And the days were fairly routine. Vincent lurked around, they started training me at the shop – I was ecstatic. I would practice with the gun at night, Darius and Raine taught me, each being an expert shot. Raine had military experience, where Darius got it from, heaven knows. She seemed to have a hand in everything, she was never caught off-guard. After a few weeks, I was a natural for the art. Ironic, if you really think about it. Sometimes that’s the way it goes.
A lot of thoughts plagued me at night, keeping me from peaceful rest. There was just too much that didn’t add up, people knew things they weren’t supposed to. The gun was a mystery in itself. Darius and Raine knew; Deklyn gave it to me, but very hesitantly. He didn’t seem very sure about it, I don’t know. Deklyn had me worried, there was more to him, there had to be. I decided to do some research. Research, meaning become a stalker. The results of my efforts weren’t necessarily useless.
Deklyn was one of Vincent’s lieutenants; being higher up on the chain, he was privileged. He was feared and loved in turn, more so the former. He was notoriously ruthless in his dealing habits and he’d beat anyone on a whim. Vincent’s gang were all similar in their ways, they were uniform; like a deck of cards, they had variation in ranks. Deklyn was carefully situated on God’s right hand. And it didn’t seem to bother him too much. He carried a series of weapons, at least two firearms at all times. He smoked, but I don’t think he used. He drank like a fish though. The entire gang structure was highly bizarre. Deklyn was highly solitary though. He had a bad temper to him; he might’ve been bipolar. Most of the world left him alone. Every so often someone would push him. And he’d bite them…hard. He was known for shooting the really annoying ones.
There was one that wouldn’t quit. She seemed to be everybody’s girl, primarily she’d be hanging off of Vincent. Her name was Bekka. I don’t know if she was just stupid or too stubborn to care. She’d hang around Deklyn a lot and try to get him to vent. He was mean to her on so many levels; I wanted to go warn her that he’s a jerk. For days, weeks, she’d try to be friendly. Vincent would tease her relentlessly. But she refused to quit. Deklyn stabbed her through her hand. He was having a really bad day – she hugged him. As she pulled away, he grabbed her and shook her. But Bekka wasn’t touched. He narrowed his eyes, held her one arm and stabbed straight through, pinning her to the wall. The really funny part? She was right back at it the next day, poking and prodding to get him to talk. They earned each other’s respect. And poor Vincent was left dumbstruck. All types of bizarre. Bekka was the rain on a sunny day that catches you without your coat. She was everyone’s girl, but when she was Vince’s, she was only his. And hence the rift of emotion began.
A rift began from something so simple. And seeing Deklyn’s loyalty, I began to question the gun. Maybe Vincent was behind it? Perhaps. The rift among loyal friends swept through the streets like a hurricane. It was silly if you really thought about it. I never realized that dear Vincent might be the jealous type. But he was. Deklyn was behaving himself, you know, as good as he can manage when Vince approached him. They laughed and joked a bit, as guys tend to. Then Vince took it a step further. Provoking a mock sparring match, Deklyn wasn’t seriously concerned. Vincent dislocated his shoulder, broke an arm and beat the hell out of him. The best actors…
Bekka was considered exclusively Vincent’s, rumor has it that my brain-dead cousin slept with her. I think his little shoulder angel quit. That’s a common sense rule, don’t sleep with the boss’ girl, you shouldn’t even look at her if you don’t have to. Deklyn stayed with us so that his father wouldn’t go shoot Vincent. I hate guys. Dek just had the spirit beaten out of him and he’s defending his attacker. That screams stupid. He stayed in Jack’s room for a few nights then relocated to the couch. He refused to go to the hospital – he had me help fix his shoulder. And he was fine. Bekka “disappeared,” or so they say. Translation: Vincent killed the traitorous slut. How terribly tragic. So Deklyn stayed with us a while and I was able to talk to him.
“Why am I different?” I asked him one night. He and I were on the fire escape, smoking calmly. He was overly sedated.
“What do you mean, different? Who told you that, you’re unique…”
“No, you treat me different from everyone else.”
