24. Breathing Conspiracy


24 - ch24

The next order of business was Syn’s funeral. We all went as a group. Lucid, Relic, Serkis, Layne, and myself. Pandora took Maven with her. Rev went with his demons, also known as Colt and Irish. Jack and Gin showed up. A lot of the kids from the show and the parlor showed up. A lot of the bar’s regulars were there. And then of course, there were our special guests. Guests I had met in my younger years.

Saint Crowe.

Damien Thompson. Or – Klyde.

They stood shoulder to shoulder, both shrouded in black, faces hidden from the crowd. Syn’s significant other wasn’t present; Pike skipped town when she died. Suspicious. Angyl Hunter was there, in the back, watching in silence. And the other pair of suspiciously black-clad mourners?

Payge and Set Drake.

The living legends themselves. Here, in the flesh. To mark the end of the cycle. They were free now if they so chose. Syn had controlled their lives. Her death freed a lot of people. From fear. From persecution. We could breathe easy at last.

Syn wasn’t hated, but there was a lot that wasn’t known about her that came to light in a very…unconventional way. Her horrors, his mistreatment of people, the cruelty that she truly was…that girl was cold beyond cold. She was dead. We were here more to rejoice. Her “sudden” death raised questions, sure, but who wanted to investigate? I mean, really. I saw Officer Bishop at the funeral as well. I made a mental note to ask him about it. He would know anything that needed to be known.

I hate funerals – that’s why I don’t get into detail. I’m not much into fine-tuning anymore, just the bare facts. The hard evidence. I made my way over to Officer Bishop as people were clearing out. To avoid anyone overhearing. I elbowed him slightly as I went by.

“What, you don’t say anything to me anymore, Hadley?”

I wheeled around. I hadn’t been called by my given name in years. Harley was a nickname. Officer Bishop smiled wide at me. I came back and hugged him tight.

“How are you these days, Sylum?”

He shook his head. “Same old. What do you need?”

“Need? I’m offended, you thinking that I would only…”

He cut in. “Do you need something or don’t you? I know you better than you think, kid.”

I laughed. “Yeah. I kind of…need to know who killed Syn. I don’t need to know why.”

He looked around, thinking about it. The crowd was clearing out and Lucid was waiting. He reached out a hand for a shake, which I took. And he pulled my body into his, holding me to him. He bent to whisper in my ear.

“You’ll know when I do. Promise.”

And we parted ways.

He was right – I only called him when I needed something. We couldn’t be friends. We couldn’t have a normal relationship. Things had been so different when we were both younger. There might have been something between us, or it might have been puppy love, or desperation. Take your pick. But dealing with Sylum is always…difficult. Hence why he’s – Officer Bishop. Using his first name too often stirs up the past.


I went back to Lucid and Relic. My poor girl. She’d never been through all this before. This was new. And probably terrifying. I tried to remember my first funeral. I couldn’t. I bent down and kissed her, patting her head.

“I’m going to go to work and help the people there. You want to stay with me, or go with your father?”

She looked around, considering her options, but she ended up shrugging. I stood and looked at Lucid. He smiled and kissed me.

“I’ll take her. I don’t want her around the drowning anyway.”

“Thanks Hun. I’ll see you both later at home, okay?”

They both nodded and with a few more hugs and kisses they were gone. I walked to the bar alone. I could feel the eyes watching me. I could hear the steps behind mine. I took a few dozen steps before wheeling around.

“Do you two honestly think I can’t hear you?”

Saint and Damien were standing there, smiling wide, heads held high.

“We just couldn’t resist,” Saint muttered, speaking around a smoke. He shuffled through his pockets for a pack, which he held out to me. I took one from him and lit up while we walked back to the bar together. It was nice to have company.

Sure, I wasn’t best friends with them either. They were acquaintances from another time, another place. I was so young then. I was just a child. Foolish. We walked along like old friends, joking here and there. As bizarre as it seemed or felt, it was still something worth cherishing. It was better than being alone. And in times like these, where everything was questionable, nobody could be too careful. Everything was up for debate. Reality especially.

We got to the bar. Everyone was dressed in their finest. It was only proper. After awhile, when everyone had been settled in, Rev wandered in. As usual, we busted each other’s chops and he was on his way again. Not after making a bit of a mess, which I had him clean up. That clumsy child dropped an entire tray of drinks. Kids these days, completely hopeless. Heh.

I stayed at the bar to the late hours of the morning. Damien and Saint helped me carry out some of the real heavy mourners. On this day of days, I was horribly grateful to have them. At some point in the night, I left to go over to the Black Dragon, to see how things were going at the old parlor. They were equally packed with mourners. I did the typical “meet and greet” with all of the people I listed earlier, exchanged more shows of affection with my husband and daughter, and returned to my post. Cleared out the place. By the end of the night, all I had left was Damien and Saint.

“So, you boys getting out of here or am I locking you in?”

Saint nodded. Damien said nothing to me all night. I didn’t really expect him to. They both got up we all shook hands and they made for the door.

“Ah, before I forget,” Saint started. “Just be a tad warned, there’s a bit of a storm brewing. You might want to keep your head down. You know, just until it settles down.”

“And when will that be?”

Damien had already slipped out the door. Saint was hanging on, leaning on the frame, halfway out, halfway in. He thought about it a bit.

“You’ll know. Trust me.”

And they were both gone. I was alone.

Syn was buried. And as I learned when I went to the tattoo shop, the unthinkable had happened.

Maven Merrick. Rev Ransom. And Angyl Hunter.

Had met. And made good, close friends.


More to come in the next piece, if you don’t mind, it’s time for me to sleep.

Enough excitement for one day.

Sweet dreams.

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