Sunday, July 12, 2015

Day Eight-Eighty-Five: Aftermath

“He’s not going to walk again, the way he is.”

The words smacked Dragomir like a boot to the face. He covered his eyes and groaned, from headache and news alike.

“Sh… shit,” he stuttered, crossing his legs beneath his sheets and sitting up. “That’s… oh, man. Ow. Fuck me.”

Dragomir was laying in one of the Sky Bitch’s tiny cabins, though not his own. He’d given it up to Logan, not necessarily of his own will. He’d slept for almost twenty hours before waking up, according to his wife, though it felt like he’d gotten maybe two hours of sleep. Three at the most. He hadn’t dreamed, at least, which was something of a tender mercy.

Libby nodded, head drooping. “Yeah. Well. ‘least the cut was clean. Severed ‘im at the knees. He’s stumpy, like your, uh, dad.”

Dragomir shook his head. “He’s not… augh, my head… he’s not that stumpy. Dad’s still got it… worse…”

Cooing with uncharacteristic gentleness, Libby rubbed Dragomir’s spine. She wasn’t very gentle - Dragomir wondered if her exploratory knuckles were better or worse for his condition - but he let her continue anyway. “I might be able t’do something about it. We’ll see. Almost done with your dad’s harness; can probably fix somethin’ up for Logan, too. Doubt he’ll be a speed demon anymore, tho. That’ll hurt.”

“No doubt.” Dragomir winced, rubbing his temples. “Hand… hand me some water…?”

Libby did, frowning. Ever since he’d awoken Dragomir had suffered from intense migraines above and beyond what he’d endured previously, his complaints sufficient to annoy the crewmen in the next cabin over. Libby assumed that Dragomir’s suffering during the events of the last few days had taken a severe toll on his mind, and she could only hope that he would, somehow, eventually, recover. A doctor would no doubt help on that score.

Sighing, still roughly rubbing Dragomir’s spine, Libby glanced out the small window of their cabin. The Sky Bitch was shuddering along above a thin, sun-baked mountain range, perhaps four hours out from Pubton. Libby had to assume they were that close to Pubton, because she really couldn’t tell. Her ol’ tub wasn’t doing so well, given the dragon attack and subsequent battle, and she knew she’d have to give the SOB one hell of a repair job when they got home.

Repairs. Yes. Those would distract her. Those would do quite nicely.

“Tell me how well we did,” Dragomir asked, laying back, arm over his face. “Distract me.”

Libby rolled her eyes. “We’ve gone over this, for fuck’s sake. I have to tell you again?”

“C’mon.” Dragomir sniffed loudly. “Help… ow… help a guy out. Or… get me a wet towel… for my head. One or t’other.”

Not wanting to move, Libby started to talk.

The war between the Imperium, the Non, and Logan’s last-minute forces had gone rather well, all things told. The Imperium had suffered the most grievous losses, with over a thousand soldiers killed, three times as many wounded, and a significant portion of their armaments destroyed. The Non’s losses were much more difficult to calculate, given their penchant for dissolving into goop after death, but the loss of one of their Nothings - brought down by a powerful flurry of dragon blasts early in the battle - could be counted as quite significant. Logan’s strike force of werewolves fared the best, with only forty of the beasts killed and a hundred or so wounded.

And the Non had retreated. By the gods, they had retreated.

Dragomir thought about that silently for a while, despite the draining effect of using his brain for anything. It was the first real defeat they’d handed to the Non yet, or at least the Non as a collective. The creatures had enjoyed an unparalleled rampage across the Imperium thus far, and it was nice to see Kierkegaard and his cronies kicked off of their high-horses and sent packing. Even if ‘packing’ was simply relocation to other portions of the Imperium that were still filled with innocent bystanders.

Dragomir had done virtually nothing to aid in the defeat of the Non. Despite being chosen by the rats to lead their war against the shadow creatures, all Dragomir had done was… destroy the world. It had gotten better, but still.

Dragomir couldn’t bring himself to discuss the sensation of acting as a device of armageddon. He couldn’t properly process the idea that he had destroyed everything, at least after a fashion. Even if life itself had given him a take-back, he knew he would have to forever live with the idea that he’d eradicated existence for at least a couple of seconds. The idea made him chilly, and weak, and oddly giddy, because the power was still inside him, and he knew it could all happen again, under the proper circumstances. The wrong circumstances.

Libby watched Dragomir silently, not bothering to distract him from his thoughts. She’d stopped talking several minutes ago, because she was too busy realizing just how similar Dragomir was to her dead son. She let the dull ache of his death fester, not allowing his murder to depart from her psyche.

If I reached out and strangled Dragomir, she thought, his throat would turn all black ’n rubbery. Bet I wouldn’t even be able to do it properly. Guess I got that much goin’ for me.

It was the first quiet moment husband and wife had really shared together in a long time. They didn’t enjoy it at all.

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