Prologue
24 October
03:37

The choppers were landing in the darkness as we left the ruined building. I buried my face in his neck as the sand blew up around us and he held me tighter against him. I almost laughed that in all my dealings in the past years, this was how I was going to die. At least our mission had been successful and the good-guys were now here to take us home.

Someone yelled something, but I was beyond hearing now. All I could see were the backs of my eyelids as I rested against the coarseness of his garb. I wanted to hold on until we were at least back on home territory, but I didn't think I could hold a care much longer. I no longer hurt. I knew that everyone else was okay and that was all that mattered. In my line of work, everyone dies. I had used up my nine lives and now it was my turn.

If I hadn't deserved this ending I would have sworn aloud because now everything was going right in the world and I wanted to be part of it. Maybe I should have thought about that a long time ago; back when I still had a shot of staying out of Hell. Instead, I barged right into it, teasing the Prince of Darkness enough that he himself had risen from the flames to get me. At least now it would be over and I could rest.

Rest.

What a wonderful idea.

Oh, wait, don't let go, you were warm, and I am becoming so very cold.

Come back.

I never wanted to die alone.

Then again, I deserve no better.