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30. Bang, Bang, You’re Dead.

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Or so it seems.

Blanks used to seem like such a waste to me until I found myself still breathing after five separate pulls of the trigger. I realized Colt’s screams had become silent, that I was still warm and comforted by my madness.

So what happened? And why? The door swung open slowly, and Edward lumbered in. He closed the door slowly behind himself, sitting in the center of the room, ominous and peaceful. I was still on my knees with the weapon clutched in one hand, the barrel in the other. He laid his weapon on the floor, staring intently into my eyes.

“You have been tried. And you have been sentenced. But as no law of man may supersede that of love, you are being granted pardon at this time. Until said time when/if Colt passes, you will be retried should the Family command it. Do you accept this agreement?”

And I realized why his weapon was in my grasp. I could refuse his offer, blow him away, and run screaming into the night. I could claim my innocence, admit nothing, and keep running. By taking his deal, I would be agreeing, forever, that I had murdered Harley. I would keep that burden deep in my soul for all time, a blade consistently hanging over my shoulder at every turn. Would I be willing to keep that tag despite the truth? I picked up his weapon slowly, turning it over in my hand.

“Yes Edward.” I pushed it slowly back into his hands, where he spun it carefully, admiring the artwork. He rolled it over, sliding a finger loosely over the trigger.

“Alright then. We have an accord.”

And two shots rang out. I remember feeling the impact, shaking momentarily, staring beyond Edward to where the second shot was aimed. Out in the hallway was Colt, held in place by Relic, blood pouring from his arm. I looked down to see blood pouring from my opposite arm, collecting in my open palm. I started to get up, but remember dropping back onto the ground. I stared up at the ceiling as the shock and adrenaline started to wear off slowly, breaking way into relentless pain and fatigue. I didn’t care anymore about why things had ended this way, or why I was bleeding.

I just wanted to sleep for a while.

And I did. I let go of my concerns, of the past week of madness and pain. I didn’t care what happened from here or why. Everything would fall into place soon enough. Or so I kept telling myself. I kept hoping.

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