Friday, December 24, 2021

Because I could not stop for Death

How fast could I
should I
to escape
this fate?

How many pills
research skills
will it take

To avoid the nightmare
that keeps me awake

Six years and many thousands spent
but while money can be remade
can I?

How much research
how many trials
how many doctors
how many miles
'til I die?

How fast could I
should I
or should I, Death, embrace?
How fast could I
should I
ere I should see His Face?

Because I could not stop for Death –
He kindly stopped for me –
The Carriage held but just Ourselves –
And Immortality.

Friday, November 5, 2021

Maybe I was forged in fire - burned, beaten, molded to my present shape.

Or maybe Something knew the fires I would face, and forged me as I am, in a shape that would - and will - withstand the flames.

Friday, October 15, 2021

You Deserved Better

Did you love me like you loved her and I just missed it?

Was that energy there - did I kiss it?

Was it hanging from my lips, tingling in fingertips
all those texts and those talks - what tipped it?


Goodbye was among the hardest things to do

but when we said it, I didn't think I was really losing you


yet here I am.


Alone and pondering the signs that I missed

or dismissed?

the things I gave weight that were weightless.

the things I overlooked - I can't take this.


See I don't want you back and I don't want to be her
but I do wish we could return to what we were
for just a little bit
so I could see fit
with 20/20 hindsight: refit
my actions
so they'd suit you better.

You deserved better.

I just didn't know how to be better at the time.

So if I could go back, I'd be me in my prime
and you wouldn't have had to hurt.

You deserved better.

I just didn't know how to be better at the time.

Thursday, September 16, 2021

The Prize

I'ts always offense or defense
No whisltes. Always offsides.
The goalposts - unattanable -
are nevertheless within sight.

Was there ever a time we weren't playing
same colors but on different teams?
It's always offense or defence
At least that's how this all seems.

It's always offense or defense
with each of us counting the downs
same plays but on different teams
round and round
losing ground
at least that's how it seems.

It's always offense or defense
No whistles, always offisides.
But I'm fucking tired of playing
here's my white flag; take your prize.

I know you're still reading.
What do you think awaits you here?
Why're you so obsessed with me?
Good people rot in forgotten graves.
Great people leave victims and statues in their wakes.

Saturday, September 4, 2021

Say all of your sacred words
the scarab, safe, resides
but I am bound for Ammit
for my heart of stone abides.

Sunday, August 22, 2021

I still think of you

We were doomed from the outset,
you and I.
But doomed to connect, too
stars in our eyes.
You wanted more.
I was unsure.
And when I came around,
you were gone.
Moving on...
to India, or so I heard.

We were doomed from the outset,
you and I.
But though Time, she passes
I still wonder why
we were doomed to connect
Fated to try
stars in our eyes.
stars in our eyes.

Friday, August 20, 2021

Quoth the Raven: Nevermore

Contemplating cognizance - or, more accuretly, its absence.
I don't believe in an afterlife or a next one, so, if you wanna take this journey with me, we should start on that same page.
With that in mind, I see death as a loss of cognizance.
Where once there was a person with thoughts, feelings, emotions, experiences, there is now... a stinky meat suit.
Not exactly "uplifting," I know... but not such a tragedy either.
After all, in my version of events, things - as far as you know anyway - go back to the way they were before you were born. Just... nothing. And that wasn't so bad, right?
Especially when a large percentage of the human population believes that folks who don't think like they do will roast for all eternity in a lake of fire (Yikes!).
Oblivion is starting to sound pretty good, yeah?
Anyway, it's not the absence of cognizance that scares me (You'll be dead, so you won't be aware of it anyway).
But the LOSS? DOES.
Put succinctly, I don't want to lose the thoughts, feelings, emotions, experiences I've had.
I don't want those to disappear into the ether, and not mean anything.
What the fuck is the point in that?
What was all this fighting and striving and suffering for if "The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones."?
The absence of cognizance from before I ever existed will mimic that which will occur after I am gone... but with one glaring exception: prior to birth, I had no life. Prior to death, I had a full one.
Death is a loss that, by its very definition, no one lives long enough to rectify.
That's very hard for me to contemplate. And yet, I must contemplate it now, while I am able...because there will come the day when I cannot.
And that day is coming for you, too.
For all of us.
They say the memory of every person, with the exception of the famed, is gone within 3 generations.
Which means every problem you have or have had, every triumph, and everything in between, will be lost to time and living memory in a blink of the universe's eye.
I am cognizant of this now. And that cognizance, and the contemplation it inspires, is something I will miss, if I were able to miss anything - which I won't be - once I am gone.
And that's just it - I? WILL BE GONE.
And so will you. And everyone you love.
Speaking of love - love can live on, I guess, if you count your children and grandchildren. I guess those folks are a living legacy that you were once here. But even then, 3 generations out (4 if you live to be unusually old), and you, as a person, will be forgoteen.
Maybe the best immortality we can claim resides in our gut, as we pass our microbes on to our offspring...
Maybe that's all we are - bacterial blueprints of those who have gone before.
Who knows?
The older I get, the more I realize I don't know that much.
And there will come a day when I know nothing - absolutely nothing - anymore.

