Does it hurt?

He writhes. He hums with a new feeling, a new sense to him. She watches him melt, and renew himself upon these hidden sands, deep in the back of a skull too often cracked upon pavement and stone and clay.

His chest bubbles and boils.

His head sears with a blinding, agonizing pain.

Are you regretful? Do you wish to be alone?
No. Don’t leave me.

She purrs. She rumbles.
You don’t need me.
I do.
You don’t. Breathe.

Screaming. His back arches impossibly and he claws at his face, his head, rips and flays his skin apart until it reforms over him. This is not the first suit you’ve worn. This is not the first soul you’ve pieced back together in the slightest – he’s not going down without a struggle, without a fight. He is a monster of regret, a monument to the greatest of his sins.

She leans over him. He weeps.

You are not a coward, because you cower in the shadows, cub.

She leans in. Her broad, flat and rough tongue presses to his forehead.

You are brave, because they broke you. It broke you. Rise, and breathe.

He inhales. He screams. He bellows.

He roars. And he is alone.


*  *  *  *


His eyes open.

Author quorgi
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