Retrograde

Rayner stepped into Sentire with trepidation and came out into a frostbitten world, with power at her fingertips and the word Goddess on everyone else's lips.
Anthony stepped into Sentire with purpose and came out into a war-torn world, with horns on his head and the word God on his tongue.

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Author's note

My entry for Round Two of the Movellas Talent Show, and the sort of sequel to Coloured Errors (can be read as a stand-alone though).
AA

4. Where they first meet

 

Act 2, Scene 2

 

Anthony Wailer left the consultation room just as Rayner Abernathy reached for the door handle of Sentire. Through the glass, their eyes met and they recognised each other. They were the War Angel and the War Devil, the two people who shared a world which was a rarity in itself.

They were Gods. 

//

(Addictions are merciless. They nip and gnaw like jealousy but are far more satisfying.)

Rayner met the eyes of a man she barely knew but she recognised the look he had. The look that told her he was still half stood in another world. She could almost see the Copper Soldiers clinging to his shoulders and the words he formed told her all she had to know; Angellus Bellum.

She halted in her movements of going into Sentire – to chase away insomnia and the itch underneath her skin – and she allowed the man to exit.

“War Angel,” he gasped out, his hands reaching for a sword at his belt, a sword that was not there. She knew the feeling all too well. Then he cleared his throat, choked down the need to be in the other world and offered her his arm, “How about discussing Somnia over coffee?”

She hadn’t heard that name in days and it felt all too raw on her ears. She nodded and took his arm, directing him to a coffee shop down the road.

So they sat there, hands gripping dark coffee grounds in pearly white cups and they discussed the world only they knew. Anthony told her how Somnia believed she had disappeared and when he had entered the simulation they had recognised him as their new saviour.

Rayner was just pleased that someone was there to fight the Copper Soldiers, the citizens always seemed so afraid of them and they were right to do so since Rayner had seen them maim and slaughter.

“How does it feel being outside?” Anthony asked, feeling empty in a way that did not contribute to his hunger.

Rayner didn’t answer until several pastries in small dishes were placed in front of them, “It’s unnerving.” She breathed out, the air rattling inside her chest as she tried to sum up the cavity left from leaving. “There’s this crater that I can’t quite shake. It’s as though I’m waiting for it to sprout flowers instead of being made out of ugly dust and brick. I can’t sleep without seeing his face, Cogito’s, knowing that I never got to defeat him.”

“And I never got to find him,” Anthony sighed, maybe he would last longer, deal with it better than she had.

In the end, they sat there for hours more, watching rain and sunshine patter down the windows. The meeting dulled the itch to a lull and Rayner grinned before leaving her phone number with the War Devil.

In the end, Anthony lasted two and a half days before he called Rayner and asked if she wanted to go back to Sentire with him.

The answer was, of course, yes, and they met again outside Rayner's lonely apartment on a saturated day to go back to Sentire together.

(Addictions are satisfying but damaging, the second heart of an Angel and Devil alike.) 

 
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