Again it was the pain that woke me. It seemed like all there was in the world was the pain and nothing else. Even the memory of the angel had faded away, her golden hair and perfect skin now just a thought lost to the recesses of my pain. I tried to remember where I was, tried to remember the anger and the passion that had been so fervent before, but now I only knew the pain.
Ever so slowly though, I began to feel things from outside this realm. First it was the feeling of fabric beneath me. Threadbare and worn, but soft to the touch. Touch..my fingers! Coarse and rough, but I could feel them again. Then I opened my eyes.
The light wasn't as bright this time, just the soft dull glow from a small bit of tallow on the table beside me. I was in a room I had never seen before. There was a table with the candle and a wash basin and a chair against the corner. There was a small window across from the bed I was laying on. The walls were white stucco, but well washed and clean. The door to the room was cracked open, but there was nothing but darkness outside.
I tried to lift my arms from beneath the sheets, but they were sluggish and slow. Every motion sent a fresh wave of agony through me. I tried to speak but only a dull croak escaped my throat, my lips chapped and cut. I desperately tried to work a bit of spit up in my dry mouth to lick my lips, as maybe that would quell one instant of pain.
I closed my eyes trying to wall off the pain, but when I closed them this time something more painful than the hurt came back, it was her face. My wife. My daughter. Dead. A pain so powerful that even the roar of my body paled in comparison. Somewhere deep within, I let free a wail bringing with it a coughing fit of blood and phlegm.
It was then I saw the glow of a light outside my door and it pull open. There, framed by the glow of candlelight, was my angel. She wore a white cotton sleeping gown that had seen better days and her hair was pulled into a loose nest of pins and bangs. She quickly came to my bed and whispered soft words of encouragement that at the time I couldn't hear, but looking back realized they were meant to calm me.
I had managed to spit out that one sentence as she pressed a damp cloth to my head. She rubbed my head soothingly as she talked.
"My name is Maggie Lawson, I live in Sedation Falls. I found you down by the river, half drowned and mostly dead. I brought you home and me and my Pa patched you up. He said in alla his years he never seen someone as ornery as you as to spit in the devils eye and cling ta life like you did."
I should have said I was surprised to still be alive but I wasn't, I knew why I was here and I knew what I had to do. Three men had killed my family. They had raped and tortured them for a lousy piece of farm land. I knew what my job was and why I was still alive. Revenge. Plain, simple, cold blooded revenge.
End of Line.