“So? You don’t care about Rook or Salem half as much. Why me? You’ve never hit me, never yelled in a tone that would break me, never made me cry. You ignore Salem and you beat on Rook daily. Why me?”
He looked me over slowly, up and down. He took a long pull, turning his head away from me to blow out the smoke. He considered his words carefully. “Because they’re ignorant, they don’t care. You’ve always cared. And besides, they’ve got half of forever. Your days are numbered kid.”
“How do you know?”
“I was there, kid.”
“That’s how they found me!” I felt my blood boil, he’d given me up, they were trying to break me, completely off the deep end. I attacked him but did almost no damage what so ever. I gave up eventually, breathless, angry. I could’ve killed him.
“There’s more to it than that, kid, please try to understand.”
“More to what? You’re assisting in my murder.”
“And that makes it better?”
He hung his head low, “No, of course not.” I think that he was on the verge of crying, I don’t know why. He was shaking a bit, I crept over and curled up with him.
“He’ll make you do it, you know.”
“One person shouldn’t have that much power, he should be taken down a few notches.”
“Harv, you’re being foolish.”
“It’s a fool’s prerogative to be foolish, if honesty’s included in that, so be it.”
And he held me close, almost afraid to let go. He never held anybody, I didn’t think that he knew how. He spoke in quiet whispers, saying, “I’m sorry,” softly in my ear. I felt my heart bend, my conscience refused to yield, but there was no debating anything. He was broken, childish – Deklyn became that good little boy I used to know. Once upon a time.
“You can fight him you know.”
“No, I can’t. I chose my poison kid, it’s just starting to kick in.”
“No, my problem. Not another thought about it. Promise you won’t worry?”
“I don’t make promises.”
“Because a promise is more than an agreement. It’s…dedication to something, your vow of devotion. It connects you to something more, something greater than yourself. It’s a contract, a binding agreement. It’s trust, honor, it is loyalty to yourself. If not promises to people, you should make promises to yourself. Have some sort of structure. We all need structure.”
“I don’t need anything.”
“Now you’re being foolish. Some need things; some need people or ideas. We all need. We all need affection, to know that someone cares.”
“You don’t need anybody.”
That stopped him in his tracks. Everything he was preaching about – all wasted. His words were lost in the fray; nothing seemed significant. Point to Harvey.
I think I broke him. We all come to points in our lives where the truth is so obvious that denial is absolutely out of the question. He realized then what he was missing, and he was torn apart. I hit a major vein with that one.
“That’s not true,” he whispered, scared to say the truth any louder than necessary. He held me tight, cradled like a child. He was lost in the world of the waking; my dear Deklyn didn’t belong. And he knew it. The startling revelation scared him half to death I think.
“Why are you so cold? What happened, Deklyn?”
“I wised up. I learned better. Experience is a quick and patient teacher, never painless.”
“You got hurt, so what? Everyone does, Get back up and try again.”
I thought he’d snap my neck. I clasped my hand over my mouth after I’d said it. The shock was obvious in both of us, the silence was earth-shattering. Yet, he didn’t move, he barely breathed. He just muttered to himself.
“You don’t understand.”
“Then enlighten me.”
He got up, shrugging me off abruptly. Annoyed, he sulked away, away from my inquiring mind – off to sleep. I stayed on the fire escape alone until it got too cold, then back inside. A few minutes of contemplation and eventual rest. Sleep is the all purpose solution.
The next day, Deklyn was gone. Jack wasn’t sure where he’d gone, except that he was, in fact, gone. He’s taken the little he had with him – I doubted he’d be back.
It’s funny to think how people can just up and walk out and be gone. It’s funny to think that the chapter can end so abruptly. Be over before it started. Nothing’s ever truly over, nothing ever really begins either. Maybe that’s backwards. Or upside down, sideways. Slightly to the left. Some people are just foolish, absolutely foolish. Some always run, some are compelled to return. Deklyn came back one night, soaked from the rain. He kind of crept in during the night. Lost, dazed, alone. Aren’t we all? Terribly tragic if you ask me.
