I don't care how poor a man is;
if he has family, he is rich.
Interim—Aftermath of Jack
He was staring at the blood on his hands when he came through the gate. Not shiny and glossy like the movies would have you believe: bright red had dulled to the color of old bricks, faded and worn. When he curled his fingers, what was left of that sanguine fluid made his flesh stick together and then peel apart, as if coated in a fine layer of cinnamon chewing gum rather than the dying ruminations of someone he couldn’t remember. He was never able to remember them anymore. Even the solace that he’d once found by throwing himself into violence was no more; not even the memory of the screams made it past the smooth blanket of repression that was Vyne’s subconscious.
It was simply too much killing, too much fighting, and somewhere down the line he’d gotten too tired to care.
“I know they’re out there. I know I couldn’t have imagined them…” He’d been repeating that to Carlos ever since he’d arrived back home two months ago, and the older man listened with the same longsuffering sigh as always and went to go get something to wash the blood out of the carpet.
“You say that every day. Then every night you leave and every morning you come back just like this. How many times are you going to have to nearly get yourself killed before you realize that it’s just us? No angels, no vampires, no humans that can channel gods or darkness or any other power… no little girls brought back from the dead. Are you even listening to yourself?” Carlos sighed and pushed a soapy towel into Vyne’s hands. “Clean up,
“They were my family Carlos... I can’t believe you don’t care about any of them. I can’t-- ”
Vyne paused, took a deep breath. This was just like Carlos: his life consisted of playing cat and mouse with the cops, trying to stay one step ahead of the next shipment, the next big score. Life was money and money was power. Only now, Vyne wondered why he didn’t buy it and the reasons made even less sense than the blood he was wiping off of his hands.
“I’m not going to listen to it anymore,
Vyne listened while he scrubbed his face, not even paying attention to the way the soap made his eyes burn. Carlos made sense. He was wasting good money doing this every night. He had no proof that any of what he was remembering was even real… On the one hand, he had his job here, with people he remembered and who remembered him; on the other he had nothing, except the ghosts of memories that whispered ‘I love you’ in the dark. Out there on the streets with no gang for backup, he’d be broke in a week. Possibly dead or in jail in two. But out there he had a slim chance. He might actually find the voices of the ones whispering to him…
“Sorry Carlos. I gotta go man.” Vyne tossed the bloody rag back towards where dark haired Latino stood watching him in disbelief.
“You can’t be serious? Where’re you gonna go?”
“I dunno man. But I can’t stay here.” Vyne slipped out of the back entrance to the shop, closing the door behind him. He had no idea where he was going to go, or how he was going to get there.
“Just whisper to me a little bit longer… just a little bit longer. I’ll find you.” He’d let family lead him back home, if he had one.
And if he didn’t? Well, at least looking was a damn sight better that just giving it up. That little badass grin back in place, Vyne took off and didn’t look back.