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Life After You

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Anna knew she was dying. She’d had many times in her (relatively) short life where she felt like she was going to die. Every damn day in the human ranch she figured would be her last. Every day she had worried that she’d finally pissed off the wrong desian and would be killed as punishment. Even once she’d escaped that Martel-forsaken place, she feared that she would be found and then returned to the ranch, or just killed outright. Kratos tried to keep her safe, keep her mind off her fears, but sometimes they’d return, unbidden and unwanted, to haunt her.

But now, Anna knew, THIS was what dying felt like. She’d known it was going to happen the moment Kvar had grabbed her, his rough hand around her throat. The fear of death only increased when he ripped the exsphere out of her left hand. Kratos, ever her guardian angel, tried to tell her it would all be okay. He tried to fight the desians, raining judgement down upon them all. But Kvar had brought an army.

She wished she had the strength to snort at that now, even if this crystal was oh so important, a whole army seemed a little like overkill. Then again, Kratos had managed to slaughter the entire aforementioned army. Maybe it wasn’t overkill after all.

Kvar had disappeared though. Left the moment he’d unleashed the monster. He was a coward, Anna knew this. And yet, something just seemed so wrong about him unleashing her on her loving family and then leaving as if he hadn’t just destroyed three lives.

At least, she reasoned, Kratos’ had gotten a hit on him before he disappeared.

Kratos hadn’t been able to continue chasing after Kvar though, because then she had tried to kill Lloyd.

Anna knew at that moment that there wasn’t another option. In a moment of mental clarity, she had pleaded for Kratos to kill her, to save their son.

And he had. Cut off her arm. Stabbed her. Then the cliff crumbled beneath her body, sending her careening down to the forest below.

Her tumble down the cliff had made her hit her head, hard, and she was falling in and out of consciousness. Where her left arm should have been was a stump gushing crimson blood onto the dirt floor of the forest. Idly, she wondered if her blood would help the plants grow.

Lloyd was cradled against her body, clutched in her right arm, her only arm. His cries had stopped. Anna only knew he was alive because she could feel his shallow breath against her neck.

She felt her eyes close involuntarily again and when she opened them, a figure was walking toward her. She couldn’t make them out but still felt her heart leap in her chest. Kratos had found them.

“Kra-tos,” she croaked out. Anna’s whole body was on fire, flames licking where her arm should have been. With every breath she took, she could feel a sharp, stabbing pain in her lungs. Her head throbbed and a copper taste had flooded her mouth.

The figure rushed towards her and dropped to their knees. In the moment before her eyes closed again, Anna felt her heart give a painful clench. It wasn’t Kratos that had found them.

The man was speaking to her, a low sound that sounded much too worried to be a desian. His voice was garbled, getting worse and more distorted as the pounding in her head increased.

She forced her eyes open. The man had brown hair and a brown beard. He was no one she knew, desian or ally.

Anna could feel her eyes closing again. Her body wanting to sleep even as her brain screamed for her to fight the fogginess that had overtaken her mind. She had to stay awake, had to protect her son. She had to find Kratos.

The last thought Anna had before the darkness claimed her, was that surely Kratos would find them soon. Surely he wouldn’t begrudge her resting her eyes for a moment. He’d find them. Besides, Lloyd was okay. Lloyd was breathing. Even if she wasn’t going to live (she was dying after all), Kratos would take good care of their baby boy, even without her.