Innocence is embodied in children, it’s lost as we grow older and acquire new fractions of the forbidden truth that damned humanity. He seemed so pure, so honest, so…real. He was vulnerable and I loved him for it. We’re all weak in our turn, but it’s when the strong are secure enough to admit their weakness, that’s the turning point, the conclusion that ends all uncertainty. Uncertainty, that’s an interesting concept in itself.
She was the janitor. She cleaned up the mess; she was there whenever she was necessary. She was the man…or woman rather, behind the curtain. The one you ignored. I met her by chance. She didn’t speak either. She was a mute, or maybe she just wanted you to think that. She had dark features, most of which were constantly hidden under a long trench coat, black of course. She was the janitor. It used to bother me, how did the undertaker get to the bodies so fast, how did Vincent get away with it without someone stumbling across his crime? There had to be something. In their case, it was someone. She was always a quick phone call away; she’d carry the bodies back, bury or burn them, and know nothing of the truth. She didn’t talk, or she couldn’t. I wondered about that too. She was kind of like Death; you only ever came across her when it was your time. I didn’t know who she was at the time; I only figured it out when she walked away. You could feel it from her. Everywhere she went, she carried the air of it with her, the dismal despair of life and its’ termination. She never smiled. Never spoke and never smiled. And she was the one behind the curtain, careful to always be ready, to pull on cue every time. I wondered, how was it that she could bear to look at herself, to deal with what she did. How? How could you dare to tell yourself that what you were doing was right and proper? To help destroy lives? How could you even try to justify something like that? I don’t even know how she got the job of being the world’s shadow, hiding the mistakes. I never saw her in the daytime, never crossed her except those few times, she was always shrouded, dark. I couldn’t even see her clearly; I couldn’t determine hair length because of the combination of hat and coat. Always somber – no emotion. She was herself and belonged to nobody. She cleaned up after Vincent. She cleaned up after many people, only if she saw fit to, if the situation seemed proper for it. Not everyone was worthy of her services. I couldn’t understand what made Vincent “worthy,” being the cruelly manipulative person that he was. Maybe I was just being naive.
She’d been doing it for years. Her age was impossible to determine, she answered to nobody but herself, swore no allegiances and made no promises. She took no orders and made no requests. Her existence baffled me. How could you live a life with nothing? No connections, no reasons, just live each day because it was necessary, but for no reason? I require a reason to get up and move, to continue on each day. I would talk to Deklyn about her. He would get quiet and self-contained and refuse to answer. I wasn’t supposed to know about her. Nobody was. She was a walking contradiction. She was mystery and uncertainty embodied as flesh. She simply…was. There were no words to explain. Her name never came to me, my mind wondered over the idea that a creature like that could have a name. To give something a name is to make it real, to give it purpose and definition. She wasn’t meant to exist, or to be real or definite. She was meant to clean the mess and move along. Never a word spoken. I saw her by mistake. And I remembered when I saw her that I’d seen her before. I’d heard about her before. Because she was the longest running legend of them all. Many believed that she wasn’t a person at all. Some believed she was Death herself. Some knew that she was a person, but believed that she had no name. She was simply a specter of reality. Some thought that she was Lyric. But I knew better. Lyric was dead, she was gone. And she wouldn’t be back. Ever. This one was very much alive. And the years didn’t figure out right.
The legends go back for generations, tales of street justice and crime and family. But there’s always one character that makes a cameo briefly in each tale. The character, decked in black, always dark, always present when necessary. The embodiment of Death, standing straight and somber, eyes always carefully hidden from mortal view. She was always present; they seldom had to call on her. But she never passed judgment, she never handed out punishment. She would carry the bodies of the damned away – carry them to Hell or Heaven. But she’d never punish the condemned on Earth. She’d only clean up on those that she felt deserved to die. So maybe she had some sense of judgment. Not everybody deserved her efforts. I heard legends that she would find the names of those she carried away and she’d send a simple letter to the families to let them know the truth. Their loved one was beyond this mortal realm. Plain and simple. Can you imagine getting a letter, simple, plan, no date or signature? Just the truth you’ve known all along. She’d usually put something of theirs in the letter; a piece of something, a jewel, anything, something to let them know that it was true.