Saturday, August 14, 2021


My grandma was right about some things.
Things I argued with her about.
Things I was a bit of a bitch about.
Things that, in retrospect, I should have show respect
even if we disagreed.
Because she loved me.
And she deserved it.

I still actively miss her.
Not because she was flawless, but
in a genuine way, despite her flaws.
In a way that I hope I can and do love others.
In the way she showed me.

I miss Madison too.
I pray to both
but Madison mostly.
Maybe that's because Wanda Jean was obligated to love me
Madison just seemed unable me.
For Madison it was a choice - though not really.
Sort of like my existence.

So yeah, I pray to Madison.
Because God doesn't seem to be listening.
or even there.
Just something we made up.
And that's BEST case scenario.
Worst case?
He's dead.
Or impotent.
Or doesn't care.
Or likes to see the suffering.

Earth's most prolific serial killer.

So yeah. "Not real" is somehow better.

And sure, that makes prayer to the dead-and-gone pointless.
As it means they're not here - or anywhere - anymore.
But at least with her - unlike Him - I got to spend actual time.
2-way interactions. Memories. Real love, even if it was only human.
As I am only human.
As my grandma was only human.
Still, I should have been kinder
even when I disagreed.
I should have spent more moments
telling her how much she meant (and still means) to me.

Friday, July 16, 2021


Double double down
down and 'round I go
spinning out of control
in your double standards.

"You can't do that!" says you
But "that"? Is exactly what
YOU do.
And you get a pass
to act catty
and crass
to straight up show your ass
whenever the mood strikes you.
I want that consideration too.
But what I want most?
Is to be nothing at all like you.

Double double down
down and 'round I go
spinning out of control

I'm not that

It's none of my business what you think of me
but the truth is you probably don't.

It's not on me force you to see where I'm coming from;
I know you won't.

The effort that's wasted -
the years I have chased it
this dream I can taste it
where you recognize I'm not that.

But I'll go to my grave
a self-captive slave
trying to disprove a negative.

And all that is left
are the negatives
in that drawer
and a never-win score
and my team that alone takes the field.

Cuz you're not in my league
and I'm not in your head
and sooner or later
you and I will be dead
and none of this shit will have mattered one shred.

As it is, my matter only matters to me
and it's none of my business what you think about that.
It's not on me to make you see I'm not that.

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

The Dive

Can you hear me?
Watch me, grandma!
Are you watching?
I'm at the lip of the pool
taking dives
so you'll watch
and clap
and tell the other souls
that I'm thriving.
Tell them about my drive
and my will to survive
and the horrors
you didn't save me from.

Did you try?
And I just couldn't hear you?
I just couldn't see?
You standing on the lip, and calling out to me?
Did you attempt the dive
to sink to my side
to warn me?
Because I know you -
and you would've
You'd have done anything you could've
to save your Girly Girly this pain.

And because I saw and heard nothing
I fear you're not here

Grandma are you there?
Have you seen Madison?
Should I keep calling out?
or are you really gone?
'Cause I need you if I'm gonna carry on.
Fuck, I miss you so much.
You live on in my mind
but my mind's not enough
'Cause I'm here at the Country Club
and though they tore it down
I'm standing on the lip
I'm fearing I'll drown.
But I won't if you're there to catch me.

Are you here?
Are you watching?
Are you near and I just
cannot hear
Grandma please
say you're somewhere - anywhere
clapping for me
Say Madison's there.
Tell me I can let go and fall free
and that even if I miss
Heaven's waiting for me
Tell me I will see you again.
Tell me I will see you again.
Tell me I will hold you again.


