"Why can't you just accept the facts? They're right in front of you."
Right in front of you.
Right in front.
In front of you.
He was floating. He was falling. He was weightless, then solid as a rock. There was silence, then a wave of sound. Death had come in a matter of minutes, but for reasons he couldn't understand, Pryor still had some sense of consciousness.
His veins burned as fluid was pumped into them. Why was he still able to feel? Why couldn't he get her voice out of his head? Her voice? But she was dead. So was he.
She was there. She wasn't. He thought he felt her hands on his body, her voice in his ear. The scent of a lavish meal wafted up his nostrils; was he in Valhalla? He followed the scent like a dog tracking prey, began to recognize voices and sounds as he stumbled towards a huge wooden door. A gate? He leaned his body against the massive oak and pushed; slowly the door gave way. He found himself in a room of long tables covered in food and drink. Venison, chicken, duck, steer; flagons of wine and beer and mead flowed like the tears of a betrayed woman. She stood against the wall, a goblet encased in her hands. He began to stumble towards her when a hand flashed in his face, baring his path. Pryor looked to his left to see who dared to refuse him entrance. Heimdallr!
Pryor held his gaze. He would not be denied tribute for battles bravely fought. At last he could rest, at last they could be reunited.
Heimdallr stood impassively, his icy blue eyes judging Pryor and finding him wanting. He spoke very softly, yet it seemed as if thunder filled the air.
"You do not belong here. Your death was not achieved in battle. You followed the path of the coward, taking your own life. You have brought shame to your claim of warrior."
Pryor struggled to find his voice. He would not be denied.
"I have fought many battles! I have led men to victory! I have earned my right to rest in this mighty hall and wait for my turn to battle in Ragnarok!"
"No. Not yet. You have not died a warrior's death. Perhaps you never will."
Pryor's eyes widened; for the first time in his life, he felt fear.
Heimdallr's gaze drifted above Pryor's head, seeing into the future.
"You cannot die, Pryor. You will be undead for all eternity."
Pryor began to scream as he was pulled away from the doorway, away from her and honor and glory. Again he felt the sensations of falling and flying, his arms and legs powerless. He tossed and turned until he felt he was being twisted inside out. Finally he felt a hard surface beneath him; his body recognized it as the slab he had been laying on in the charnal house. He could make out the vague outline of wires and tubes as they dangled above him, and he began to recognize an abnormal thirst within his throat.
An abnormal thirst for blood. Human blood.