It’s funny because everything that ever happens, everything’s related somehow. I did find her name eventually. Deklyn told me to me in a labored whisper, it seemed to hurt him to say it. He made me swear never to repeat it and to forget I’d ever known about her and if I ever saw her, to run like hell. But she never came to the living. She only comes for the dead. How could anyone be so heartless? But her name was in my heart always. Her name is what kept my mind on her story. Because he name rolled off your tongue and the sweet sound hung in your ears and stayed echoing through your mind of eternity, it was that sweet. How could anyone be so cold? Because she had the name for it.
Her name was Elysium.
She was the missing reject; it made sense I imagine. Seeing her family, I wanted to understand what made her how she was. But it was obvious if you really thought about it. You didn’t even have to really think, it was kind of obvious. The infamous Merrick clan raised nothing but rejects and misfits. Magus might have been a good one, but we’d never know. Magus was lost so young. Elysium had family, if you could consider a half brother family. I heard that she was lurking around when they killed Cicero. She watched them bury him. And she dug him up and moved him. She moved him to where he belonged, where he would’ve wanted to be. She did this on her own, recovered a body buried deep, far down, she unearthed a hole made by two strong men on her own. Her age was a mystery, the years made it…distorted. But she was the black angel that carried the casualties away. She killed no one. She had no hand in the dealings of death; she just carried away the casualties. In the end, that all we end up to be. Victims. Wounded, empty, broken. Casualties of society. Aren’t we all…
There were exceptions. If she knew that someone was damned, she’d follow them around, subtly, letting them know that their time was soon. If you saw her and you were still alive, the advice was always the same – run. Run as fast and hard as you can and never look back. After Deklyn left that time, I didn’t think he’d be back, but he did come a few times, here and there, when he needed escape or shelter. I asked him about her once, I’d seen her lurking around from time to time. And Deklyn always knows a little something about everything. The look on his face…the shock and pain. He told me stories and legends and he found her name. He knew the name that lurked and followed him. He was damned. His days were numbered – his fate was sealed. He had betrayed Vincent a long time ago…and Vincent never forgets a vendetta. Sure, they beat him up, but that’s not sufficient. Vincent had trusted him; he was higher up in the ranks. And he’d been betrayed by one of his more respected officials. Punishment was expected to be severe. Deklyn still had his life; I imagined that Vincent was doing to him what he was doing with me – playing with him. Dangling the mouse in front of the cat’s swinging claws. Cruelty ran in the family. Elysium, the idea of her was…amazing. I couldn’t define what made it so great, but the idea lingered, my mind worried of it ceaselessly. Maybe I have a slight obsession with death…just slightly. Don’t we all? I don’t give in, I don’t lean over the edge, I just kind of dance along the line, just close enough to sneak a slight glance. I think we all have that little side of us that wants it that tiny bit. I think people like Deklyn and myself wanted that a tad bit more, that’s what made us freaks. Maybe? I don’t know. He was great when he wanted to be. We loved each other and clung to one another because we were both damned. Living on borrowed time does something to someone. Elysium didn’t lurk around me much, I saw her following Deklyn. He told me not to worry, but he’d warn me in the same breath. But I still love my darling cousin, he’s my one watcher, my true guardian. Him and Jack are what keeps me…sane. They help me to live.
I was a bit out of my skin one night, and I was kind of considering suicide. Not seriously, but halfway. I know, it’s weird. I do it sometimes to see how it feels. To make the idea of death more…common. I become more comfortable with dying the more I think about it. I know…I’m sick. But I write letters about it and everything and I make it out like I would do it too. I wrote one letter, it’s my favorite one.
