“When I agreed to the terms of service, I had no idea that it would lead to this.”
–1,001 Writing Prompts to Ignite Your Creative Spark
* * *
Noah wiped the blood from her forehead. It smeared against her skin and left streaks across the back of her hand. She could feel it dribbling from a cut somewhere above her hairline, but the whole area was on fire and she couldn’t tell exactly where she’d been hit. All she knew was that some of it was coming down across her face, and the rest made her golden waves hot and sticky against her scalp.
That didn’t matter, though. Noah got to her feet and cast a glance over her shoulder at the debris from the old apartment complex. A tiny body moved against her chest. Small fingers absently groped at Noah’s cardigan, her shirt, and the leather strap to the satchel at her side. The girl moaned, her eyes flickered, but she didn’t wake up.
All that hardly mattered, though, because Noah knew she’d live a long, healthy life now.
What that meant for Noah, on the other hand, was another matter entirely.
The old, oaken staff at her side hummed. A purple glow emanated from the wood. Noah looked down and watched another tally mark slowly make its way beside the others covering the weapon’s shaft. What did that make now, she wondered. Four hundred and seventy-three? She’d lost count a long time ago.
When she’d taken the job all those years ago, Noah kind of wished she’d paid attention to all the terms. Maybe then she’d stop accumulating so much debt every single time she couldn’t let a child die.
“Oh, my God, Avery!”
A woman rushed up to Noah, frantically pushing her way through the emergency crews working on rescuing the people Noah hadn’t been able to pull out of the rubble. Mascara streaked down her cheeks as she fell to her knees. Her hands shook as she reached out to grab at her daughter. Noah smiled and held the child out.
“Thank you,” the woman sobbed. She gripped the girl to her chest and rocked back and forth. Avery’s eyes flickered open. She glanced to Noah only briefly before burying her face in the crook of her mother’s neck. “Thank you so much.”
Noah smiled. “You’re welcome.”
Meh. What was one more tally on her debt to give this girl a second chance at life?