The yellowing picture stood a relic, a faded testament to the past, the sole survivor of an age thoroughly forgotten by all but a few. I picked it up and cradled it gently in my hands, as if it were a new life and not a husked out remnant. As I stared, my vision blurred with tears that I refused to shed and my mind's grip on the present slipped and slid back into memories.
Fondness gave the whole world of the not so distant past a fanciful golden hue. As I watched from my six year old self's eyes, a young girl about my age at that time, came flouncing up to me, hair bouncing, pretty blue eyes shining and with a smile that could persuade the Devil to trade the damning fires of hell for a quite life in the suburbs raising money for charities in the third world. Her chestnut hair streamed out like a shimmering ribbon behind her. The only imperfection was the illicit hemming of mud around the bottom of her impractically white dress. But this only endeared her to me. As she drew near, my own lips split into a smile so wide it threatened to stretch from ear to ear, a smile that only she could cause to rise.
We tramped from place to place, roaming all over the vast expanse of her garden. Her house sprawled on land of over five acres, due to old money that came from a great-great-grandfather who traded in goods from the east. As you would imagine, our unlikely allying was frowned on by her parents, disapproving of connections of any kind with a mere carpenters daughter. But we did not care. We were shielded by a bubble of youthful innocence in which everything seemed fantastical, consequences an amazing distance from the present and responsibilities seemed impossibly impossible.
She plucked a blossom as pure as snow and tucked my fair hair behind my ear, utilising the stem to hold it in place. I thanked her with the gratitude in my eyes and a smile to match and then we moved on, no one thing able to keep our attention. Words were not needed, nor were they possible. She had never learnt to speak, for how can you when you can not hear how the sounds you sculpted with your mouth were meant to be shaped?
I am yanked back to reality by the smashing of glass as the picture frame fell from my grasp and shattered on the ground hardened with bitter cold. Finally I could hold it back no more and I collapsed, forced sobs wracking my slight frame with tremendous force and the salty tang of tears on my tongue.
Painless they said. Instant. But how instant can it be? How much agony can be felt in that instant? A cruel trick played by god. If she had known, if he had given her the gift to be able to hear it coming... No. She may have had the power to turn the Devil good, but I have the power to turn him bad, worse then ever before, and others with him in his eternal crusade against the puppet master, watching safely from his seat in the clouds. No more. He is safe no longer. If she was the spirit of goodness then I am the force of evil and I will not rest, not now, not until goodness is avenged by the power of bad.