The woman stared at herself in the mirror.

A broken shadow of herself stood before her, cloaked in the darkness of the hallway. Dead, grey eyes stared back at her.

"There's nothing in them anymore," Julia whispered. Tears would not come, even at this moment.

The brittle feeling of the wand weighed heavy in her hand, but light in her mind. She tightened her grip, tilted her head backwards and brought the tip to rest at her temple.

The wand throbbed with heat, the searing heat almost relieving. She shuddered a sigh. She closed her eyes and spoke the words that would put her into eternal rest, away from his slithering clutches and fake, empty words.

She was thrown back with a flash of gold. In front of her stood a maiden of light, brilliantly dazzling, fighting back the creeping darkness. She spread her radiant wings and offered a hand. The woman’s fears, regrets and resignations, all of her worries and troubles. All of it seemed evanescent in the wake of this being of light. They fell away easily as she looked upon her.

Without hesitation, she reached for her hand. As they touched, she let her wings loose, and they exploded in a burst of light, flying off into the world, leaving the darkness behind. They flew past cities and towns and soon left the realm of man behind. They flew through fields of flowers in bloom, past rushing waterfalls and across forests of greenery.

The woman held onto the being with a desperation, but she did not fear falling. She only felt the wind through her hair and the sun on her cheeks and the smile on her face. They flew through time and through memories. They flew past a first kiss, past a first proposal, past a first house. They flew past a hospital, past his dying wife, past her flower-strewn grave. Her mother's grave.

She turned her head, and she was no longer blinded by the golden light. There he stood; tall and powerful, radiating with magic that made her knees quiver and her breath catch. He was holding her hand, encouraging her with a smile that refused to reach his eyes.

She was back in the hallway, the wand tip held to her temple.

The eyes that looked back at her through the mirror were just a little brighter, with just a little more life. The wand fell out of her hand. She dropped to her knees, and tears flowed.

As she heard...

"There’s no escape Julia. Not from me. Not ever…"

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