He had been running. He had been... so... why wasn’t he now? Lazarus tried to think back, but his mind was so foggy, tired, beaten. His body seemed to be completely disconnected from his mind. He couldn’t even open his eyes. There seemed to be an argument going on above him somewhere, but he couldn’t tell how far away, or what direction the voices were coming from. Unable to make out what the words were, he sunk into himself, imagining what the words might be, pretending it was all okay.
‘You buggered off.’ The imagined words formed in his mind and if he had been capable of the movement, Lazarus would have flinched at them. ‘You just got up and left. You broke your promise to Melissa. “I’ll never leave you!” whatever happened to that, eh?’ the voice became mocking as it mimicked his words.
‘I couldn’t make her keep running just for me. It’s not fair.’ He protested against his conscience weakly.
‘Nahh, she chose to run with you. Sure, she was reluctant, but she chose it. She wanted to be with you, and you just abandoned her to the sunrise, didn’t you? Not even a goodbye, or a message of some kind.’ The voice in his mind was so smug, he could hear it smiling.
‘I don’t like you, you’re a mean conscience.’ Lazarus grumbled. He couldn’t argue against what it was saying, though. The voice smothered a laugh.
‘It’s my job to make you feel bad about yourself. I’ve been doing it for the last four hundred years, why stop now?’ the voice ended its spiel on a rhetorical question and fell silent, leaving Lazarus feeling worse than he already had, and with the loud voices apparently growing closer. Or perhaps he was just more conscious than he had been when he first realised the voices were there. He felt as though he was burning all over, the sensations his body was feeling slowly trickling through to his mind. He couldn’t move, though, his limbs more limp than he had ever felt them. This is worse than a hangover after more alcohol than should be possible...He thought, wondering if his eyes had been sewed shut, or if he had simply lost all control over himself.
His body continued to feel as though it were burning, though he didn’t think there was an actual fire. He wondered if he had dreamed what had happened after waking up in Gabriel’s house. He remembered the fire there. He remembered watching his memories burn, though in reality, they were still there in his mind. But all physical links to Gabriel were finally gone. He had lost the scores he had written for him, the house, Gabriel himself... And now Melissa had slipped through his fingers too. He cursed himself.
The voices stopped arguing and there was silence for a while. He heard a bang and a whisper. The whisper was so tantalizingly close, though it echoed like a breeze howling through a valley. He heard the sound of a slap before he realised he could feel it. He wondered if his face had contorted into a wince or not. The voice above him spoke loudly and he guessed it was probably supposed to be clear, but to him it was just a muffled noise. The voice muttered angrily and then shouted, the hand the voice was connected to slapping him again. He heard himself groan weakly and the voice went quiet, disappearing. Everything faded out, as though someone had turned down the volume on the world and Lazarus slipped back into darkness.
‘Lazarus. Wake up.’ That voice again. But he could understand the words now, they rang in his ears, suddenly deafening after the long silence that had encased him. That hand again met with his cheek and Lazarus’ eyes flickered open, watering with pain. A plain wooden floor met his gaze, beyond his knees. It took him a moment to realise he was sitting on a chair, his upper body slumped forward, straining on his arms that were held behind him by handcuffs that burnt into his skin relentlessly. The hand covered his face and pushed him back, forcing him to sit back against the chair so he was looking up into the face of his captor.
The man above Lazarus scowled down with an easy frown that looked as though it was etched into his face permanently. His hair was greying at the temples, little streaks of silvery hair dashing back into the dark brown that surrounded it. His eyes were shaded in the dim light, and though he tried, Lazarus couldn’t discern their colour. He figured they would be grey, as cold and emotionless as the rest of his face. His mouth opened and he looked as though he were about to speak, but a shrill ringing came from his pocket. He fished out the pocket and let out a frustrated sigh as he answered.
‘What?’ he snapped into the phone. ‘No, he just woke up. Yes, just now! No, it’s not my fault; you were the one that got him with the silver! Do your job and go find the one he was with, and leave me to do my job!’ the man swore loudly at the person on the other end of the line and hung up, apparently resisting the urge to throw it across the room. Lazarus’ head was reeling. But his question about why he felt like he was burning was answered: silver. He smiled a little as he remembered how he had held the belief for years that silver wouldn’t hurt him.
‘What are you smiling at?’ the man snarled, trying to slap the grin off Lazarus’ face.
‘The silver,’ Lazarus laughed weakly, the hysteria in his voice cutting through, ‘I never used to believe that it would hurt this much,’ he kept laughing, right up until the man pulled out a gun and rested its barrel on Lazarus' shoulder.
‘Silver bullets. I suggest you stop laughing like a hysterical little girl right now.’ Lazarus’ terrified, pale eyes turned to the man’s face, unable to meet his own eyes through the shadows that clung to his face. ‘Tell me,’ the man’s tone was worryingly calm, as if he knew exactly how to get what he was looking for out of Lazarus. ‘Where are the others?’