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7. We Four Horsemen

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Stop, rewind, repeat in slow motion. Let me slowly explain the dazed blur of events that we bore witness to. Piece by piece, here’s the result, here is the painstaking event.

            We were at the warehouse by 11, each armed, each positioned at a strategic point, ready to burst into the scene. Hadrien was ready with a rifle; he’d be our long-range cover. Everything relies on trust. Absolute loyalty and devotion to one another. This would be the proving grounds. We lurked in the darkness, listening carefully for life. By 11:30, the gang started flooding in, small groups, quietly coming out of the shadows and disappearing just as quickly. Dyre was led in near the end of the parade. All of the gangsters had their faces covered, like a midnight masquerade. And finally, coming up in the rear, the nightmare Himself, with the faithful in tow, Lyre silently at his side. Marcellus took his time, checking over his shoulder a few times. And the ceremony began.

            Chairs were set up, Marcellus’ being bigger and very prominent. Dyre stood there, alone, broken away from the group. He didn’t belong there. After some introductory speaking, Ashe was dragged in, fighting to the last. We all moved into place, waiting for Dyre’s hand to level out. His gun was leveled…and we went in. From doors all around, we ran in and shot at everybody in sight. A single loud shot rang out and I turned to see Ashe’s knees buckle as his body dropped. Dyre hadn’t moved. For a split second I realized that Dyre hadn’t fired. Searching the rafters, I saw the moving shadow outline. Klyde. We grouped up and ran out, bleeding, dying but still moving. We ran to the door as a group, bullets sailed everywhere. We were almost out when the shots stopped and just one rang out. One shot, then another, just solitary shots back and forth. And we were out.

We ran to the Dragon, collapsing inside – Dyre had a key to let us in. Dyre had Ashe; he’d carried him in his arms, laying him on the floor. We were all bleeding and broken from various locations. Dyre was silent, Hadrien looked at our bloody faces compared to his shining smile. Dev seemed to be okay, Galat and her were on good terms. Toryn collapsed in a chair. I went over to hold her, only to find her covered in blood. Klyde had gotten her, we were running short on time. I started to run to a phone to call someone when a hand grabbed my wrist. Payge Drake looked at me in an expression of anger and concern. Set was outside with a car running. We grouped up, leaving Dyre with Ashe, and we went to the hospital.

Galat and Dev were treated for minor injuries, nothing fatal. Hadrien went for a walk to clear his head. Toryn was slipping though, they brought her into surgery as they tried to treat me. I shrugged them off, pacing around as I bled. Payge watched me curiously.

“You should let them help you.”

“Fuck them, I want to know about Toryn.”

“It’ll be awhile, just hope.”

“Fuck hope!”

“Then love.”

“Fuck love too! Love is the most overrated, wasted, damaging…oh.”

I didn’t realize it, but she was crying. We all knew the story. The Drakes were the most beautiful legend of all. Both of them were dead now, Payge’s parents, in the name of love. I sat down with her, repeating my apology over and over again. I held her, letting her cry into my bloody soul. Raised with and by gangs, she understood how everything goes. Set was lurking around with Galat and Dev. He happened to come back to us to find us there. He tore me out of the chair by an arm. Payge caught hold of him, whispered a few words, and the raging bull was calmed. He sat down with his sister, with me on her other side, Galat and Dev sitting across from us.

By early in the morning, it was decided that they’d all go home and I’d wait. Payge and Set would drop everyone home, then open the shop. Later on, they’d come back for me. I told them not to waste their time. I refused to leave until I knew that she’d be all right. Hours later, a young doctor came and woke me up. This unfortunate girl would have to deliver the news to me; she sat down and waited for me to wake up. I rubbed my eyes and asked her the outcome. She shuffled through papers on a clipboard, going over facts and figures.

“She’s alive, but it’ll take a few days before we’re positive. She’s bouncing from stable to not. For the most part, she’s okay. I can’t make any promises though. Along with minor injuries, she sustained a severe shot from beyond, it struck organs. It’ll be awhile before she gets out of surgery. They fix one thing…well, you know. What’s your relation to her?”

I don’t know exactly when I got up, but I was moving. I don’t know where I was headed, but I had to keep moving. The words faded away, the doctor moved along to breaking someone else. I was losing her, my stupidity did this. No, she signed up willingly. We all knew how to play the game. Everyone knows the rules. You sign up, your life is always on the line. I stood around, debating with myself, watching life pass by. I watched doctors and nurses hurry back and forth, eager to save lives.

Someone come save mine.

Please?

I promise to be good.

One of the doctors caught my attention as he passed, I fell in step behind him. Hands deep in pockets, hurried step…clothes under the lab coat were all black. This was no doctor, this was a street demon at work. I followed closely until I saw him about to go into surgery, a gun was visible. I crept up and grabbed him from behind and we struggled right there. Doctors called security to pry us apart – I couldn’t stop. I kept hitting until I had nothing left. By the time security arrived, Lyre was merely a bloody heap on the ground. I got up, dusted myself off, and walked away. And now I don’t know what to do. I decided to wait, so I went resolutely back to the waiting room. After awhile there, I slept. I woke up to Payge next to me.

“Good afternoon, tiger,” her voice bright and cheerful.

“Um, anything new?” I heard myself mutter.

“…not yet,” she whispered.

“Set?”

“Outside of the operating room…just in case.”

And I got comfortable again with the intent to go back to sleep. She stayed there with me, I remember her warm embrace. She’d lost so much, she was raised to be compassionate – she knew nothing more than absolute devotion. When I woke up again, I wasn’t there, I was in a room. How I got there, I don’t know. Toryn was lying on the bed in front of me, sleeping peacefully. Machines beeped and blinked to announce their function. I was alone again. Walking around, I found Set outside the doorway, arms folded. He caught a hold of me as I passed.

