Counterclockwise (2017-03-25)

“Hey!” she screams up at the sky, empty and silent and useless, “How long are you going to wait? Haven’t I done enough?”

There is nothing around her, nothing for the sound to bounce back, no echoes just her voice lost to eternity.

She’s reached a new low. Now she does not want an ending. She needs it. And she’s demanding it.

She doesn’t know if there is a god up there, one who will smite her for her hubris or will take pity on her. She’s met people with fantastic powers, people with immortality, people with both. She’s met beings who go by the terms angels and demons. She’s met spirits of long passed people, spirits of ideas, spirits of natural formations. Once, she met a spirit of red crayons who gave her a surprisingly legitimate treasure map after she did it a great service.

But she’s never met a god.

She thinks, if she ever does, she’s going to punch it in its face.

She’s become riskier over the years. Vicious and flippant and aggressive over the eons. Once, she was just some civilian who thought fighting was the arguments she had with her siblings over whose turn it was to do the dishes.

Now she runs headfirst into battles, brushing past a literal invulnerable man and sneering, “Why are you hesitating? What’s the worst that can happen? We’ll die?”

Once, meeting Apex had brought stars to her eyes. Had reaffirmed her confidence that maybe she could one day be hero, too.

Now she is the team’s walking time bomb, all shrapnel and fire and incandescent rage, even he is afraid to follow where she goes.

Sometimes, she wonders, if he had just said something then–years in the future for him, but ages in the past for her–if he had warned her away, would anything have changed?

All these what ifs, more heady and seductive with the growing power in her palm, like coins rattling in a jar, or gleaming at the bottom of a fountain. What if she could just pluck them up and hold them to the sun and wish?

How much more does she need? What is the quota? Or maybe, she thinks, there is none. There is no mystical, mysterious finish line that she needs to cross. There is no time card to punch out, no hours to dock, no sick days or annual bonuses. Seasons barely mean anything to her, she doesn’t know when her last birthday was. She’s beginning to forget what her family looked like.

No wonder Bastian was so mad when they first met: she’s finally on her way to joining him.

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