I find myself here again. The place where our worlds shattered irreparably. The small coffee shop is closed down, blocked off by neon yellow police tape. A faint dusting of fresh snow covers the window ledges and the sidewalk. In the middle of the night, there’s not a soul to be found in this quiet corner of the city. I stare at the darkened storefront from across the street for what feels like ages, the scene playing over in my mind again and again.
I rip the tape away from the door and pull. It’s locked. I pause for a moment, but my resolve solidifies. I pull again, with more force. The lock snaps and the door swings open. I hear three small beeps as I step inside. The room fills with little firefly lights at my command, illuminating the dingy tile floor.
My eyes are drawn to the pool of blood, inside a chalk outline of a human shape. I feel myself trembling. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I sort of expected his death to have been staged. Yet another one of his tricks to mess with us… but I know what those lines mean. I’ve seen them before. However, that also means his body wasn’t cleaned up by the Master or his goons. Weird.
“Freeze!” A deep male voice calls out. My head snaps in the direction of the door. A man hovers in the threshold. He’s got dark olive skin, clad in a blue uniform with a badge on the chest, gun pointing right at me. His eyes dart around the room, at the floating fires, confusion, and panic in his deep-set eyes. “What are you doing here?” He demands, voice shaking.
I mull over my response for a moment. The bullets rattle in the magazine. “Just looking.” I respond, curious what he’ll do.
“Ma’am, this is a crime scene. You can’t be here.” The officer states, regaining some composure.
I turn back to the floor and notice a smear of blood a few feet away from the chalk outline. “Yes, a crime scene… but you have the culprit already.” I muse.
“W-what?” The officer gulps. “How do you know that? Where?”
“The morgue. At least, I assume that’s where they took the body.”
He stares at me, unsure, before taking a step closer, “I’m going to have to ask you to come down to the station for questioning.”
I glance up at him. “I’m sorry, I can’t do that.”
His gun rises a little higher, and his finger twitches at the trigger, “Put your hands on your head and don’t move.”
“I’d advise you to leave. I don’t want to hurt you.” I sigh. Flames spring to life from the bloodstains and quickly begin to spread.
“What the hell?!” The man gasps. I flinch at the sound of the gun firing. I wince at the sting in my arm. “Shit! Ma’am, it’s not safe in here! I’ll bring you to the hospital. Hurry!” He backs up to the open door.
“No thanks.” I brush him off as I walk through the fire to the front window. I kick the glass out and jump through. He calls after me, but it’s no use. I’m long gone.
My next stop is several blocks away. The office building looks different at night, but I find it. Security is tight, and I don’t have the access card this time. I find a rusty door in the alley behind the building, near a set of dumpsters. It’s thick steel, and there’s no handle on the outside. Luckily, burning a hole through the center doesn’t trigger the alarm. Inside I find the emergency staircase.
Eighteen floors is a lot of stairs. I’m a little dizzy by the time I reach the floor. There’s a little black box next to the door with a red light. I frown at it, before ripping it off the wall. I force the door open. That’s probably got their attention. I make my way through the office, most of the lights are still on so it’s easy to navigate.
His office still bears his name. I wonder if they know he’s dead yet. Again, I have to break the lock to get in. The small room is immaculate, not that I’m surprised. Everything has its place without a speck of dust in sight. I don’t find anything in the way of papers in his desk, and no computer either. The only thing of note is a picture of me on the desk by the phone. It makes my stomach churn as I pick it up. It’s from about a year ago before he left the Guild. The frame cracks in my hands. Glass rains down on the carpet, along with embers of the wood and the picture.
Voices nearby catch my attention. I guess this was a waste. On my way out, I circle around to the other side of the floor, where there’s a second staircase. I start to jog down, but I hear the door above rattle. I glance over the rail; a direct route down… As I hear the hinges of the heavy door whine, I swing over the edge. Gravity pulls me alarmingly fast to the concrete below, though the rush of air helps to clear my head a bit I will my body to fade, and I splash onto the floor in a shapeless heap of fire.
As my body reforms and returns to normal, I glance back up through the stairs. I can’t believe that actually worked. I’m a little disappointed that it did. I shrug and burst out through the side door. I’m a block and a half away when several emergency vehicles fly past me. I scoff and shake my head.
The morgue is significantly harder to find. It’s almost morning by the time I find it, inconveniently next to the police station. I guess that makes sense, but it makes breaking in a little trickier. Although, it seems all the patrol cars are gone, likely because of my earlier incidents. I circle the building, keeping to the shadows. A basement window offers a glimpse into a room with hatches in the wall. I don’t hesitate to smash the glass with my fist.
My blood drips across the floor as I check each tag on the shiny square doors. I don’t really care; they won’t find me in their systems. Finally, I find him. I unseal the door and pull out the stretcher from the freezing hole. When I pull back the sheet, my hopes and fears are realized. It’s definitely him. Three pink holes on his chest are exactly where I remember them. An ironically boring end for someone who thought himself invincible.
I glance up at the broken window. There’s no way I’m going to get out of here with a body. I guess I’ll make do. I focus the flames on his flesh. My thoughts ring with thoughts of destroying every fiber of him. I will erase him from this world. At least, then I can rest knowing he’ll never hurt Andrei and the others again. Little more than ash is left of my former friend when the flames finally burn out. I take a ragged breath. A small shred of closure to take with me to the abyss. Maybe a shred more than I deserve.
By Krystyna Yates