Lauren isn’t expecting much from her twenty second birthday. All the important milestones had already passed, all of them leaving her empty handed. No Hogwarts letter had arrived on her eleventh birthday, no mermaid tail had appeared on her thirteenth. The enormously prophetic sixteenth year – the year famously known for having destinies foretold, for being kidnapped by gods, for falling into a ridiculous love triangle – had come and gone with nothing of note. The most magical part of her twenty first birthday had been that’d she’d manage to consume that amount of alcohol without dying
No grand epics begin on the day of someone’s twenty second birthday.
This is because of those unlucky enough to be chosen at this tender age – most don’t ever make it back.
Dead men tell no tales, after all.
(Dead women do. The bones and bubbling corpses of hundreds of daring, unfortunate women are screaming warnings and fury at the next girl to join their ranks of the lost and forgotten.
But no one listens to a woman’s screaming.
No one will listen to your screaming either.
Sorry, dear. )
She wakes up and goes to the bathroom to get ready for the day.
This is a hasty decision, of course, although she does not know it at the time.
This may be her last morning. If she’d known, maybe she would have savored it. Snuggled into her warm sheets, pressed her face into the softness of her pillow, pulled the comforter about her bare shoulders, the most instinctual and simple of comforts.
But then again. Maybe not.
There is also an instinctual, twisted pleasure in ripping off the bandaid.