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In the Cards
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Day 24: Card: The Angel (Judgment)


Silhouetted men about the trash-can fire draw fearfully together as he passes. They know him – twenty years he's wandered these blighted streets, an unquiet presence, wrecked by more than poverty. There's a darkness riding in him, and they turn away.

They've reason, perhaps – who knows what he does when he's asleep? His dreams – but they're bloody nightmares to shame his daytime rages. They sit heavy, like beasts desiring. Yet there's memory in them...

Rimed in his filth, he goes among the forgotten, haunted by faces with all the same eyes – by voices with all the same cries.

“Tell your fortune?” wheezes the half-blind madwoman perched amid garbage, and turns a resurrection.

He ignores her, would pass by, but she rises from her trash-bag throne. “The angel,” she, persistent, rasps; “She comin'!”

Her hand catches his. No! His darkness shrieking descends, and he throws her aside – then stoops, snatches, slams her into a wall. Her eyes go white in her head, a wet-dark aureole spreading behind her dreads.

“Get away!” he snarls – to himself, to her, warning and rejection commingled in confusion.

But she remains – dirt-crusted fingers dug into his sleeve, she pants, lips twitching, “Angel... she comin'...”

There's something on her face when she blinks, and he, foreboding, touches it – wet, stinging not sticky. Tears. She's weeping as she's smiling as she's dying, and she's looking at him...

It's a fist through his chest, that wet-eyed, laughing look. His legs buckle, pitch him to the pavement, bewildered, stunned. He's gasping like a half-drowned sailor and he can't catch his breath, can't catch his breath.

“Help,” he mouths, stretching his hand to the one hand that wouldn't take rejection. But there's no life in them now; prostrate besides her, he succumbs to dizzying night.


1. I'm going with the alternate name "angel" for this card, rather than judgment.
2. Unfortunately, I couldn't get this part of Melkor's story done in under 300 words.


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