Thursday, June 3, 2021


I looked at that girl and thought, "No one will love me."
Stood at my mirror, scoffed, and called her ugly.
A bully with a club, I beat her down daily.

I was wrong.

Erin, I was wrong, and I'm sorry.

You were so strong, and I was so petty.
Making you feel stupid and unpretty,
when all the time, you were the best of me, really.
Out on your own and finally alone
you were learning to live bravely.
In school and earning your own
My only job at the time was your safety
and developing your mind.

I failed you. And I'm sorry.

I can't undo damage already done
but I can promise you to do better from now on.
I can promise to lift up the person
I once thought didn't deserve
the dreams she worked so hard to achieve.

I'm so sorry, Erin. Please forgive me.

You were beautiful and smart, and God, oh so strong.
You took risks, sought your truth
I should have come along
not in protest, riding your back, knife in hand
but holding you up, encouraging you and your plans.
Shoulda told you you were more than enough
Shoulda fought for you when things were tough
Shoulda told you to never give up!


Give no fucks about the fucks who're like I was
the ones with the knives and no lives
who can't see the hustle without shouting it down
the ones who tell you the odds 'stead of helping your ends
the jealous ones that aren't really your friends.
Who knows where you coulda been
shoulda been
If I'd have just been
who I shoulda been
back then.

My only defense is that I didn't know better
but now I do
so I'm gonna do
what I shoulda done back then.

Erin: you're brilliant.

You are a divine manifestation of life.
You have great ideas, and you know how to write.
You write circles 'round those whose bylines reach millions.
Erin, my girl, you are one in a million.
On any day, you can sing, dance, and act.
It's been a while, but you can always go back.
It's not over for you. You're not past your prime.
You didn't waste your life.
And if they don't want you? YOU'RE STILL MINE.


And when the time comes
cuz change is inevitable
I'll be your constant
telling you you're incredible
And if I could choose to be anyone
my answer would finally be you
and I'm sorry again for all I put you through.
From now til forever I'll be the one
to treasure you and cheer you on
like others - and I - should've done.
You're not alone.
I love you.
You're not alone.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Seeds and Hurdles

What sucks is that I think you're honestly trying.

What sucks is, maybe this really is the best you can do.

What sucks is that you're putting up hurdles between yourself and your professed goals.
I try to show you this

and, rather than take the barriers down
you throw up a few more
between you and me.

You think it's all my fault.

And I'll accept some blame.

But you?

Don't accept any.

And it's a shame.

Not just for me - though it does impact me too
what you fail to realize is that it's a shame for you.

You know enough to buy the seeds, and put the seeds outside
but you plant them along rocky road
and any blooms have died.

It's one step forward and a million back with you.

You live life thinking the Band Aid should be enough
but you refuse to clean the wound.

And anyone with the audacity to tell you it's turning septic?
Is doomed.

What sucks is that, maybe the Band Aid is all you're capable of.
Maybe the Band Aid is your only concept of love?

You think I can't see that you're trying
but that just isn't the case.
I see you're working feverishly
but sabatoging your own race.

It breaks my heart to see it
breaks my heart that you cannot
breaks my heart to know that inside
you're giving it all you've got.

Seeds and hurdles.

Seeds and hurdles.

And Band Aids on mistakes.

What sucks is, you probably learned this.
But you can unlearn it too.
and if I had one wish between us
that'd be my wish for you.

I wish that you'd put down the Band Aids
and finally clean out the wound.

I wish that you'd take down the hurdles.
They're tripping everyone in the room.

I wish that, before casting seeds
you'd address the soil - the needs
of the blooms.

Without water and light

all that effort and might

is doomed.

And no amount of fight - ing

will right the beds in your head

that wither in your hands.

It breaks my heart to see it.

It breaks my heart to be it.

It breaks my heart to know that inside
you're giving it all you've got
just to watch it rot
and die.

Seeds and hurdles.

Seeds and hurdles.

I'm sorry

I am not a very thoughtful person.

I want to be - I just kinda don't know how.

Know that friend who magicaly shows up with exactly what you need when you're in a bind?

I want to be that person.

The desire is there...

but when those situations arise, I am so emotionally stunted - so compassionately stupid - that I just kind of freeze.

My heart goes out to you. My thoughts are with you. I do actually pray for you. I send impotent words to comfort you...

But I do not know how to be the friend, sister, daughter, wife that I want to be.

This failing presents itself so often...and I cry about it...I've even read "The 5 Love Languages" and watched videos etc on how to address it. But the "answers" still don't come to me.

