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13. Exiled – Only Human

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Naturally, I had an important part in the plan that Angyl laid out. It was my job to kidnap Payge from the Dragon. And make sure the place got closed and locked up all right. It was a heavy responsibility. No room for failure. This had to be executed perfectly. And it would be.

I would have Colt and Irish help me. They’d leave when everything was set up. This had to be done perfectly. I trusted them. And right now, that was most important. That would get us through.

I was following orders. It was just that simple.

I would go into the Dragon and talk to her. I would receive the last words of the condemned. This was history. And I was a part of it. The way we were going about this, all cloak and dagger, would ensure that nobody knew the truth. Maybe it was better off that way. Maybe nobody should know. For security reasons.

Anything that needed to be done was postponed or reassigned. My entire evening was cleared out. I got to the Dragon exceedingly early. It was late for the place, leaving Payge alone. She was sitting in the back doing paperwork when I came in.

“I’ll be right with you,” she called.

“No rush,” I replied. There was no reason to rush into this. To rush the guillotine. She came out eventually, looking around.

“What do you need?”

“To talk.”

She quirked a brow. “Why? About what?”

I found myself a place to sit down. She sat next to me. I cleared my throat.

“Tell me – how does it feel?”

“What?” She looked bewildered.

“To be Endless.”

She jumped up, looking around. I just smiled back at her. I let nothing show.

“What the hell are you talking about?”

I got up. “The truth. I know who and what you are.”

She laughed, backing away from me. “You think you know.”

“Think? Your predecessors were murdered by my cousin, Toryn. They are Angyl’s parents.”

“What?” She looked genuinely shocked.

“I repeat – how does it feel to be Endless?”

And she was silent. I smiled wider.

“What really scares you? That I know who and what you are, or the fact that you’re just as mortal as the rest of us? You bleed too.”

And we stood. Daring each other.

“You don’t scare me,” she responded. Her body was straight – proud.

 

“I don’t, huh?”

“You and your games serve no other purpose than to annoy me. You have no idea what you’re talking about, or what you’re involved in. Get out.”

I stood there, listening silently. I nodded to her points. I pretended to be interested. I was still fairly close to her. A bead of sweat slipped down her forehead. I smiled.

“This is the true end of ends, my dear. After this, nothing will remain to piece together. You are a very important part of this. I’m the only confessor you’re going to get. If you’ve got anything to say, now is your chance. Your last chance.”

“If love proves real,” she told me.

I smiled, nodding.

“To the last,” she concluded.

And she swung at me; I went reeling to the floor. I saw her feet move toward the door, only to be met by two familiar pairs. Colt and Irish. I was on my feet to see them standing before the door, arms folded. Payge was wheeling around between us, looking for a break. She couldn’t take on the three of us. But she’d try like hell.

We had orders not to do serious damage – to merely get her where she was needed to be. Between the three of us, we managed to hold her still enough for me to get a grip on her arm. To drug her up. To put her on a chemical cloud. There was hate in her eyes, even when they softened and the fighting stopped. She was awake, but seemingly mentally paralyzed. We got her up, binding her arms behind her. I moved around, patting her on the head.

“Say hello to them for me,” I whispered. “The lost.”

And we set out for the alley. Payge in front of me, pressed close so as not to look too suspicious. Colt and Irish moved behind me, silently. They would stay until everyone was in place. When we got there, we were alone in the shadows. We got Payge on her knees, holding a gun to the back of her head. Even in her chemical stupor, she had common sense. She silently waited with us. Pride wounded, honor in tact – this was her just reward. Or so Angyl made it seem.

The night was passing slowly, seconds dripping by.

There was another drip, from Payge. Blood was seeping from God only knows where. It had been a rough fight to get her down. She just wouldn’t quit.

Maven and Set showed up, he held her firmly in front of him. She didn’t seem uncomfortable. She just stood there, watching silently. She had done her job. And now she was in the line of fire. She’d be all right through. Angyl was missing. We waited in the stand off like that for a while. Set demanded a trade. I cocked the gun. He stopped moving.

I watched as his body was heaved backwards. Angyl had him from behind. Colt and Irish look the hint from my glance and took off. I hit Payge with the gun, leaving her to collapse to the ground. Maven had passed out; I went to her aid. Angyl was doing just fine on her own anyway. She had him with something by the throat – I couldn’t see what was going on. But she seemed competent enough. So I picked up Maven and brought her home. And I’d come back and check on things when I was done.

 

Maven was limp, her body cold. I don’t know what happened to her, but she wasn’t all right. I carried her home, holding her close, wrapped in my coat, even though she had her own. She was still cold. I wouldn’t bring her to her mother, no, she was going through a lot. I decided to take her to her little nook in the sewers. Her home underground. Her true home. Where she truly belonged. I moved quickly, attracting no attention. I was the street boss. My life was my own business. As were the girls I carried.

I got her there in record time. And I put her down carefully, covering her. I left my coat there. So she’d know how she got home. If it dawned on her to realize. I kissed her on the forehead and went back, back to the alley. To learn the outcome. I moved faster, my steady steps turning into a disoriented run. I got back out of breath, coughing, gasping for air. For life. For salvation. And she just stood there. The two bodies were on the ground. Bloody. Broken. Bodies. They were dead. I knew it just by seeing them. How she’d killed them…I wasn’t sure. But she had, in fact, killed them. I turned my back to walk away when she called me back. I turned around and went to her, staying a safe distance away. She was covered in blood.

I was told to go to the bar. Find Harley. And talk to her. I was told to write instructions for Maven. They were dictated directly from Angyl. I took them down, stuffing them into a pocket. I was supposed to find Harley. And I was supposed to get her piece of the story from her. She had the history of the circus. The spread of the other stories. She was a narrator. She was an onlooker. It had to be taken. It had to be destroyed. Everything would go tonight. The history, the proof. Everything. And I would help in the compilation of it. I did as I was told. As I was told.

For once in my life, I was following someone else’s orders. I wasn’t calling the shots. And it didn’t bother me. In the least. To not have to think. To consider the consequences. It was nice to be secure. To feel protected. Safe.

I left the note with Maven detailing her next job and our next meeting. And I went to the bar. To talk to Harley. To make everything end. To do as I was told.

The Drakes were dead. Angyl had made sure of that.

This is the really real world, ladies and gentlemen.

There’s no coming back.

Here’s to being Endless.

To the last, right?

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