MINI-SYNOPSIS: Just a bit more on Raeanne's Past.


NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I've decided to fill in a tiny gap that has, up until this point, not been acknowledged in my girl's history. Boring & ultimately tasteless, this riveting chunk should captivate you. If not... well, I kinda warned you. =)

Morning dew.

If you've woken up to the scent sucking the life out of your nostrils for the first seven years of your life you would find it could rouse you from some of the deepest of sleeps, even if you have a small stretch of eternity to forget it. Though it was more of an unconscious state I was jolted from because of the unmistakable scent on the day I woke up face down in the grass of the Common. The first day of my rebirth, if you would like to call it that. However, I never looked at it quite like a rebirth. My death - it was the first day I started to die.

There was blood in my eyelashes & somehow I knew it was not my own. A pain had instantly started to engulf my chest cavity, sending a fire tearing through my body in massive tidal waves, rippling with each spasm throughout every muscle strung up inside my body. The morning mist must have absorbed into my clothing because the dress I was wearing was soaking wet. Or maybe it was sweat. The kind of cold sweat that breaks loose on your body when severe trauma is applied. A fist full of the material that made up my sleeve was gathered into a tangle of my fingers & without thinking, I blotted the fine material over my eyes to clear away some of the blood.

Able to barely see, I opened my eyes as wide as I could afford & gave the area around me a brief glance. Simple seconds were spent on attempting to remember the night before, but when I failed to build a complete picture, I gave up hopelessly & began to focus on the body lying a few feet away from me. Of course, I recognized it as my brother's body lying there. He was a familiar figure I couldn't deny recognition. A laugh sounded out from my dry throat, as if it was just another day in our excessive lives. A tiny voice had me kicking myself, & cursing Brandon, for being so stupid. For getting drunk for the fifth night in a row & taking yet another celebration just a little too far.

Realization set in when my eyes focused in on his back. The silvery blue cloth stretched across it wasn't moving. Wasn't even faintly rising & falling with a shallow breath pulsing deep in what would have been his lungs. He wasn't breathing... I was on my hands & knees as the fact broke across my head & splintered into several pieces. Crawling over to his seemingly lifeless body, trying desperately to grip composure, I had to see what it was. I had to visually wrap my mind around the source of his apparent death. I guess I thought if I didn't see any wounds, if there wasn't any blood, then it was some alcohol induced coma. That's all. I would work twice as hard at the factory to pay for medical care, & I'd wait until he woke up to discuss payment plans.

As I turned his body gently over, his throat was the first thing I saw. And my hidden worst fear was cemented. Red... like an overly expensive sports car that no one can take seriously. The kind of red reserved for ridiculous holidays, tucked away in the closet for days when you doubt your choices. And lumpy... chunks of flesh torn & discarded. I blinked, as if the shock of the situation was sitting beside me, patiently waiting for the correct moment to seize me & devour my entire being whole. Pressing my wrists against my burning eyes, I felt like a child. Maybe in some ways I still was & everything happening before me was inappropriate. I shouldn't have been alone in some strange city with only one of my brothers with me. I shouldn't have been filling myself up on liquor, consuming mass amounts of drugs & knowing people in ways I shouldn't know them. Most importantly, I shouldn't have been sitting next to my brother's dead body in the middle of a park early in the morning of some day I couldn't even place.

It was all wrong. I didn't understand anything. And the burning sensation was steadily growing in an uncomfortable manner. The cold sweat was back, catching my raven curls & matting them against my suddenly pale skin. There was a lump in my throat, made of a hard matter, & it was lodged. I hadn't tried to get it up, but when I did it refused. Looking back, I realize now that it wasn't so much a lump as it was a thick mucus. The refusal to come up, even the mucus itself, was my body shutting down. I started to shake. My fingers had found their way to my own throat, fingertips caked in dried blood running over an unusually marred surface. I had my own wound, identical in many ways to my brother's.

A voice broke through the silence, screams drawing closer with each word. My eyes drifted up from Brandon's face & locked on a man in an officer's suit running toward me. I got to my feet, standing unsteadily on my long shaky legs, looking the body before me over once more. "He's not moving, I think he might be dead," I looked up at the officer who had come to stop right in front of us, panting with wide eyes, "Do you think he's dead?" He looked over at me, really it was my neck that had him surprised, a look of disbelief blanketing his fair features. Removing his cap, he ran a few fingers through his neatly combed hair.

