Red in the cup, red in the ledgerMature

Some said it was the time of cleansing, that the Great One himself sent the plague to relieve mankind of the weak and powerless. They said those that were left were the Chosen, handpicked to begin a new way of life. To begin anew, they must destroy the evidence of what came before.

Chapter One

The rain pounded on the glass in brutal torrents, battering at her nerves with every piercing splatter. The woods beyond the glass were nothing but dark shadows looming beneath the ambient grey of the storm clouds. She did not worry about blinking eyes in the darkness. The cabin felt cold even though she knew the fireplace was pumping out plenty of warmth. Candles were lit all around the small living room, flickering softly against the walls. Beside the fireplace, carved into the wall, set a large pile of firewood. A tealight chandelier hung from the ceiling, long and narrow, glittering like a hundred stars. Huddled on the couch with a glass of the creators wine, she held her breath as she let the flavor play on her tongue. It had been a long day; she could still feel each minute hanging from her joints, could taste the ash of charred morals. A very long day, indeed. She lit a cigarette. Her burgundy eyes darting to the rustling lace curtains in the kitchen. She could smell the rain on the breeze as it swept through the cabin.

Tomorrow certainly did not look much better. Complicated, troublesome - not unmanageable, of course, but irksome. She grew weary with the wear and tear of the day to day. She missed the elegance of higher life.  To shed the flimsy human shell she'd adorned for nearly twenty eight years, to leave behind nothing but a pile of rags and unspent ammunition. But there was still work to be done, and until it was finished there would be no going home, and so there must be no daydreaming of it, either.

Dawdling would only lengthen her misery. Better to move through the pain, to press on when her body quivered with near-quitting, to stand back up when all she wanted in the entire world was to stay the fuck down. So much work left to be done.

She would enjoy one glass, she'd decided that already. One glass before thrusting herself back into the mill. She'd earned that glass of wine; every drop paid for in blood. She'd paid for a lifetime of glass after glass of wine, but she would only have one. The cigarette she rapidly had to replace, so long and harsh were her inhales. It was not a slow-smoking evening; there would be no gentle drawing in of nicotine-laden smoke, no sensual comfort, no sexy curls of discarded smoke twisting toward the ceiling.

It was not a night for fine things, lovely things. It was a night for mourning. She needed to bury the events of the day, to choke them to death with smoke and alcohol. She couldn't properly drown them as she wished, but smoking would suffice. For the time being.

Come dawn she would find Archer.

The End

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