25. The Collapse


25 - ch25

I was home – it was my day off. Lucid was at the shop. I decided to hang around, try to see if Relic wanted to do anything. She was coming into her own, that age of rebellion when she learns the more important lessons of life. She’s got to decide if whom she is now is who she wants to be for the rest of her life. It’s hard being a teenager, I would know, I was there once, once upon a time. It feels like an eternity ago. The madness of youth. The ever-changing trends. I was swept up in the insanity. And miraculously, I didn’t drown. Look at that.

I hung around, cleaned here and there, checked in on what Relic was up to. I left her mostly to herself. She didn’t need me harassing her all the time. She didn’t need me consistently on her case. And I tried my best as a parent to respect that. It just takes getting used to sometimes. That’s life.

Lucid would be home kind of early. He didn’t stay too late; he just worked the earlier parts of the day. They had Angyl to work at night. Besides, business was kind of sketchy since Syn died. Time passed since then but it felt so…uncertain. You woke up and kept going because it was expected of you, because it was necessary. You couldn’t stop and wonder. It was gone and over already and that was that. Lucid trudged through the door, closing it quietly behind himself. He seemed…lost. Out of his own skin. I got up to kiss him but he seemed so cold…I thought better of it. I reached out for a hug anyway, which he returned. But he was still lost. Still vacant. I followed to where he sat down, pulling a chair next to him.

“Hey Hun, what’s up?”

He shook his head, trying to clear his mind. “Nothing. What’s Relic up to?”

I shrugged. “Living.”

He nodded quietly. “Good.”

“What’s wrong?”

“Nothing.” He said it in such a soft tone, bordering a whisper. He coughed and repeated himself, trying to make it sound real. Trying to make it sound true.

“Lucid, really. What’s up?”

He shook his head, getting up. I followed him with my eyes as he walked out of the room. I could hear the clink of glasses as he poured himself a drink. I followed behind him a few paces carefully. He was looking down. I reached out to put a hand on his shoulder. He shook me off and sat back down.

“If you knew something that you knew better to get involved in…but it could save lives, would you act on it?”

“Like what?”

He shook his head. “I got out of the game for the most part. I stand on the sidelines, I let the runners run, the dealers deal. I don’t intervene in business that’s not mine. I can’t risk it. We have a life, a family, we…can’t.”

“Lucid, what’s going on?”

He looked around. “The kids are up to no good.”

“What kids?”

He looked around. “The kids. The Trio. Maven, Rev…and Angyl.”


I shrugged. “What kind of trouble are the little demons up to?”

He looked up at me, locking eyes. “The worst kind.”

“What business is it of ours?”

He shrugged. “Exactly.” He got up, taking the drink with him, sipping quietly, nodding. I could hear him repeat the word to himself quietly. He turned and went to the bedroom. I watched him go, shaking my concerns away.

For half a second, I was going to march down to the tattoo shop and sort this out. I wanted to slam Angyl into a wall and get the truth. I wanted to headlock Rev or shake Maven. I wanted answers from anywhere. But I knew I’d never get them. So I quit. I didn’t worry about trying. It would work itself out. We had a family now; we couldn’t afford to play the game anymore. It was gone and done. We were out of the loop.

There was a new goal now. To protect our daughter. To raise her right. Let the explosion happen without intervening – let it spread, as long as the debris didn’t stretch to our home.

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