"Aye... it's not him I'm worried about. Are you all right, lass?" He said it quietly, pivoting on his left foot slightly, as if he was prepared to catch me should I fall. I blinked slowly, nodding at him. For some strange reason, it was true. I was all right. How extremely unfair.

The next day, late at night in a forgotten cemetery, I was standing over a pine box next to a freshly dug hole. The pain that had terrorized me from the time I woke the day before had never subsided, forcing sleep further away from me. I had taken to pressing my palms against my abdomen with the hopes it would dull the pain, but it didn't help at all. On top of things, I had continued to sweat & the mucus was ever present. I couldn't bring myself to "ease" the pain, I was shaking too damn much to even feed myself. But really, I didn't want food. The thought of it made me sick.

"Did you put in the coins?" I mumbled, looking over at the priest & grave digger huddled together on the other side of the hole. They seemed to be afraid of me. At that point, I was no longer a sweet sight. My face looked worn beyond my years. Lines had surfaced in places I had never thought possible. My skin's natural radiance had disappeared, replaced by an unsettling pasty pale color. And I was shaking. Fits tugging on every inch of my body. No intervals. A constant stream. Hell, I was scaring myself.

"Read the passage..." I said clearly, suddenly ready to finish things up so I could go convulse elsewhere.

The priest looked startled. Clearing his throat & opening the Bible in his hands, he removed the marker & began to read. "Let those be put to shame and brought to dishonor who seek my life. Let those be turned back and brought to confusion who plot my hurt," he paused to look up at me & I nodded, "Let them be like chaff before the wind. And let the angel of the Lord chase them. Let their way be dark and slippery, and let the angel of the Lord pursue them. For without cause they have hidden their net for me in a pit. Which they have dug without cause for my life. Let destruction come upon him unexpectedly, and let his net that he has hidden catch himself... into that very destruction let him fall."

I had chosen the passage without actually understanding what I was choosing. Subconsciously, there must have been a part of me thinking that particular one needed to be given to the air before Brandon was put into the ground. He would get what he had given. Not Bran, but the man who had done this. The entire message hadn't hit me yet, I had other things presenting themselves. Slowly, I turned from the priest & grave digger. The priest had shut the Bible & was praying in Latin with closed eyes. The grave digger was smoking a rollie off to the side, looking disinterested through puffs of tobacco smoke. He looked about as concerned about the situation as I did...

An hour later I was laid out on the floor of the place I had been living with Brandon for the past two years, retching & sobbing simultaneously. Half way into delirium an intense calmness took over, & I breathed what turned out to be my very last needed breath. The throbbing pain that had once been gnawing at my abdomen dissipated. Images of my short life soared through my mind. Each face that belonged to all of my brothers. My mother. My father. The boat to America. The house we lived in for four years. My parents & oldest brother's funerals. The move to New Orleans. Every single thought I ever possessed whispered in my ears. And then there was silence all at once. My eyes opened, wider than ever before, & I sat up. The one room flat I'd only known for the previous two years looked different. Every stitch of it received crisper. The sound of the leaking faucet across the room pounded around me. I tore the bandage from over my neck, running those same fingertips over what should have still been that marred surface. Only it was gone, a tingling feeling exhausting itself in its place.

I was starving. Nothing tasted how it should've. Everything was bitter, & I was making myself sick. I'd chew a piece of cheese, or a morsel of bread, but I'd be trying too hard to satiate my hunger. I found myself spitting things back up into the sink. Another pain had started to swell inside of me, unlike the first. In the back of the small icebox we had, my sights came to rest on a slab of meat sitting on a plate. The plate was covered in blood, God knows how long it had been there waiting to be cooked. I peered into the icebox at it, my leg starting to shake nervously. I wanted it. All of it. I could imagine myself actually licking the plate after I ate it & a shiver stumbled through my body. My face tightened up, tears filling to the brim of my eyes, & I looked around the room for anything to take its place. If I was going to go crazy, why not eat flowers or linens. Something, anything, other than the bloody raw meat.

A growl produced itself from the confines of my still dry throat & I yanked the plate from the one shelf of the icebox, slamming the door shut.