“Here’s my resignation, I signed it in tears, I hope that’s alright, as payment for the years, the years of misery, the years of discontent, the endless madness, the things that we all meant. Here is my resignation, I signed it for you, nice and red. With blood my soul is sealed, for eternity until I’m dead. Here is my resignation, I quit, I gave my best. I gave my heart, my soul, my sanity, and it died with all the rest. This is my resignation.”
I don’t know why I liked that one so much. I had it on my wall somewhere, painted on in red. Deklyn, during one of his random little visits, found himself staring at it aimlessly for a while. He had his head a bit tilted and he was reading it to himself in a sort of whisper, you know that tone that you use when you’re reading something and kind of muttering it to yourself without realizing? When you read aloud and need someone else to tell you that you’re able to be heard? I know you know what I mean. Maybe I just explained it wrong. I do that sometimes. You know? Explain things wrong…explaining things is rough; you have to be careful. One wrong word can be anything. Well now…seems I got off on a bit of a rant, I was talking about my suicide stunts. Well, now, “stunt” isn’t the proper word. See, you practice a stunt and you work it until perfection, absolute perfection, and then it’s a success every time, and it’s still a stunt, but not really. It’s more of a trick if you can do it right every time. I don’t know…whatever you’d call if, I thought about it a lot. Maybe I’m just slightly insane. Slightly. Then again, Vincent did warn me against it. Why I decided to abide by his rules…I don’t know. I’m not all that keen on rules. They bother me. Rules are silly, you know?
Anyways…the suicide stunts. Deklyn read that off my wall and he looked at me in this silly kind of way and he just kind of held me awhile. I didn’t understand. He told me that I didn’t have to because I was beautiful and nothing else mattered. And he told me that he hoped death wouldn’t change me. I stayed with him and we stared at my words, my dysfunctional words carefully written in the middle of space. Deklyn knew them by heart after a short while.
Words are a funny thing. You don’t think much of them, but they’re stronger than anything else could ever become. Words touch your heart; they become embedded in your soul. They have no limits; no time can hold them. Spoken words last as long as you can bear to remember them. Written words last until the sheet fades. Everything fades with time – nothing is forever. That’s just the way it works. I don’t put things off anymore. My days are numbered; I accepted that truth a long time ago. It’s foolish to take advantage of something that’s not yours. Understand me? Maybe. I’m not quite sure if I even understand myself. That’s kind of scary you know, not being able to know yourself, to understand what you’re trying to say. I might be crazy after all.
Deklyn came and went. He’s highly important in my life. He’s a key player for many reasons; I kind of strayed off the main topic. Deklyn, the heartless drug dealer, the one who willingly and knowingly betrayed his lord and master – I looked up to him. The hardened street hoodlum…he cared about me. He was the one that wasn’t supposed to care about anyone or anything, he had no attachments, they were too dangerous – he could only depend on himself. But we were both damned, and being we shared our fates, we could talk and bond better than anyone else. We were closer in death then most are in life. Scary huh?
The shop was steady; I was psyched to actually participate. My new station as apprentice demanded respect and put me a step closer to my goal. And when the day did come, I couldn’t stop shaking. It was that great. Sometimes shaking is necessary…well sometimes I guess. Life seemed tolerable enough. Vincent loomed around here and there; he was infamous for his unpredictable ways. And Deklyn came and went as he pleased, always eager to sit and talk with me. We’d spend hours in serious debate, or days considering the shapes of clouds. Bizarre indeed. But when you’re time is limited you’ll do all manner of silly things to pass the time. Time’s another really funny concept. Or maybe I just think it is. I seem to think a lot of funny things.
Deklyn got into this bad stretch once. He wouldn’t come around as much, I couldn’t figure it out. I went walking with Jack in the meanwhile, who was convinced that I was worried for all the wrong reasons. Jack was a great comfort. He came and went too, but he was always there when I needed him, he always seemed to know when things were hard on me. Jack was my guardian angel…funny name for an angel huh? But he’s still mine.