I have 2 friends presently in the hospital, and I feel powerless to help them.

I verbally offer to help - but that's not the same thing as, for example, when Elizabeth found out I was going to get my drug infusion and composed a list of podcasts for me to listen to while I'm in the chair for hours.

Elizabeth? Knows how to care about people.

And I murder my soul about the fact that I do not.

I tell myself terrible things - like that this is why it's probably best that I am not a mother - because I have this shocking inadequacy I cannot seem to overcome.

If you're in any way close to me - I want to love you. I honestly do. I just don't know how.

Loving is supposed to be easy and effortless, but it isn't for me.

And for that I am sorry.

It's not a failing of yours - it's an inadequacy of mine.

Sunday, April 4, 2021

I literally have no idea why I am here

I literally have no idea why I am here.
Like most, I was gifted a modicum of talent.
And please trust me when I say I did what I could to develop it - at least within the bounds of my undertsanding.
I got degrees and volunteered and autditioned and wrote and campaigned.
Some people make headway. Some don't.
I repeatedly fell into the latter category.
It still bothers me.
And stories like, "Don't give up! So-and-so was 85 before they did whatever-it-is-they're-famous for!" don't really rouse me much.
Because I've seen a pattern - there's a certain "type" of person who makes it in this world.
It's difficult to define, but you know it when you see it - hell, the French even came up with a phrase for it.
As for the rest of us?
The greatest artists of all time died in anonymity.
No one ever knew their names.
The ones we know were middle of the road.
In the grand scheme.
Think about that...
I think about that.
I literally have no idea why I am here.
I have ideas but they live and die with me.
I try to share them, but nobody's listening.
I cannot sell them. Nobody's buying.
We're kind to others because we want to be liked.
Or because Heaven is watching.
Hell, too, I guess.
The greatest brains of all time died in anonymity.
Or were martyred.
Not a great choice there.
If I just had money or time or health or energy.
Seems all I've got are excuses.
And an extra 30 pounds.
If each pound were a piece of silver
maybe I, too, could sell my soul
and at least end up in the text.
As a villain, sure.
but THAT I've accomplished.
Told by every Janus that shared my genes
the degrees
to which I am loved and hated.
I literally have no idea why I am here.
I discarded Greer
but what the fuck is Miller?
What is this flesh with neuropathy and livedo?
The heart pills. The sleep pills.
The steroids are thinning my teeth.
The healthiest humans of all time died in anonymity.
Their bones lie like yours and like mine.
Ever seen those outlines
of the dead at Pompeii
and wondered who were they?
Like most, they were gifted with a modicum of talent.
Did they work to develop it - at least within the bounds of their understanding?
Are any of them left standing?
I literally have no idea why I am here.
I don't know how much longer I will stay.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021


Growing up, I didn't have many birthday parties.

My folks didn't like other people's kids in general, or me in particular.

They didn't have tons of money.

They were young when I was born, and had me about 9 months and 1 week after their Honeymoon.

Don't misunderstand - there was never a time that my family "16 Candles"ed my birthday and completely forgot. (Though my neighbors up the street threw me my 16th birthday party because my parents had no intention of doing so. This family up the street thought that was a travesty, so they actually stepped up and did it. How fucked up is that? Ropers - thanks. I still remember and appreciate it.)

And I was luckier than some. I always received something. I wasn't Harry Potter sleeping in the cupboard under the stairs. It just always felt more like an obligation than a celebration. More like a "well, I guess we have to do something," than an actual celebration of human life. Maybe that sounds ungrateful. I'm sure that'll be the accusation. Whatever. I genuinely no longer care.

I was told some pretty terrible things about myself - who calls their 5th grader a "bitch" for not wanting to be slapped around all the time? I mean, honestly? What are you in 5th grade? 11??? - which, I guess, justififes not making a big deal about your kid on her birthday...but suffice to say that I learned at a pretty young age not to expect much. That I didn't deserve much.

This is an oversimplification - for my sanity's sake as well as your own - and there have been times over the years that attempts were made to rectify...all the things that need rectification.

I have to say that. I want to be fair.

Some people grow and change and try to do better, later. That's acknowledged.

It's appreciated.

Hell, it's even forgiven, even if it can't be forgotten.

But with that acknowledgement comes another - one that crept up on me and makes me realize just how broken I am.

And y'all brought it to my attention.

