Tuesday, August 31, 2010

In The Shadow Of His Nemesis chapter seventy nine

In The Shadow Of His Nemesis

Chapter Seventy Nine


Saturday, December 4th 1996

Angie died without a whimper, without a death rattle. One moment she was struggling for life, the next she was gone. Kneeling at her side John Sig watched her passing. There was no way he could have missed it. The only thing he had ever known more intimately than the red haired girl was death.

The darkened room seemed to grow darker still as grief settled into him, taking root in his gut and spreading from his heart to his head and settling into his very bones. He had no strength left, no strength to weep or rage. To Sig it seemed as though he was aging with every breath.

I loved you so... He thought ...but it wasn’t enough. Love is never enough.

Sig knew he should have felt grateful. Hadn’t he known more happiness than he ever thought he deserved? There had been joy in her arms. Couldn’t he just take comfort in that?

No, no he couldn’t, not when he knew that even now those arms were growing cold. Sig closed his eyes, trying to imagine her alive, trying to will it so.

There were men that could have done such things, Sig had known them, wizards, lunatics and sometimes a little of both. They could fold space and cheat time, they could kill with a gesture and resurrect with a prayer. Bodivar had been one of them but he had sworn off such powers as a kind of penance.

But he lived on when his Penelope died... Sig forced himself to stand, ...I will do no such thing.

It took him a few minutes of rooting around in the bureau drawers for him to find it. It was wrapped in an old shirt. Sig unraveled the knot of cloth and let the blade fall into his hands. The knife had a thin silver blade and a handle of yellowed bone. He ran his thumb along the edge, it was sharp and inviting.

It would cut through his throat in a single stroke.

He felt no fear at the thought of ending it this way. His only regret was the mess it would leave, but his Vlodek body would fight any poisons.

Fingers tightening around the blade Sig walked to the foot of the bed. There was no way he could imagine that she might be sleeping; death had left her features too relaxed, almost deflated.

Sig put the blade to his throat, dimpling the flesh. He remembered the first time they had made love. It had been almost two weeks since their escape, until then they had shared a room but never a bed. He had always slept in a chair watching over her until exhaustion pulled him down. That night, that sweet night she had come out of the shower and called him to her.

When they had kissed he had whispered to her that she was the first woman he had ever loved.

And Angie had whispered back that he would be the last man she ever loved.

He held on tight to that memory as he readied his arm for that one fatal cut. His aching despair began to fade, replaced by relief.

Suddenly there was a crash. The blade fell from Sig’s hand.

Laurel House shook. Laurel House screamed.

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