Days became weeks and nothing changed. I started to forget that time was fleeting. I’d spend most of my free time writing being I had nothing else. I vowed to leave it behind, I don’t know to whom, but I’d leave it behind. God help the person who finds this, or maybe not. They might find it humorous. Or they might learn from it. Either way, it’d be worth something, and that’s what I want. I want to know that my existence was something in this world, I wasn’t just a black space in the midst of the insanity – I wasn’t just another number, an addition to the statistic. I want to make an impact, leave a crater – be something. Anything. I’d hate to think that this was all a waste. The pain of existence, the suffering of survival…nothing more than trash. I know it sounds very pessimistic, on the verge of desperation, but it’s true. I think we all feel this way. Nobody wants to be nothing; we all want to be something. We all want to count, to stand up for once and leave our mark and let them know where we were and what we did. That’s what I think anyways…you don’t have to believe me. That’s what makes free will so great, you can choose what to accept or disregard. I love free will. But it’s ironic. You can choose so much but you can’t control the most important things. Life and death. Theoretically, you can, but not entirely. Because nothing is for sure. And nothing is always. And nothing is forever. Except love. And even that’s a maybe, even that’s a sometimes.
It wasn’t long before the consistency ended. There wasn’t reason for what happened next, it simply happened. I was going through my routines as I usually did and my father was becoming more…involved. He started to bother me and we fought more and more. I would rant to Jack for hours and all he could do was shake his head. He never really had any answers for me. Just expressions that I alone could truly decipher. He was at a loss and I was alone. I talked to Deklyn, I explained how my father bothered me. Deklyn didn’t want to listen either. He would change the topic whenever I tried to talk about my…domestic situation. And it didn’t get much better. The neighbors finally took it upon themselves to interfere and update my father on my activities, on my appearance and new habits. And he wasn’t pleased. The fight that turned everything around started one day when I came home from work. Clicking the door shut carefully behind me, I turned and almost walked into my father.
“Where have you been?”
“At work. Why?”
“The neighbors phoned, they saw that you’ve been running around with a gang, is this true?”
“I’ve been with Deklyn, aren’t I allowed to associate with family anymore?”
“You know that he’s in with a bad crowd. I told you to stay away.”
“I can make my own decisions!”
Now this is the point in the conversation when I knew I’d overstepped my boundaries. This was stupid statement number one. My father took a step toward me, I was sure that he could sense my shock, my eyes wide with amazement. Who had said such harsh words? Surely this wasn’t me…
“Your own decisions? You’re own choices? You’ve done a hell of a job. Hanging around with hoodlums, making a bad name for yourself and smoking? When the hell did you plan on telling me any of this? Or were these all things you simply decided were best?”
“It’s my life! What good would it do to tell you? You can’t help me, Gavin!”
Stupid statement number two. Never call your parent by their given name, especially in times of tension or stress. Major stupid.
“Harvey, what the hell happened to you? What happened to my little girl? I want my daughter back. You’re not mine. I deny you.”
“Then I don’t care. I’m leaving.”
Now, my father’s blind, he’s been blind for years. But he managed to smack me straight across my face so fast and so hard that I hit the floor and didn’t know where I was for a good few minutes. I got up in an awkward motion, still shocked from the blow. My father’s jaw was set and I turned on a heel and walked away from him. He stood there, muscles tense, shaking slightly. And that’s when I said it. It was barely a whisper, but I said it.
“I hate you. I wish you’d just die and leave me the hell alone already.”
I packed a back of clothes, paper, pencils…and I left. I packed my life up as best as I could and I turned my back and left behind everything I’d ever known with the intent to never return. It was raining at the time, naturally. And I had no idea where to go. The shop would be closed. I couldn’t go to the Drakes, I’d never find my way in the dark alone and the streets weren’t safe. I ended up wandering around aimlessly regardless. I wandered aimlessly until I saw dark figures lurking in the shadows. I quickened my pace and ended up walking right into a long black coat. My thoughts were racing; at first I thought it was Elysium. But this couldn’t be. The figure turned and held out a gloved hand to me, helping me rise. I looked into shadows and could find no eyes for comfort, no features to hold my attention. The people that’d be following me turned and ran. And the figure in front of me didn’t move. He just stood there, calmly. He, I assume it was a he. It surely wasn’t Elysium. I could hear the steady breathing. He still held my arm. Locked to death, all I could do was breathe.
