“Look what you’ve done,” Mirage hissed. “After everything I’ve given you–that’s what you have to say? This is what you do?”

“Leave them alone,” Irina wrinkled her nose. “It’s not worth it, Re.” Her scared eyes flickered to the defiant group of high school students shivering in the corner of the cursed cave.

They shouldn’t have come here.

She shouldn’t have followed them–but still. The thought of seeing her dear friend had been far too tempting. It had been weeks, after all.

They just hadn’t expected this level of fury. This sort of shocking revelation. Really–was it any wonder they were surprised? Staring back at the six different faces cycling through the shimmering body hovering in front of them. Faces from the receptionist at the Town Hall, the Cafeteria Lady, the English Teacher and even the barista from the coffee shop.

Faces. Familiar faces.

“Like hell, it’s not worth it! I slaved for this degree,” Mirage cracked her knuckles. “Blood, sweat and tears poured into a thankless journey to be certified for something I can do in my sleep–because I thought I was your friend!”

“Re…” And the words turn to ash in her mouth, for Irina has nothing to say that wouldn’t be cruel and insensitive. She’d only thought of herself. She hadn’t tried to think beyond tiny details like ‘immortal’ and ‘guardian’ and ‘responsibilities’.

“There is nothing on the face of this earth that is forcing me to accept this kind of treatment from creatures beneath me.”

“Hey–humans are just–well,” Irina faltered when that damning gaze fixed on her. She swallowed hard.

“I’m done. That’s it. This is it. I’ve done more than my fair share. I’ve sacrificed everything I had to offer,” Mirage began to glow, a faint, silvery hue. “It’s on your shoulders now. All of you. Live the life you wish for and may it be exactly as wretched as you desire!”

(c) S. Harricharan