Not purposefully, but you did, just the same. (Thanks a lot, y'all.)

There are a few folks who went out of their way for my birthday this year.

And while gratitude is my first and most prevalent emotion, it's followed closely by confusion.

I literally do not understand WHY people care about my birthday.

And the fact that they do - and that they want to do things that are within their power to ensure that I do - is a concept so foreign to me that I literally do not understand how to thank or repay them (you).

I do not understand their (your) gesture.

I do not know what I am supposed to do about said gesture.

And I am stuck.

I feel unworthy - which makes me think I need to "make it up to you" somehow. Like I claimed time and energy and effort that I do not deserve, and I need to give it back to you with interest.

That I do not know how to do this makes me feel inadequate, ungrateful, and in a precarious situation because, if I do not adequately show my gratitude, I will be punished... somehow.

I do not know how to comfortably sit in love. I do not know how to take it in.

I'm so afraid of squashing it, or of it disappearing into vapor, that I stand far away from it.

I can observe it, but not interact with it.

I can marvel at it, but not understand it.

...If it disappears, I'll know I deserved its departure.

Or I will come to the inevitable conclusion that I never deserved it in the first place.

I will overanalyze what I did or did not do to make it go away.

A part of me will always be glad it came - and for that part, I thank you.

I thank you for taking 5 seconds, 5 minutes, 5 hours, or 5 years out of your life to make me feel that maybe I should have had some birthdays.

I dunno.

I'm lost.

I'm fucking lost.

40 years and this shit still doesn't make any sense to me.

For whatever it's worth - I AM grateful. I'm just broken.

I don't know how to deliver because I do not know what is expected of me.

And I'm sorry.

Friday, March 5, 2021


When my mom was having an affair with Rodger, she stole my Barbie dolls.
I was saving them - for myself, or perhaps for any future daughter I might have -  but my desires (as ever) meant less than nothing to my mother, who was gonna do what and whom she wanted to do, when she wanted to do it, no matter who she hurt.

My first memory of this was when I got 2 balloons for my birthday - a pink one and a purple one. I don't remember exactly how old I was, but it was prior to second grade, because we were still living in the house on Ebenezer. Anyway, my mom asked for one of my balloons to give to a neighbor who'd just had a baby. I didn't want to give my balloons away, but my mom announced she was taking one anyway, so the only decision I had in the matter was which one she was going to take. I said she could take the purple one. She took the pink one.

This was the first of many examples. Another was when I saved all my money to buy my own bike. I took my mom to the store and showed her which bike I wanted and gave her my money that I'd earned. She bought me a different bike, and beat me when I complained that she used my money to buy what she wanted and not what I wanted.

I guess you get the picture. 

So anyway, she gives me this spiel about a little girl she knows who is poor and whose parents cannot afford to get her Barbies. And how "selfish" (with some expletives) I am being because I will not do what she wants me to do. I continue to refuse, because I know the kid she's talking about is the kid of her... I dunno what to call him? "Mister"? (ever notice how there's no masculine equivalent for "mistress"? "Back Door Man" I guess?), and I am fucking furious that she is doing this shit, AGAIN, in our family's house, in which me, my brothers, and my dad still live.

There she is, bold as brass, entirely unrepentant, cheating AGAIN, and now calling ME the selfish one. Hey mom - if you ever read this - YOU'RE THE SELFISH ONE. Remember how we all went to Disney but couldn't go to the park for forever because YOU WANTED TO TAN BY THE POOL? Yeah. I remember.

So anyway, as with the rest of my life, I do not agree with her, so FUCK ME she does it anyway, and steals my Barbies and gives them to Rodger's kid.

By this time I am livid. And it's probably around this time all of my nightmares started... Anyway...

I am the lead in the high school musical. It's my junior year. My parent's divorce isn't final yet, but there's my mom - with Rodger - sitting in the audience of my show.

I finish. I bow. I leave. Because I don't want to have anything to do with them.

As I am walking to the car to GTFOT, I hear people calling me and I turn to see this bouncing little blonde girl running up to me. I've never seen her before, but I KNOW who she is.

I remember I had a lot of feelings as she bounded up to me - but they're confusing now. Mostly what I remember about that moment is that she radiated light.

I cannot see auras, but in my recollections, the sun shone bright and gold off of her hair. She looked like an angel.