He led me away, still holding onto me with an iron grip, features unknown, hidden behind a description that paralleled Elysium. He let go when I was in the infamous alleyway and stepped away. I kept my head down, soaked from the rain. I watched his close cautious movements and questions started pouring out of my mind.
“Who the hell are you?”
“Me? I’m Entropy.”
“And who is that?”
I saw the shape of eyes shine in the darkness. They blinked steadily, were dark and foreboding, shining. He just looked at me intently. “Chaos,” he whispered. He was gone so fast…I was sure that he had just disappeared with the falling rain. And in a day I’d met disaster first hand. And he wore the same outfit as Heaven. Him and Elysium could’ve easily been the same, except he spoke. His eyes shone out, he wore a hat to hide his face, but he was more humane. He’d brought me out of a war zone into safety. I curled up as best as I could and slept in the furthest corner of the alley, far away from the world. Tomorrow I’d go home, I decided, go home and make amends with my father. Before too much time passed. Little did I know…
I got home, still soaked, the rain refused to let up. I walked in the door, careful not to make much noise. I wasn’t sure of the time – I think it was the afternoon sometime. There was an eerie silence to the place, I crept around making as little noise as I could manage. My father’s door was slightly ajar, I pushed it open carefully, calling for him softly. I explained that I was sorry. I opened the door all the way. And I passed out.
I woke up…I don’t know where I was. But I wasn’t home anymore. Shapes were lurking around, the longer I watched, the more vivid they became. Deklyn was creeping around quietly, careful not to disturb anything. I sat up abruptly and watched him jump and nearly fall over. He didn’t want to say anything; he hesitated to move. I stared at him intently.
“What have you done?”
“It wasn’t me, I swear, you know I wouldn’t…”
“Don’t lie to the child.”
Vincent stepped out from nowhere, dark and somber. His voice didn’t really startle me, I expected him to be lurking around as soon as I saw Deklyn. Deklyn stayed away, hiding in the shadows, careful of his leader’s darting eyes. Vincent moved closer to where I was. He sat down and looked down at me calmly. It felt like he was looking down, he might have been level to me in reality. I’m not sure. He spoke calmly.
“Be careful what you wish for, remember?”
And memories started coming back. The words on the wall in dripping wet blood, words he’d just spoken to me were saved on the wall over my father’s bed. They were written in his blood, clearly. My father’s body was on the bed, bloody, beaten…broken. The proud man he’d once been was long gone, only a shadow of his former self. I remember hitting the ground and nothing else registered. The image was burned into my mind. I stared at Vincent intently.
“You did this? You killed him?”
“Now, hold on, don’t jump to conclusions just yet. You asked for it, remember? Deklyn heard you. And he had to prove his loyalty again after that slight…occurrence a while back.”
My glare shifted to Deklyn, whose head was hung low, into his chest. He avoided me, moving around constantly. I wanted to scream, I wanted to get up and attack someone. But I remembered my senses, I was in a room with two ruthless murderers. Killers. I wanted my life back. I wanted anything. I wanted my father back. I looked at Vincent, cool, calm Vincent, who rose quietly and moved away from me. He was smiling that sinister grin of his, the gleam in his eyes obvious.
“Have fun in custody court kid. And by the way, this is only the beginning of the end.”
And with that he left. He left me there, without a farewell, or a word of departure, and he was gone. I got up and faced Deklyn. And I hit him. I kept hitting him until my knuckles were numb, until I felt someone grab me and pull me off of him. He was a bleeding ball of flesh on the floor, curled up, crying to himself. I never saw him that weak before. And he didn’t even try to fight back. I fought off the grip that restrained me, turning to face Entropy. His features were still carefully hidden – he eyes gleamed down at me. Elysium stood next to him, silent. The two of them matched to the last detail almost, yet they weren’t the same. She kept a safe distance, her eyes dark. Deklyn looked at them in shock, rising to his feet shakily. He turned and ran out as well. He moved so quickly, you’d have thought that Death was on his heels. Maybe it was.
