I haven't written a new story for quite some time. But I got another idea the other day, so I think I'll post it here as I write it...

"He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for my sake will find it..." The rhythmic voice pressed into her head, then droned on, buzzing in the cloud that surrounded her. And slowly the darkness lifted. Light crept through the haze, spreading with a pinkish glow, and then her eyes opened to life again.

As her vision found its focus she saw the shape of a woman, her face averted. Then the woman suddenly turned, looked right at her, and smiled warmly. The droning voice clicked off. The woman's voice was softer and richer. "Hello, honey. My name is Maria..."

She was in a hospital room, attached to beeping monitors and tubes poked into her arms. She did not remember how she had gotten here. She did not remember what had happened to her. The woman, Maria, told her that she had been in a fire, that she had saved Maria's daughter and had come back for Maria but was unable to free her and was knocked out when part of the ceiling fell on them. She had been fearless, the woman said. A hero. Firefighters had arrived in time to pull her and Maria out of the house, but they had a hard time reviving her. Maria had been praying for her life. She tried to speak, croaking "I...," then stopped, surprised at the strange sound of her own voice. The older woman nodded, waiting. "Who...," she began again, then faltered, her voice dropping to a whisper, "do you know my name?"

Christie. Maria told her she overheard the paramedics asking many questions when they got her breathing again, to make sure her brain was okay, but she had only answered, "Christie, Christie." She didn't remember that name. But when the orderly came and Maria had to leave, she saw it. The orderly removed her shirt to bathe her, and there on her arms were dark tattoos. On one arm a rose etched in red, drawn with blood dripping from the petals. And the other arm was wrapped with a band of thorny vines woven together, with elaborate lettering above and below: Domine Iesu Christe miserere mei peccatricis. She didn't understand the words. But she saw the name.

Continued tomorrow...