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20. Eyes of a Fallen Angel

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She did it all for you.

Requiem’s death would haunt us all for ages. It wasn’t something that comes and goes like the passing of seasons. She didn’t have family because Serkis didn’t have family. She had us. And we’d killed her.

I wondered for a long time if she knew. If she had the faintest clue that something was going on. I wondered if she cared. She, like Serkis, liked to flirt with disaster. She was undermining Serkis’ authority. I wondered about a lot of things for a while.

Before Requiem’s untimely death, she arranged new connections with the police. We had ourselves a cute, young cop, fresh into the job. Right off the street. He was one of the elders from Doyle’s days – old friends. Requiem did him a few favors and he didn’t mind being our connection. Due to this fact, I doubted Doyle’s command of Requiem’s death. He would never kill family. Beat, sure. Never kill.

Serkis was gone for days at a time, “talking” to Doyle. Layne was a mess, chain-smoking like a fiend. I went back to work, and the show – it got my mind off of the more obvious. They were each other’s, but Doyle liked to bend the rules. I think he got off on the pain of others. He enjoyed watching people suffer. But she came back. She always came back. She never spoke about it collectively, but I’m sure Layne might have dragged it out of her. Then again, this is Serkis…nobody knows. And that’s the point.

Our new officer was a Mr. Sylum Bishop. He was the law, but he was Doyle’s hand under the table. He played both sides – hopefully not against the middle. He seemed too straight edge, too clean cut…well above and beyond all this. But he was here. He probably owed old favors. Or he was dealt a bad hand, what can I say? Doyle was the top of the chain and everybody knew it. And those who didn’t fall in line, hung by said chain.

Doyle Merrick. He was a legend in himself. From birth, he was damned. He was born into the greatness of his empire. His father’s name still rung quietly in the hearts of those that remembered him. Most of his closer associates were dead. Most…probably all of them.

Pandora’s father was another living legend.

As was Vagrant Ransom.

The two most dangerous families in the world. And the most dangerous man in the world that both families wish they could claim. Vagrant and Draven were lost to each other; they’d live and die chasing each other. Draven couldn’t be expected to sit around here, fit into the usual routine. No way in hell. He’d go out and move and do. He raised Pandora until she was old enough to take care of herself. Which is ironic, in a way, I’m sure that she was always able to take care of herself. As a freak in times and places like these, you learn sufficiency at an early age. It was just part of the routine.

I couldn’t deal with Requiem’s death as well as the rest of them. They pretended it didn’t happen, that she never was. We only talked about her in hurried whispers. Her name wasn’t mentioned unless it absolutely had to be. And why would it ever have to be? Doyle’s word was that Requiem’s death was “accidental” and that it was tragic to lose her. Nobody cried. Except me. I couldn’t understand what kind of insane family we were running here. What kind of a freak show kills off its own members? And doesn’t care? I mean – did they really even give a damn?

There’s something emotionally unsettling about the death of a person that no one mourns. It stirs emotions deep down that would otherwise never surface. It’s hard to explain. Death’s such a…it’s necessary, but there’s something about it that never sits right with me. Everybody wants to be loved, in life, and especially in death. Nobody wants to go alone; nobody wants to leave this world with no one on the side. And when someone does leave this world like that, it brings out an additional sorrow to overshadow the passing. It’s hard to explain…but you’d know it to feel it. Someone who dies alone versus someone who is surrounded by loved ones. Someone who dies with the knowledge of imminent death…or the junkie who accidently overdoses – there’s variances.

Then again, maybe it’s just me.

It’s possible to argue that I’m just simply insane.

I used to think that everyone considers things like that. About life, about death. Then again, maybe you have to be something. Young, a sufferer, an artist…I don’t know. Something. Or maybe you just have to be suicidal.

Cassidy, who you’d think would have been distraught, was fine. He was better than fine. Business was up, his troops had a good stretch of territory, but he didn’t have his girl. He didn’t have his other half. But he didn’t care. He was Mr. Cassidy Brogan. All he needed was himself. Always. He took charge. Doyle let him have more control, assuming that this was how he’d deal. It all worked out for the best, I imagine. Even though it made no sense what so ever now.

Nobody knows what exactly Requiem was shot up on. I’m not sure if anybody really cares to know. Whatever it was, it took its time. We were all on a cloud before she was dead.

Maybe I’m the only one having trouble with this. Maybe, being the child, I’m supposed to. Maybe. That’s all anything can be reduced to.

I was still the ringleader of the show. They’d come to know me. They’d come to expect me. I heard that my absence hadn’t come easily.

I went back to my life and everything resumed as it was meant to. We got by. Nobody talked about the passage of events, the family itself. And things became routine. Things became typical and boring.

But routine can only last for so long until things get thrown out of whack.

Counting down…in ten, nine…eight…seven…seven…

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