Elysium kind of snuck out of the room quietly. Entropy stood there, serene, stern, calm. He let go and just stayed there when I whirled around to face him. I fell back a step or so. He moved to where I’d been lying down and sat. He looked at me and took the hat from his head that covered his eyes. His features were all dark, naturally. He looked down at the floor quietly and looked up at me.
“You should go to your uncle.”
“Why do you care?”
“Because I’m supposed to.”
“Yes. See, Elysium is the other side. She’s the cold one, the gatekeeper.”
“But you’re Chaos?”
“Yes. And Elysium is Heaven. Ironic huh?”
“You’re allowed. Let me take you home.”
“For now anyways. Nothing’s forever kid.”
He got up and put his hand on my back and led me out carefully. I didn’t ask questions. I didn’t know if he belonged to Vincent, I doubted it; he didn’t fit into the usual lackey mold. I looked up at him every chance I could get. They were opposites, the two of them, yet they matched. I questioned him when I could get up the courage.
“She’s my other.”
He smiled down at me calmly. “Yes. She completes me.”
“You mean…you love her?”
“Love’s such a petty, vulgar word, child. But if you insist, yes, I imagine I do.”
“I’m not a child you know…”
He looked down at me and smiled a halfway grin, a half-hearted grimace. “Course you’re not. Of course not, what was I thinking?”
And we walked the rest of the way in silence, side by side. Absolute silence. It got on my nerves, but he kept his arm across my back, the palm on my right shoulder. I couldn’t run if I tried. For some odd reason, I didn’t seem to want to.
“Are you…do you….are you with Vincent?”
“You mean the gang, am I a member?”
“No. I’m not. I belong to nobody. Except, perhaps, Elysium.”
“I think so.”
“And what do I care what you think?”
And silence resumed. We walked at a steady pace; he led me to the door and knocked, then stood again at my side. My uncle opened the door after awhile, sleepily. I wasn’t sure of the time; I imagine it was early. We were both soaked to the skin, Entropy smiling broadly.
“I believe that this is yours?”
Uncle Declan blinked slowly, looked from him to I, and back again. He rubbed his eyes and nodded quietly. “Thank you Entropy.”
“Always, dear friend. I do owe you, after all.”
“Of course. Thanks again, my friend.”
“It was a pleasure.”
“Send Elysium my regards?”
“She might be over to see you soon herself.”
“I’m afraid so, old friend. Terribly sorry.”
Entropy merely nodded, but shook his head as well. My uncle looked defeated, older than he was. He took me and ushered me inside. He spoke to my accomplice for a little while longer before shutting the door quietly. He turned to me at last, looking more tired than before. He led me to the couch and found blankets and pillows from a closet. He seemed to be muttering to himself, I didn’t question anything. I knew that Deklyn hadn’t come back; he hadn’t been home in ages. My uncle went to bed himself and left me to my own thoughts. I sat there thinking for hours, and, finding that sleep had abandoned me, I wrote for a while. The conversation I’d heard at the door didn’t make much sense to me, but the idea of my uncle knowing a creature such as Entropy haunted me. Bizarre alliances indeed.
The new morning brought little relief from yesterday’s mixed events, and the more I thought on them, the more distorted everything became. My uncle explained to me as simply as he could find words that my father was dead and he’d assumed custody of me, as my mother’s only remaining relative. My father’s family was useless, we didn’t even bother them. They came to the funeral, as was expected, and were scarce again shortly after. They never really wanted anything to do with him, didn’t bother me much. And I moved in with Uncle Declan. They tried to have me stay with Rook, but that didn’t work out too well. I beat her up the first night…my uncle wasn’t pleased.
The life I’d known previous to this tragedy was lost forever; I could never go back to it. That old chapter of my life was finished; this was a fresh new start. To explain my new life requires a new end and yet another conclusion. Here’s to the future, however limited.