OMEGA

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Incense hung in the air, the burned particles irritated her nose, and the smell grew more pronounced as Victoria came to. There was something peculiar about this odour; something that made her think of death and decay. In fact, the link was so strong, that it evoked images of an ancient crypt hidden away under a city forgotten by time.

She struggled to open her eyes, feeling as though they were glued together. Was this just a case of fatigue? How long had she been unconscious? Was she even alive? Perhaps this was a dream? No, this felt far too real. Besides people rarely experienced pain or discomfort in dreams.

Something brushed up against her lips, it was cool at first, like water trickling out from a frozen waterfall. Victoria struggled to open her eyes, but saw nothing more than an impenetrable darkness that filled her with dread. This sensation of cold spread, pushed past her numbed lips, and probed the inside of her mouth. She considered biting down, but feared there would be repercussions.

Only when the tongue withdrew, did Victoria gasp for air, and found her sight restored. The images that flashed before her eyes were blurred at first, confined to a world that moved with a mind of its own. Her sight eventually settled, but what she saw only confirmed her fears; this was in fact, not a dream.

There was Evelyn, her character, inspiration, and role model. This time, she was dressed in a long flowing gown of white satin. Her face was adorned by a warm smile, and there were locks of long flowing hair that hung around her shoulders. This complemented Victoria's image of an idyllic angelic figure, and was without a doubt, the same woman she met on that beach twenty years ago.

This was the woman who blessed her as a child, using some sort of prayer. Was this why their minds were linked? Did that mark the moment when Evelyn established a connection between them? Did this imply that Victoria was nothing more than a bit player in Evelyn's play?

Evelyn licked her lips as though relishing the echoes of that kiss, and said, "Welcome to the world of the living ma chère. Have you gotten your affairs in order? Indulged in your last meal perhaps?"

The musical highlights in Evelyn's voice was so familiar. It was eerie how much she knew this person, in spite of this being the first time they ever spoke.

Victoria did not say a word. She was far too lethargic to formulate a proper answer.

"Is there a proper response?" Victoria whispered.

She knew that either decision would end in death, only the method of her death differed. Would her death be quick and merciless, or would her character's sadistic nature come to the surface?

Evelyn's smile changed, one that stripped away her angelic traits, and replaced them with a cruel harshness. Her character was truly skilled at human emotions, an expert on how to leverage them against others. How else could she convey so much based on the shape of her smile? Would Victoria be able to manipulate others just as easily?

Before the question was answered, Victoria found herself being dragged from the altar. The world swirled nauseatingly as vertigo muddled her mind. Would she have the strength to stop herself from vomiting all over the floor?

Once the world settled, Victoria noticed the pool of dark liquid. The surface was so dark, that it reflected back her image. Tired and weak, Victoria lost her balance, dropped to her knees, and instantly became mesmerised by the reflection. She seemed to be looking at an ideal version of herself, one immune to the ravages of time. Did she ever have such a youthful glow about her?

Victoria reached for her chest, to check for a heartbeat, and sighed once the familiar rhythm registered. She was still alive, and yet her reflection implied that she had already crossed the threshold between life and death.

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