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Labyrinth of the Mind
Short stories, whatever else.
Sienna burst through the cathedral doors, her long black hair in tangles, tears streaming out of her brown eyes down her pale face. Blood soaked her brown robe at the abdomen, which she held with her arm as more blood continued to drip and leave a trail behind her.

She used the rows of pews as support as she made her way to the altar, falling to her knees before the mighty cross which hung from the slate colored stone wall, framed by red and gold tapestries. The image of Christ looked down at her, and she looked up at it with pleading eyes, her hands folded in prayer.

Outside a battle ensued, and cries of death and victory sounded into the open cathedral door. Figures ran back and forth across the doorway, until finally a group of warriors entered, dressed in chain mail and wielding bloody swords and shields.

"Witch! Your time has come! No more running!"

Sienna kept her eyes on her savior, praying.

"Lord, I have always been your faithful servant. I beg of you, please protect me!"

Sienna was raised in an orphanage, her parents likely descended from peasantry. Despite her circumstances, she always found joy and hope in the stories of the nuns who raised her and in her holy book. When she was 12, she had an ecclesiastical vision and was called to devote her life to God. She believed she was chosen specifically, and that God truly cared for her and loved her. She believed if she followed him faithfully, she would be rewarded.

So she served faithfully, day after day, night after night, working at the church in various ways, often doing menial tasks like cleaning or doing laundry. She was worked hard, but she told herself it was in the service and God, and that God had a plan for her. God would save her from the orphanage, give her a better life, and make her happy.

Now she hoped God would answer her prayer, but the statue stared blankly at her as warriors approached from behind her.

"God? Are you there?"

No answer.

She felt something sharp pierce her back and chest, and looked down to see a gleaming, bloody sword sticking out of the left side of her chest. It was agony, but it was short-lived. Her eyes fluttered and she collapsed. The warrior stepped on her back, ripping the sword from her with a spurt of blood, then went with his allies to rejoin the battle outside.

Final thoughts whispered in Sienna's mind.

How could this be? Why would God do this to her? Was she already in hell?

You have been forsaken. A voice spoke to her from the void.

What? Who's there?

God doesn't love you. He never loved you. He's indifferent to your suffering. You were put here to die.

No... Lies!

Then how do you explain your current circumstances? You've devoted your entire life to God, only to be killed like some animal, alone and in obscurity. Would a loving God do that to you?

Sienna couldn't move, and her mind was fading, but something swelled in her. How was it possible? Wasn't she dead? What she felt was anger.

Yes... You understand, don't you? Your faith was misplaced. Your sweet, innocent soul was wasted in the hands of God. You could have had a fulfilling life if only you had lived for yourself instead. It's not too late.

Not... Too late?

No... I find your innocence and your faith endearing. You have much more potential than you think, if only you pledge yourself to a God worthy of your faith. Would you do that?

A different... God? But there is only one God!

Wrong, there are many gods. Many gods, with many different gifts to give you. Why don't you try it and see? Renounce your faith to your god, pledge your faith and your soul to me, and I will give you the power to achieve the life you desire.

I... She felt her mind slipping into the abyss.

Hurry, child! There is not much time! Your life is leaving you!

Anger surged inside of Sienna. A god that would do this to her truly was evil. She hated that god. She gave everything for him, and got a dog's death for it.

I do it! I renounce my god and pledge my soul to you!

Good, child, very good. Now rise and take your vengeance!

Sienna could suddenly see through her eyes again, and she felt her heart beating. She stood up, feeling her chest to find there was no longer any wound. Flames grew at her feet, and rose up her body, but they did not burn her.

The warriors heard the crackling behind them, and turned to see Sienna standing there in flames.

"What in God's name?!"

Kill them!

Sienna answered the voice, pointing her palms towards the men and sending a spiral of flame at them, setting them alight. They screamed in agony as their flesh boiled and popped inside of their armor.

"How does it feel?! This is what you get! This is what you get for hurting me!" Sienna shouted, tears, streaming down her face.

"Please! Mercy! Mercy! O Lord!" they cried.

Their pleas made Sienna increase the intensity of her flames, and their screams got louder, until they began to quiet into whimpers, and then into silence and all that remained were charred husks of men smoking on the chapel floor.

Sienna breathed heavily before falling to her knees and bursting into tears.

Now now, child, wipe away your tears... You have nothing to be ashamed of.

Sienna sniffled, and a shadowy, corpreal hand with long slender fingers materialized before her face, stroking her cheek and wiping her tears.

You need never be scared again, for I shall always walk with you. I will be like your shadow, and so long as you serve me, I will love and protect you for as long as you live.

"Y-you really mean that?"

Of course, my dear. I will guide you, and with my assistance, all of your wildest dreams will come true. Now first, we must escape this place. Unfortunately, this kindgom is lost, but there is another across the sea, and there lives a handsome prince who is the heir to that kingdom. Would you like to come meet him with me?

"Me? Meet a prince?!"

Why yes, of course. Do you not trust me after all of this? Or do you not believe yourself worthy to meet a prince? I assure you, you are more than worthy. I chose you for a reason. You are very special, Sienna.

"Ah- Haha! Hahaha!" She grinned from ear to ear, then covered her face in her hands. "I can't believe it."

Believe it. Now let us go, and quickly! This way!

A gust of wind rushed past her and out the door, despite their being no where for it to have come from. She stood up quickly and ran, following where this wind blew her with absolute faith.

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