she doesn’t know why. doesn’t know how, either, only that they do. in the haze, she tries to piece together the last place she was, the last thing she remembers.
the warehouse with shilah. the last lead. the man and a gun and how a bullet had ripped into her. falling and shilah there and his hands tight around her and slick with her blood. his eyes wet with tears and her telling him not to cry and she must’ve – she must’ve been okay. he must’ve gotten her home.
– except this isn’t home, and she doesn’t know where she is. the room is clean, the bed soft but impersonal. it’s not in their house, where everything holds some sort of reminder of her or shilah or noah, some piece of them. this isn’t home.
there’s still a dull ache in her ribs and she doesn’t – maybe she’d been all right. she must’ve been all right.
(still, shilah isn’t here, and it makes her panic. she tries to sit up and can’t, the pain sparking into something more intense. she tries again and can’t again and frustrated, frightened, she feels her eyes well up.)
he has to be here. he wouldn’t leave her; he’d never leave her.
shilah tells her they’re going to end this together, and that is what they decide to do.
she shouldn’t go with him. she knows she shouldn’t, knows that she belongs home with noah, who still needs them both. but she goes because someone’s hurt her son and tried to rip him from her and there’s a rage bubbling up in her chest that won’t go away no matter what she does.
it has to be this, she thinks. it has to be blood for blood and those who tried to hurt her family wiped away. it has to end in ruin.
so, with only a few leads left (the others gone, ripped apart), they go. together.
– it happens quickly, after that.
she and shilah are separated. she doesn’t mean for it to happen and neither does he but the split is even, clean as a bone snapping in two. he goes one way and she goes the other and at the end of it, they’ll come together again. he makes her promise and she does and she watches as he slinks away, man to beast, before she turns to go, too.
she fights like she never has before, but in the end, she’s not bullet- proof.
the crack of the gun is loud, louder than anything, and the bullet hits low in her chest. she stumbles back, surprised, the pain immediate and blinding. a hand pressed against her shirt comes back ugly and red and she watches the man lift the gun again but he never has a chance to fire. she lashes out, and she never even touches him. he’s simply gone.
left alone, with ash fluttering into her hand and sticking in the red of her shirt, she stumbles back again, hits the wall.
her voice is desperate, tiny, but she knows he’ll hear her.