Notes: Here's a sort of Alternate Future story, in which Moira fails to appear a certain night in the Kinross woods. After killing Rahne, Reverend Craig considers his actions.

There should probably be accents in here, but there won't be because I don't write them well. The characters are Marvel's (not that these two are in use just now), and I'm not making money from this story.


He Loves Me Not, Or Does He?

Rhiannon Liddell



"It is done. We have destroyed her. The evil has been vanquished," he said to the throng of people gathered around the stake from which dangled the limp corpse of a young girl. "The one God, the only God, the supreme God is still the highest power. Return to your homes and sleep soundly knowing that the demon who walked among us for nearly thirteen years has been destroyed."

"But should the girl not be buried?" a burly man started to say.

"I will take care of it," Craig answered shortly. "Go, now."

As they left, he drew a knife from his pocket and cut the charred rope which had held the girl -his daughter- to the stake. Her corpse slumped forward into his arms, and he sank to the ground, turning her over to cradle the lifeless form in his arms.

"Why?" he entreated, "Why in the name of God did you need to be so much like her? Why did you twine yourself around my heart like she did?" Then, very softly, "Why did I destroy you as I did her?"

He held her close to him, rocking her gently as he had when she was an infant, humming tunelessly. Then he began to tell the child what he could not while she lived.

"Your mother, Rahne, was the most beautiful woman in the entire town. My father, a minister before me, often said such beauty as Heather's was of Satan. Still, every boy in town was madly in love with her. Including me. Heather and I were very close, but I would have liked to be closer.

"The year she was seventeen and I was nineteen, Heather would stay away from town for days, sometimes weeks, at a time. She swore me to secrecy when I asked her about these absences and confessed that she was working at a bar in a little settlement to the north, that she was saving money to get away from her abusive father. Her disappearances continued for about a year.

"And then, one day, she came to me in tears. Her father had raped her, and she was carrying his child. I was home from university for the weekend, and I would have married her if my father hadn't threatened to disinherit me. I can still remember his words, Rahne. He said, 'God wanted that abominable whore to suffer, and suffer she will. But my son will have no part in that suffering.'

"I cried out that this wasn't Heather's fault, that she would be punished for her father's sin, but her father was the mayor, and no one would believe ill of him. Heather was forced out of town, and I managed to bring her to Ullapool so that I could see her while I was away at school. The child she bore died before it was a week old.

"When I graduated, I became a man of the cloth in hopes of appeasing my father. But he still hated me for standing with Heather against him, and threatened us both with death and eternal hell if we ever married. Being young and impressionable still, we believed him. If we hadn't... But we did. There's no use considering variables.

"Eventually the love between myself and Heather got the better of us. We had restrained ourselves from making love as long as we could, because she had never really recovered from her first childbirth, but in a moment of unguarded passion you were conceived.

"She hadn't really wanted to. I almost forced her. It was my fault. All this time when I said you killed your mother, it was because I was too guilty to admit that you had nothing to do with it. I killed her!

"After you were born, I transferred to Kinross. I couldn't stand to be in Ullapool, where all my memories of Heather were. I took you with me, because I wanted to have something to remember her by. But every time I looked at you I saw her! I couldn't escape my guilt. And so I blamed you. To ease my own conscience. And I blamed her. For letting me have my pleasure that night. She knew if she said no and didn't change her mind I would let her be. I put up barriers in my head, trained myself not to think of her telling me to take care of you. I showed you my anger in so many ways, dear child. I hope, I pray, that someday you will find it in your heart to forgive your father."

He rose, laying his daughter's body gently aside, and began to dig her grave.