"Hail Mary,

Full of Grace,

The Lord is with Thee.."

Her voice trembled, choked, as the words spilled over her petal hued lips that tasted so distinctly of salt and rustic metals. Her blood and tears, that spilled forth bountifully from the gaping sockets of her skull, where once two pretty orbs of blue had peered widely out, like diamond. And she spoke the blessed prayer rapidly, desperately, while her small, wounded fingers toyed with the beads of a once alabaster rosary, going past them one by one.

One Hail Mary, save her own life. Two Hail Mary, save her mother's life. Three Hail Mary, time was running out… no one left alive.

But she was trying so hard! He had said… he had said if she tried as hard as she possibly could! that this wouldn't happen. That everyone would be alright. And yet their screams resounded behind her as she knelt before the altar as he strung their bodies up one by one, unrelenting. Forced the hooks through their backs, through their arms and wrists, binding their ankles together with them and making them rise as if they were god sent. But none ascended into His heaven. Merely swayed as they nearly touched the naked rafter of this ancient roof, that had once been a chapel, a house made in His name.

Arms spread in open embrace, feet bound; they were forced into the form of crucifix, with their heads rife in cages of thorn until they could no longer be distinguished from one another, for each prison of barbed vine was a mask. A masquerade to hide the sin, the disgrace. These were the men and women that would save all of man kind by their unwilling sacrifice of their body, of their heart and soul. These aunties abducted off the street, these men, stolen from their beds. And somewhere amongst them, her mother, hanging naked and shamed, her body convulsing with pain as death swept through her veins slowly, though her heart ricocheted within her chest rapidly, desperate to live.

But it was not the thought of her auburn haired mother once so beautiful, sobbing silently into her thorned prison that drew from the child's trembling lips the prayer ever faster until it slurred upon her lips- the prayer that would cleanse she, the blessed virgin, and all these adulterers and gluttons and narcissists of their black sin. It was the tightening noose around her sweet neck that pulled slowly tighter until she could feel it grind into her that made the desperation burning.

It was just enough to draw him back to her with a dancer's sweet grace and placed a delicate hand, one that belonged upon an artist's wrist, upon her waist line as he knelt behind her. The other olive-tanned hand found its place looping around her in a half embrace, so that he could draw a gentle fingertip along the tough twine of the noose. And though he hindered not her lips or her kind hands she had frozen entirely at his touch, at his closeness- another moment wasted.

He merely chuckled, to draw her back to life, as he bent his terrible lips to utter quietly, lovingly into her ear,

"Beloved, now are we the sons of God."

Reassurement, perhaps, though she only trembled against him, rivers of blood that had once been tears staining the apples of her cheeks, and she could pray no more. Could only sob, wretchedly, as prayers became the banshee's wail. The omen of death to all who might hear it, for their little savior could not sing anymore. And the noose pulled her tighter and higher, until she was forced to stand, calling her mother's name until her struggling lungs could fill themselves no more... and she was suspended higher than all of them, an angel amongst their tragedy.