21. Holy Sins & Deadly Commandments




That’s a very definite sound, when you get right down to it. When all else fails it’s the final sound that decides the end of an action.

Suicide is contagious. I think the idea is entirely wrong. I think it is death in general that is contagious. In all its forms and ways. Death is intoxicating. And nobody wants to be alone.

And it’s a great power to end someone’s life.

Just a slight pull. A soft squeeze, that’s it. Nothing more than that. And someone dies. Someone you love. Someone you hate. Someone you never met. Someone you always knew.

Thud. Shiver. Gasp.

“Aren’t you tired of being weak?” I whispered.

“This is taking back what you’ve stolen,” I whispered.

“It’s always darker in my eyes,” I told him.

“You judged me and now you are me,” he replied. In coughs and gasps. I merely smiled.

“I did it all for you, Hun.”

And I walked away. For the first time in my life, I walked away. I would have to pay the cost of my…madness, but I didn’t care any longer.

I left him there to die. I walked away as he bled to death.

Goodbye Art. Burn in Hell, Gothik.

And what led to this fateful point? What brought the child, the good kid, to kill her master? Why did I sign my own damnation? Why bite the hand that feeds you?

Because it was choking me.

How to explain, how to explain…

Things settled down. But I couldn’t sleep. I don’t know how it came to light – I guess I just wasn’t doing my job up to par. But Gothik was sent to stay with me. I didn’t realize the extent of my problem until I woke up in his arms a few times. He said I was a mess. Did I believe him? No.

I knew that the problem was serious when I missed my cue at the show because I dozed off backstage. I woke up at home. Happenings like that were more common as time passed. Serkis would make sure that someone was always around to take me home. But when times were busy, we’d have to resort to Gothik. And as much as he was her partner in show business, he was still changing. He was a guy. And I trusted him about as far as I could throw him.

The more time I spent with him, the less I could tolerate. He had his moods, his ups and downs, but he reminded me too much of Doyle. He changed the bandages for me. But there were days when he was cold and cruel. When he pushed buttons because he could. Handling the situation was having a physical toll on me. I was healing, but time was against me.

Gothik started drinking. And he became violent. Push came to shove too many times. And I covered it up. I saved him. If word got out, I’d never get better. There was enough going on without this. I smiled, and I dealt.

And then he just pushed too damn hard.

Being sick takes up everything. It’s comparable to addiction; my manner is comparable to that of a junkie. If you lose focus of the truth for one second…it’s over. Distraction must be avoided at all costs. Gothik was a risk to my mental stability.

Step back – what was mentally wrong with me?

Requiem’s death marked the beginning of an overwhelming paranoia that followed me at all times. I kept it to myself, telling the family very little. I was old enough to be a political statistic. But they were slowly catching on. I was an adult. I finished high school along the way. There would be no continuing education. I was the adopted child of a family of street demons. There was no hope for opportunity. I’d learn the trade or be forever dependent.

Doyle’s reach was so broad that the only evils we faced were ourselves. Gothik was bent on causing damage. I think he was jealous – by establishing a mutiny, he could step up and take charge. He was a figurehead, but he had no real power due to his…irrational nature. And he never would. So he decided to be childish and throw a fit. I was fortunate enough to get in his way. And I stopped his little temper tantrum once and for all.

Killing Requiem made my faith in the family waver. Everything was filled with doubt. My own weakness bothered me. Serkis or Pandora would have taken action a lot sooner. They’d never stand for the emotional/physical abuse, right? They’re too proud, too big, and too strong – they’d never bend to an ignorant fool like Gothik.

He was my dearest friend once. As Art. When he could create, when he could make gorgeous work in whatever style he desired. I respected him as my fellow artist – free and genius; his raging mind could never be restrained.

I got the gun from Cassidy. If you’re cute and fluffy enough, guys will do half of anything for you. He was good at keeping things to himself. It was a gorgeous piece.

Gothik was something else when it came to pushing buttons. And one person can only take so much. And you snap. It’s part of the human condition to kick and scream. It’s only human to cry and be upset. There are limits – there are always limits. The right combination could be fatal – as Gothik learned.

