned to face the headstones. 

Luc asked, "Why are you here, baby? Were these your parents?" 

"No, my parents are buried over there." She motioned to another part of the graveyard. In the spirit world, their ghosts looked back at her, grieving for their eternally lost child.  

Luc asked, "Then who are these people?" Luc looked at the headstones for Ken and Janet MacKellar.  

"I knew Ken well, from his days drinking at Lucky’s. Before he died, he did something that is very rare, he turned his life around, beat his demons and lived out his days with the woman he loved. That was what I hoped for us."

Charlene turned back to Luc and embraced him again. He held her away from him and looked at her closely. "Tell me what’s going on."  

Charlene said, "I can’t. You wouldn’t understand. I’m not like what you think. I’m not myself around you."  

"What? Are you some kind of axe murderer? Come on baby, there’s nothing you can tell me that will change how I feel about you."  

Charlene pulled back from Luc, holding his gaze.  "I did something a long time ago... I made a deal with the Devil that I can’t take back..."

"We all make mistakes. There isn’t anything we can’t get through. We all make deals that turn out bad, baby." Luc said, holding her by the arms.  

"Not this bad, baby, not this bad." 

At that moment Charlene flew up and back like she was pulled by line in the sky. She became totally enveloped in a vortex of ash and fire.  

The maelstrom turned to pure bright flame as she changed before his eyes into her devil form. Her wings stretched back in agony as they burned, her form turning to soft ash and blowing away in the mountain breeze. 

As her form was consumed by the flames, her eyes reached out again to Luc. Somehow, through the flames and the agony she mouthed, "I love you." 

~~~~~

~~~~~

Luc fell to his knees, dazed by what he just seen. He held two handfuls of soft grey ash, as they too blew away in the wind. He was soon left with nothing but soft depressions in the cemetery grass to remind him that she had ever been there at all.  

Steeling himself, he rose to his feet and looked once more at the two headstones, two lovers together forever and set out to find the Devil. 

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