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17. Torn – Division of Assets

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I woke up at the circus, in the sewers, in my own little den. It was dark. I couldn’t remember how I got here, how, why. I got up carefully, staggering around in the darkness. There was a note from Rev. A really long note. It explained what had happened. It explained that the Drakes were dead. That Angyl had killed them. And that there was more to be done. As I read it, I could feel a tear slipping down my cheek.

Who would carry them away?

The note continued to explain that I’d go back to my mother. And I’d take all her negatives, the pictures, everything, all proof of the past. And I’d bring it to the Dragon. I’d put together all the pieces. Anything she had that proved the existence of anyone I would take with me. This was my assignment. I was to get everything to the Dragon as soon as possible. And I wasn’t allowed to screw up. I would make it work. I got my bearings and started home, the letter stuffed into a pocket. It listed things that we would have to assemble, most of which Angyl would procure. I was responsible for everything in my mother’s possession. Listed were a few things that they weren’t sure of, so I was to search the place, see if we had them. I repeated the instructions to myself, over and over again. Just in case. Just in case. Leave nothing. Nothing.

The point was this – to completely destroy all evidence. The stories that were going through the streets would be reduced to mere fairy tales. There would be no proof that could be procured. The survivors were dead. The documents – burned. There was nothing. But this. We would end it. Once and for all. We would wipe the slate clean. And it wouldn’t matter anymore. We’d put all the old dogs to sleep. And there would be nothing. If anyone came looking for it, it would be gone. Done. For always. It was just that simple. I made my way home.

I cleared my mind of guilt by the time I got to the door. It was dark. It was late. My mother should be sleeping. Hopefully. I opened the door, closing it behind myself as best as I could without making a sound. I crept to the bedroom, peering in. My mother’s back was to me, her body heaving peacefully as she slept. I let out a sigh of relief, and started searching the apartment.

It took me about an hour to assemble everything listed. And I found some extra stuff too, stuff that I didn’t even think my mother realized was there. I left everything out in the hall, quietly moving through the place. I had a series of boxes sitting out in the hall. How was I supposed to get this where it needed to go?

Seems that Angyl and Rev thought of that. I looked down the hall and found one of Rev’s closer lackeys. He trotted over simply.

 

“Need a hand?” he said. I recognized Colt. He was Rev’s second in command. I nodded and he picked up the larger of the boxes, while I picked up another. Between the two of us, we managed. We crept down the stairs and out of the building, sweat pouring down my forehead. I could only imagine my mother’s reaction if she woke up to this. She’d want answers. And sadly, I had none. I was merely following orders. I didn’t know what they were up to now, or why. But I did as I was told. I collected pieces of the puzzle, picture evidence. I kept the one picture that I had tucked in my pocket. It was mine and handing it over was never part of the deal. Colt helped me get to the shop and quickly took leave. He was gone before I could begin to ask where he was going. I looked around.

The lights were on in the Dragon, even though it was late, or early. It was uncertain if the place ever closed, but this was different. This just felt…out of place. I looked around. Nobody around. I started dragging the boxes inside.

Rev was sitting behind the counter aimlessly when I got inside. He was leafing through papers, skimming information. He seemed interested in a very dull sense of the word. He looked up as I came in. I dropped the box I was carrying in the middle of the floor and went outside for the other one. He hadn’t moved from where he sat, feet up, relaxing.

Angyl was floating around, busily moving around the place. I couldn’t understand what she was up to. Until I smelt the air, until I heard the splash of the gasoline on the tile floors. I turned my eyes from one to the other, searching for answers of some kind. There were none to be had, just the overwhelming silence. I could feel a scream welling up in my chest; when it got too hard to contain I went outside. I collapsed onto my hands and knees, heaving gasping breathes. I couldn’t breathe that well – I could feel tears streaming down my cheeks. And I couldn’t begin to understand what was wrong. Like a part of me was dying here. Like this had gotten out of control, too fast. I heard steps and found Rev next to me. He put out a hand to help me. I stood next to him.

We stood together, side by side. Angyl came out last. She produced a lighter, flipped the top back, and threw it back in. A small trail of flame crept up at first, and before we knew it, the place was engulfed.

The end of the Black Dragon was here before us. The flames danced in the early morning, escaping only to the air. They seemed constrained, only dangerous to the Dragon. They didn’t move on to other buildings. This catastrophe was reserved for the Dragon only. Lucid would have nothing. This would be the last straw – he’d go insane. But that didn’t matter. Nothing mattered. Except the flames.

We were burning down all proof of anything. We were burning down thirty years of pain. Thirty years of madness. Burning the obituaries of the lost. Burning their written words. Burning everything that screamed their existence. It was the end of all debate. The stories that remained were nothing more than fairy tales now. There was no proof to be had. None. I had one picture. That was the only reminder I had. That was the only remnant of the past that I had. As I stood there, I wondered if the others had pieces that we didn’t know about. Wouldn’t matter.

This was the end of it. She wouldn’t need us anymore – I could feel it. She finished what she set out to do. And that would be the end of that. From here on out, we were individuals. There would be no trust, no unity. I stayed a step away from them as the place burned, desperate to be out of reach. I was beyond this, ages away. My mind was falling apart – I could feel it. I wanted to scream. But I couldn’t. When I couldn’t take it anymore, I took off running. And I ran until my legs couldn’t hold me anymore.

 

I ran and I tripped and fell and I got up and kept going. I ran all night. I ran until the morning came. And when there was nothing left, no thoughts, no actions…I stopped. I stopped. I took a breath and looked around. And there was nothing. There was the fog, the mist that made all else uncertain. I couldn’t believe it. But here I was. I looked around. And I collected my thoughts. There were no thoughts to be had. I felt the still wet tears. And I looked up.

And the remains of the Dragon were before me. I couldn’t stop crying. I collapsed to my knees again, alone, in this desolate place. There was nothing left. Just a dismal frame and ash. That was the end. There was nothing to withstand the shift and the madness. All that would remain was the feeble reminder of what was, and the sifting ash, floating through the air listlessly. This was it. I couldn’t stop crying. And I stayed there until a hand took hold of my shoulder. I could feel the fingers dig in. I took a feeble glance over my shoulder.

“Let’s go home.”

And I got up. I shook my head. And I turned away. There was nothing left here. As in my mind, there was nothing of substance. And I fell in step. I avoided her eyes.

“Yes, Mother.”

And we went home.

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