Gabriel's Hope (Chapter Seven, page 1 of 17)


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The new world seemed less scary in daylight. Deidre lay awake in bed for quite a while, sorting through the events of the weekend. Her insides quaked, but she breathed deeply to keep calm and focus her mind. She'd felt the same loss of control and fear when first diagnosed as terminal. She'd broken down for weeks, sobbing and refusing to leave her house.

One day, she stopped. Acceptance came relatively easily when she ceased fighting the idea that she was going to die. She tried to do the same now. Whatever she knew of the world, it no longer pertained to her circumstances. There was an entire subset of reality, and that's where she landed when she jumped off her building.

She was alive. She was still in control of herself and her mind. With a little discipline and a whole lot of open-mindedness, she'd figure this out, like she'd figured out how to live with the reality she was at death's door.

Gabriel's door. The concept of Death being humanlike in form, that she was permanently bound to him…

"Nope. Can't handle that one yet," she said, grinding her teeth. "One thing at a time, Deidre."

The thought of Gabriel made her panic. Tender one day, chopping off heads the next, Death the third and finally, reluctantly telling her they were bound together forever.

She had the shittiest luck. No, she wasn't ready for Gabriel yet, no matter how strongly her body responded to his smallest touch. She did a few more breathing exercises until she felt ready to step outside her room to face the new world. There were clothes in the dresser, not quite her size but not too far off. She took a hot shower in the cramped bathroom off the side of her room then pulled on the clothes.

The Sanctuary was plain to the point of austere, with no luxuries. Her room was tiny, barely fitting a twin-sized bed and a small, wooden dresser. It was comfortable, like a little cave where she could hide. The sounds of the ocean and the sea breeze lulled her to sleep last night and gently drew her awake before sunrise. She opened the heavy wooden door and stepped into an open-air hallway. She'd seen a handful of nuns yesterday, and only Daniela spoke to her.

She took three steps away from her cave. Nothing went wrong. It was a good start.

Deidre walked into one of four courtyards she'd discovered roaming the day before. She couldn't tell them apart yet and looked around to determine if this courtyard was the one near the medieval cafeteria or not.

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