Before I knew it, Madison was at my side, chattering away at how she's wanted to meet me. How my performance was the most amazing thing she'd ever seen. She wanted to do... things. I cannot remember exactly what because she was speaking SO FAST - a trait about her that, even as the years passed, remained a dead giveaway that she was happy and excited. But she wanted to hang out with me. A lot.

"I always wanted a sister," she said to me.

And I loved her.

I loved her with an immediacy that I can't say with certainty that I've ever felt for anyone else.

I felt it so immediately and so deeply, it felt like an impact. It felt like love collided with me. It's the closest I will ever come to holding my baby in my arms for the first time...

From that moment on, if Madison wanted something from me, she could have it. She could have all of it - my clothes, my dolls, my time, my energy, my love - all of me. To this day - more than a decade after her death, she still has all of me.

There's more to the story. The sleepovers at grandmas. The random gifts, and phone calls, and helping her prepare to sing The Star Spangled Banner (her choice) to audition for the community play. The day trips to the movies...

When I went to clean out her room after the accident, I emptied the contents of her purse. The ticket stub from the movie we'd just gone to see together was still in there. She'd kept it.

I kept it.

Thursday, February 25, 2021


There was a time
when what you thought
meant a great deal to me.
But somewhere along the line,
you crossed the line,
one or one thousand too many times.
So I did the work -
It was hard.
But I've never really
been one
to do things
the easy way.
The years, the fears, the tears
ate away
at your sway.
In the past I'd be angry
But now I find myself
Sad, perhaps.
But sad for you
and not for me.
I find myself
For the first time.

Thursday, January 28, 2021


Does passion just pass on
as we get older?

At what age do we say
that "This is okay" and that
change is no longer in order?

What's the timeline when the heart and mind
endevor to build their own borders?

We're free to be free but we choose to bury - ourselves: hoarders

Age is a cage, filled with comfort and rage
in which we willingly quarter.

Then reminisce on the times that we miss or we missed
the ones that we kissed
the ones we dismissed
the ones we assist - ed
the times we persist - ed
We subsist
on the mist - y

and cease moving forward.

Does passion just pass on?
conclusions - foregone?
when we
give in or give up
cease giving a fuck
settle for singing the same song?

Is it wrong?

At what age do we say
that "This is okay" and that
change is no longer in order?

What's the timeline when the heart and mind
endevor to build their own borders?

Age is a cage, filled with comfort and rage
in which we willingly quarter
and cease moving forward.

Friday, January 15, 2021

Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story?

Who lives, who dies, who tells your story?

Abuse, disease, one ill-fated turn.

Some die in the womb. Others are born.

There are those who succumb to depression and fear

Others? Through triumph and hardship - still here.

How many "Greats" have we lost far too young?

How many songs cut short, left unsung?

How many works of art linger on?

How many unfinished once the Master was gone?

And what of the butcher?

The baker?

The candlestick maker?

Or those who made nothing at all?

The lambs to the slaughter

the cannon fodder

the holes in the ground with no names.


Cacophony of beauty, bound up by pain

All of it teardrops, lost in the rain?

Some go and some stay.

Some scoff and some pray.

But stand, kneel, or lay

The End - it always ends the same way.

Who lives, who dies, who tells your story?

Friday, January 8, 2021

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Mattress Side

She bit down hard on the corners of her mouth as the green blips on the monitor flatlined - folks would be suspicious if she smiled.

She desperately wanted to smile though.

A metallic taste formed in her mouth. She swallowed, hoping the blood hadn't stained her teeth.

Any observer who witnessed this swallow would see it as a sign of quiet resolve. Of bravery in the face of unimaginably tragic circumstances.

But it wasn't unimaginable. Cheryl had imagined versions of this moment for a long time.

Beside the hospital bed, as her mother drew her final, labored breaths, Cheryl held the clammy hand, limp upon the mattress, and felt that familiar but elusive sensation up her spine: excitement. A chill only achieved by doing something naughty or dangerous. And getting away with it.

Any moment now...

Any moment now the breathing would cease. Any moment now, the face slacken. Any moment now the woman who gave her life would be plunged forever into darkness by the Harbinger of Death.

"Harbinger of Death," Cheryl mused. Deciding the moniker fit, and conveyed the true levels of her power, she imagined what the words would look like printed on a shirt. A low cut, tight, black one. One that would make Dr. Spencer notice...

She bit her lip again.

Mustn't smile.

The future she'd planned for, fought for, killed for, only moments away now. Her ultimate triumph hung in the air like all the empty promises and hurtful words.

"She's gone."