Author’s Note – Here’s another little scene that doesn’t physically appear in The Arbitratus Trilogy, but it could. It fits into Always Darkest, or Before the Dawn. Mal spends a lot of time worrying about Ben, about their future. This is just a moment of real vulnerability that she tries to keep to herself.
Mal came back to bed quietly. She didn’t want to wake him, but she didn’t think she could go back to sleep. At least they both preferred sleeping with the light on lately. So, that wouldn’t disturb him.
She chewed her lip for a few minutes, staring off into space. Nope, definitely not sleepy anymore. And no wonder, after the dream she’d had.
She wouldn’t let herself focus on or recall any of the details too vividly.
All she knew was that they’d been in danger and Ben put himself in the way of devils and angels in a place of almost total darkness and that some great Being who she thought must have been God showed up and instead of helping, instead of saving Ben, He’d turned away indifferently.
Ben had looked at her with eyes like hot coals. He was burning from the inside.
He couldn’t even cry out.
He wasn’t being consumed by fire, he was becoming it.
She fell to her knees and he just started disappearing, flaking away like paper in a hot stove.
She’d woken up so sweaty and shaky, she’d needed to change her clothes and go get a cup of tea. The idea of losing him to Hell, or any other power, plagued her more and more these days. Now, she felt tremors still coursing up and down her arms.
Maybe a distraction would help.
Now was as good a time as any to use her journal, she supposed. She reached for it, balanced on the edge of her nightstand.Pen in hand, she stared at a blank page for a long time.
A tear struck the empty space and made a bright purple blotch on the pale lavender paper.
She blinked and it was joined by more. She set it aside and hugged her knees, burying her face and trying to keep her sobs quiet.
“Please,” she whispered.
She hadn’t prayed in a long time. And it didn’t get any more articulate than that. But she thought. Hoped. Believed. That if anyone was listening, He’d know what her desperate plea meant.