Death came for me with both hands. This was something I’d been training for my entire life, but people telling you that you’ll face Death, with a capital D, and facing Death are two very different things.
They didn’t prepare me for the cold. Sharp, burning iciness radiated into me, leeching my warmth where his hands gripped my throat. “Your time is up Sonya. Your name’s on my list. You’ll be reaped, just like the others,” Death said. His voice was enticing, like a sweet ice tea on a scorching hot summer day, tempting you to embrace the coldness.
“Sorry, that doesn’t work for me,” I rasped. My fist caught his jaw, only succeeding in knocking down his hood and probably breaking a knuckle.
He laughed and I glared into his eyes. They were so light, almost white. You could see great sorrow there. It almost made me feel sorry for what I was about to do, almost.
I kicked him in the stones as hard as I could, while sweeping my arms across his to break the hold he still had on my throat.
His laughter shook my entire body. “Do you think Death feels pain? You can’t physically harm me. Just give into it and this will be much easier for both of us.”
“Fine, I’ll give into my baser instincts.” My head dropped back and my eyes glowed with the tell, tell signs of something otherworldly.
“A lycanthrope? They are getting desperate to catch me. It doesn’t matter, you’ll die just like the rest.”
I tried to finish the change, but my energy was depleted. If I didn’t transform soon I was going to die.
“Having trouble are we?”
“You could just help us you know?”
“I’m bound by the Laws of Nature.”
“I’m honor bound to change your mind one way or another.”
“You will die first.”
“You really don’t care that they’re slaughtering thousands for their own entertainment?” He said nothing, but his grip loosened a little. “You’re one of the most powerful beings still around. You’re too powerful for someone to control, even my people. Power corrupts. So, if you’d just help…”
“I can’t. I wish I could help you,” he said as his grip tightened and the cold intensified. “I’m sorry.”
You know that saying, if you back a dog into a corner it’s going to bite? I was weak from my partial change and on the brink of death. I needed an external power source to fuel my change. Normally, that would be from the pack or the moon. Death severed those links. My heart faltered and something snapped into place. The only available power source was Death, and somehow I used it. Focusing on the painless void until it was mine. The power seemed endless, healing me, and replenishing my lost life. I reveled in it. Then there was nothing, but the echoes of power lingering in me.
“What the hell did you do?”
“Look, I can’t hurt you. You can’t kill me. You can help me now or I can follow you around forever pissing you off at every opportunity until you help us. Either way you’re going to help me. One just has a substantially less body count.”
“Seriously, what the hell did you do?” he repeated.
She grinned at him.
“I could probably figure out how to kill you.”
“By that time you’d miss me. So, you couldn’t do it.”
“Doubtful,” he said dryly. “I have to warn you, when the Laws of Nature are broken the consequences are unpredictable.”
“Honey, I’m a walking example of what happens when the Laws of Nature are broken. We have a tyrant to overthrow.”