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14. Realm of Fiction

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What do you do when you have a killer after you?

Run. Fast.

Though I wasn’t entirely sure if she was after me. I mean, it is highly likely, but it seems all the more likely that she’d be looking for her brother. He’s the one that sold her out, right? Not me. I had nothing to do with it.

I was merely the only bit of evidence that could liberate her from her attackers.

I stumbled out of the bar as fast as I could, running up the stairs two at a time. I needed Angyl. I needed logic. I needed a plan. And right now I was out of all of the above. I would have to fly solo for the time being and hope that something worked itself out.

Mom had lived above the bar for some time, so naturally, with the business – I inherited the apartment as well. It was mostly untouched throughout the years, one of the many things Angyl had tried to fight me on. I was insistent that the place remain in the condition it was left in, despite the inhabitants. The only exceptions to be made were the food in the fridge, but otherwise – home sweet home. I closed the door with a quiet click, being sure to slide the deadbolt into place behind myself. Taking a few steps inside, the very first breath of fresh air seemed familiar and inviting.

Until a set of steps echoed my own. A set that seemed to come to a comfortable rest a few feet from me, before continuing to move closer. I froze in the doorway, unsure of where to move from here. Forward would bring me closer to the demon, but backwards, out the door…to what end? From there, how far would I need to run to escape this? How far would I have to go to achieve anything? I might as well stand here and fight for what I believe in than run for the rest of my life. Right? Or was I wrong? Maybe I was built to run. Perhaps I was a coward in denial.

“Leaving won’t make me go away,” the voice rasped, slow and even. I looked up, trying to feign my most honest look of indifference. She was a few short feet from me, smiling this haphazard grin. I tried to figure out what to say, where to go, but she had me. I was trapped in this solitary moment and would have to take the consequences as they came. But of what? What did I do wrong? What sin was I to be held accountable for? She took another step closer.

“You need to tell them the truth, Relic. You need to tell them I had nothing to do with this.”

“But you did. You were his favorite.”

“Don’t be petty with me!” Her voice faltered for a second, an ounce of desperation in her tone. I tried not to let my victory go to my head. She straightened herself out and took hold of my throat, slamming me back against the door.

“You were never built for this. And that’s fine. So give me my life back, call off the dogs and let everyone see the truth for what it is. I didn’t touch either of your parents, you have no quarrel with me. I loved your parents as they loved me, despite my past. And I will avenge them if you’re too scared to. But you need to allow me that chance. You have the power to put the wrong things right. I don’t want to hurt you. Trust me.”

I burst out laughing despite myself. Trust? And to trust her? This lunatic who had burst into my apartment and started making demands? She was the only lead to the truth I sought. She needed to stay where she was or the entire scheme might fall apart. People would start asking questions. And I wasn’t sure how much more misdirection was in me. She let me go and stepped back a few times, looking around the place.

“Come on Dacien, aren’t you being a bit rough on the kid?” I heard from my bedroom, a more familiar voice coming closer. Angyl crept out slowly, keeping a steady count on her distance to Dacien. The smiles on both faces got wider as Dacien sidestepped to greet Angyl.

“Well now, if it isn’t the great Angyl Hunter, the legend of legends, the Queen of Aces and my very own judge and jury? Was it not you who orchestrated everything? You – who destroyed the stories, my family’s legacy? You – who pushed Lucid to his end and convinced my brother to blame me? Was it not you who destroyed all that was to be held dear? And for whose end, besides your own? You and I are the same Angyl – dinosaurs. Soon to be extinct, but living reminders of what kind of people own these streets.” Her voice was filled with irony and sarcasm, eyes locked on her target. Angyl took it all in stride, performing a mock bow when her name was first announced.

“Anything else, tiger?” Angyl’s tone was entirely unafraid. She was at home here, despite the awkwardness, despite the madness. This was her kingdom.

Dacien laughed a bit, nodded slowly. “Yeah actually.”

And I remember that split second thought, that solitary, “Oh fuck,” that crept from my lips before the shot rang out. I remember hitting the floor momentarily. But all else from there was black.

Intermission?

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