“Hey man, sorry about before, just strung out. She’s the only family I’ve got left.”

“Only if you make it that way.”

And back to sleep with Set on security. Trust is a really funny thing. I was too tired to care, I dozed off on the bed next to Toryn. Waking up, I found her peering down at me, grinning.

“Looks like you’ll make it, it was pretty touch and go for awhile.”

“What are you doing out of bed?” I muttered, getting up to stretch.

“How long have you been here? Or how long have I?”

I shrugged my shoulders, ushering her back to her bed. She settled back down, as  comfortable as you’d expect in a hospital bed. Her eyes shone although her usual color was gone; there was a break in her spirit.

“This wasn’t wise Dean, who’ll foot the bills?”

“I will,” a voice answered. I turned on a heel, finding Entropy there.

“Fuck you, get out,” I hissed under my breath.

“Now, now, dear Havok, you always knew that the Endless don’t get involved. This is your war, we merely set the scene.”

“You bastard, I’ll tear you apart,” I went to lunge at him but Toryn held me back. The piercing look in her eyes, I stayed and glared at him past her.

“What do you really want?” Toryn asked him quietly. Entropy sat and got comfortable. He smiled nonchalantly. My muscles ached from the sudden arrest of movement.

“What do I want? I want it to end. The end is required. This madness has been going on for generations, everything has to end somewhere. This’ a mortal war, but the Endless clean up your petty wars. This will all come to a head in due course, but for right now, we need our key players intact. The truth is yet to be revealed.”

Toryn locked up, I could feel her shaking. Entropy bid us farewell and left as quickly as he’d come. I looked around the room, Toryn’s wide-eyed expression. This is insane. I picked up Toryn and held her in my arms for a moment. With her consent, I disconnected her from the hospital. Wrapping her up in my coat, I carried her out; the protests a mere blur of sound behind me. Set got up and walked with me, Payge appeared out of nowhere.

“Took you long enough,” Set smirked. We got past a certain distance and they stopped trying to stop us. Set got into the driver’s seat of the car as Toryn and I crept into the back. Payge sat silently in the front passenger. They dropped us at the building and were quick to leave. I began to climb the stairs, Toryn still tightly kept in my arms. I kicked at the door until Galat let us in, communication being completely unnecessary. I carefully laid Toryn out on the couch, finding myself collapsed on the floor. My mind was blank. I looked around to determine everyone’s location.

Galat was lurking around making coffee, Dev was wandering around like a lost child. Dyre was missing. I began to question his location when he came through the door, tired, dirty, a large shovel in hand. He left the shovel at the door and collapsed into a chair. Whether he noticed our return, I’m not sure. Galat handed him a cup and moved away. Dyre sat there, lost, alone. Hadrien was out in the waking world. I was afraid to question him, so I sat across from him quietly. He merely looked past me. Dev, Galat, the rest of the room fades out. I tried to calm myself.

“I’m sorry,” I heard myself whisper. Dyre halfway nodded.

“Why?”

“We tried to save him.”

“I know. I quit,” he murmured. I started to protest, finding my voice grow smaller with each attempt. He paid minimal attention to my protests, he merely got out of the chair, moving to stand. I moved to keep level with him. My ranting stopped abruptly.

“You’re in over your head, kid. Remember what happened last time? Don’t you?” His tone got weaker. I didn’t know what to say, how to respond. He shook his head, Hadrien crept in as Dyre moved to leave.

“Where is he going?” Hadrien demanded.

“He quit.”

“Quit? He can’t quit!” Hadrien went out the door and returned with Dyre before him. The two started screaming back and forth hurriedly, pointing and gesturing rapidly. Dev and Galat stood on the sidelines, watching remarks streak back and forth. They started swinging punches as we watched in silence. What showed me how distant I was…was how they stopped. Toryn got up and pulled them apart, breathing heavily.

“Grow up!” she hissed as the two stood apart, rosy-cheeked and embarrassed. They didn’t dare mutter anything to disrespect her. Dyre waited until she found a chair before replying.

“I’ve made my decision, I’m not living this lie anymore,” he pointed at me. “Tell him the truth.”

I looked around at flushed faces, shocked expressions. Hadrien swung another punch and the screaming continued. I sat and held the crying Toryn, still unable to understand the truth. Dyre broke away and moved toward the door.

“You might be able to live with your sins, but I’ve made amends, and I’ll always pay for my crime. You might be able to pretend Vince’s death didn’t happen, but he was there. You all know the truth. I refuse to be just another pawn for the Endless’ personal entertainment. You have the proof right in front of you and you’re running scared. I won’t be caged, hell no,” Dyre paused halfway out the door. “Remember Lyric and Harvey. Remember the Martyrs. Once upon a time…”

“And happily never after,” I remember saying.

“Always,” Dyre whispered, shutting the door behind him.

“And forever,” I concluded.

Toryn was shaking in my arms, Galat and Dev collapsed somewhere. Hadrien waited a bit, then went out for a drink, Galat close behind. Dev crept out of the room quietly, locking herself away in my room.

“Toryn, the truth. What happened to me?”

She was still crying, her words shakey, “It was for your own good, it wasn’t my idea. Please Dean, please forgive us.”

“Why can’t I remember? What do the Endless have to do with this?”

“You chose not to remember.”

“Why?”

“Because we made you not want to.”

I held on to her tighter, realizing that I was shaking more than she was. Whatever Dyre did, I found memories unlocked in my mind from ages ago. I clung to her for dear life.

“Please Toryn, tell me the truth.”

“If love proves real.”

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