(From the Eternals Series)

Misery and Resentment stood hand in hand over the corpse at their feet. It was another victim, dying of a sickness that was infecting millions, silent and ruthless in its killing ways.

A line of blood trickled from the nose of the dying woman. Rouge over blue lips and pale skin. Her eyes looking out beyond life and the struggle, seeming to focus on a distant place, at the horizon of the mortal realm where her soul would crest reality and move on into the darkness beyond pain. A single strand of black hair hung down over her face, tickling the nerves that would soon never again feel. All sensation drifting away from the final thoughts her mind struggled to construct. A single tear loosed from her eye, drawing a line of dew and dropping from the crest of her cheek into the dirt on which her body failed.

The pair looked down on Cassie and her disintegration, watching for the moment they could feed on their kill. Misery in the body of a small black haired girl, Resentment her twin with red hair, both in black jumpers over white blouses, both of them the image of horrific human facsimiles.

Misery sensed it was coming. She loosed her hand from her sisters and knelt, moving in for a kiss. Suddenly, the pools of that last lingering life in Cassie drained away and Misery pressed her lips to hers, drawing in that last of the sad woman’s breath from the dark depths within her. This was their kill, and Cassie’s essence was their reward, ensuring her soul would not move on to that promised place beyond life.

As Misery stood and licked the taste of Cassie’s lips from hers she grasped her sisters hand once again. It was time to share the energy of this life with her. Theirs was a perfect arrangement. Resentment would trap the weak, and Misery would encourage them to give into the sickness. Locked together, the pair had claimed many souls in this world, but Cassie was special to them.

“She could have refused me any time,” said Misery, “that is always their choice. But they never choose to refund their suffering. They choose, in the end, to embrace the only way we leave for them to escape their pain.”

“Yes,” replied Resentment, freeing her hand to pull her red pig-tails tight against her doll like features. “She loved me and in turn I was able to deliver her into your waiting arms. So sad, so sad… silly little Blackbird, she chose to fly and fell, broken and alone. She should have listened to Regret when he came to her, but Blackbirds never learn. You know, she told me she wanted kids, a house and a husband. Picket fences and P.T.A. meetings, but look at her now, ending up nothing more than the summation of her illness. If only Sadness was here, she would have enjoyed this, but she’s such a bore…”

“Well, we all have our faults sister. Cassie chose her poison, and really, Sadness, she wouldn’t have enjoyed this one. Cassie never let the world see her pain. No, I think she knew she was doomed and she never wished to infect others with her disease. And just look at our Blackbird, broken and alone, with clipped wings, lying in this alley. What a spot she chose! Between an abandoned building and a dumpster; how perfect! She would have been loath to die anywhere else. Here she felt at home; filthy, lost… wounded.  She couldn’t find her way out if she wanted to, and that made her my best friend in the end.

“I so love it when they play with me as thoroughly as this one did,” Misery quipped in a warm and loving tone.

The finality of existence began to set in on Cassie, her body finally succumbing to the pull of gravity being amplified by death. Muscles sank into the detritus materials of her ossuary. Her hair being tossed into the dust of her grave by the passing breeze. Her body now worth no more that the rocks and wrappers, the beer and bum piss; finally paying the reaper his pound of flesh.

“You know, I feel a little sad for these ones,” Misery said as she took Resentments hand again. “They only play our game when they lose touch with Gratitude and Hope, but they are such a fickle couple. They walk away as soon as they are out of the spotlight. As soon as you lose sight of what matters to them Gratitude drags Hope out and before you know it they are miles away; out of sight and out of mind.”

Resentment yawned. “Don’t feel sad for Blackbirds sister. They choose this, they always choose this. That is why they are such easy prey.”

As the flies drew in onto Cassie’s eyes Resentment tugged at Misery’s hand. “Come darkness, this one is spent, and I hear the knell of another dinner bell racing towards the hospital.”

The two creatures began skipping towards the busy street and suddenly fade into the breeze. Only the sound of their clicking shoes reaches the street and is quickly lost in the din of the city.


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