I’m young. I’m a girl. I’m supposed to cry when I don’t get my way – not physically tear myself apart. “Supposed to” is like “should” – never real. Reality is always questionable, especially in our game. We’re all mortal, young, invincible – we might be the least real of all. Or are we the least human?

This is my defense. This is my story. It’s the best I can do.

You poke the sleeping tiger hard enough, long enough…you might just lose fingers.

Or something more important.

When Gothik got bored, or too inebriated, his favorite game was trying to see how much he could make me cry. But there are limits. There’s a point where enough is enough. And I had it. You can tear me to pieces, you can do anything you want; I have no compassion for myself. But when you cross into my family, into my blood family, and you insult them…well then you’re just bowling for trouble.

Mom and Dad died when I was smaller. When I was sixteen. When I was young and innocent. And free. Was. Past tense, as in – no longer am.

I wanted him to see this, I wanted him to feel this; I wanted him to cry, to kick, to hold screams in and suffocate for the sound. I want him to know what it is to die that little bit each day. I wanted him to feel pain that never dies, never sleeps. If you’re going to toe the line of disaster, he’d better be prepared to dance. Cause it’s a long way to Hell from here.

I had nothing left to lose, or so I told myself. And that made me dangerous. Or so I told myself. I told myself a lot during that branch of time. The most repeated line?

I am justified.

He pushed too hard – I just couldn’t take anymore. He laughed too loud about something that I could never stop crying about. And one night, enough was enough.

I told him to go. I told him to get out. And he laughed. And he pushed more buttons. I locked myself away from it, trying to ignore the sound. Trying to block out the sound of his pounding on the door. I tried and tried but it wouldn’t go away. He stayed there, like that, for hours. And then he quit. He left. He told me so. I listened for the door to slam. I edged out carefully, looking around.  He was gone. He was having too much fun, he’d go drink off his disappointment in my…unwillingness to play. I grabbed the gun, my coat, and went out after him. I caught up with him in the alley. I was far behind him.

I don’t know what I was thinking. I don’t remember. But I screamed his name. In one scream I put all my pain. My past, my present…I put the pain and madness, everything I had, into his name, howled from the depths of my chest. And he turned, wheeling around to face me. And I shot at him. Once, sailing over his shoulder. He froze.

“Are you insane?” He screamed at me, as if I were ages away.


He started to move toward me but I squared off. He laughed.

“You’re signing your death warrant.”

“I don’t care. I’ve had it. You’re a threat to the family.”

“Am I?” he questioned. He was smiling, his arms outstretched. “Come on, kid. Kill me. Kill your best friend. Kill your own keeper.”

“You keep nothing, especially me.”

And he smiled wide. He was smoking; he reached to take the cigarette out of his mouth, his arms outstretched again.

“Give Requiem my regards.”

Click. Bang.


And this is where we started.


“Aren’t you tired of being weak?” I whispered.

“This is taking back what you’ve stolen,” I whispered.

“It’s always darker in my eyes,” I told him.

“You judged me and now you are me,” he replied. In coughs and gasps. I merely smiled.

“I did it all for you, Hun.”

And I walked away. For the first time in my life, I walked away. I would have to pay the cost of my…madness, but I didn’t care any longer.

I left him there. I walked away from my tormenter. I walked away and didn’t care. I wouldn’t let him hold me back anymore. The consequences would come. Someone would find him. I walked to the bar. It was late.

Pandora was there, cleaning up. I was dirty, beaten, battered. I had the gun clenched in my bad hand. My right hand. Cassidy was hanging around somewhere. Layne was putting away his guitar, Serkis with him. I looked around. Doyle was in a corner too. The whole crew was here. Grey was in a corner, helping Cassidy strum away on a guitar. I looked around.


Doyle looked up and smiled. “Concert. You should have been here. I think that’s the best I’ve heard in ages. Flawless. It’s been a good night.” He looked me up and down, his eyes resting on the gun as he spoke to me.

I swung the chamber out and pulled out the round. I pulled the empty shell out and put it on the bar. I swung the chamber back in, took a look around, and walked out.

There was only one shot in there to begin with. One real shot. The rest were blanks.

Here’s to gambling with blood.


All you lose is you, right?

Dedicated to a legend long since dead. Rest well, Miss Ransom. Here’s to you.

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