Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Banwyn Laments His Lover's Death

The fight knocked out of me, I fell to my knees beside her. I'd lost the will, the energy. As I knelt there, defeated, a soft breathing briefly knocked me out of my fast-approaching stupor.

I immediately crouched in close to her and held her hand. I whispered her name in reply, told her I was sorry.
"No... It's my fault... I'm sorry I let you down..."
"I'm proud of you, don't be silly. Please, just tell me you're all right?"
She didn't say anything. She merely lifted her free arm and touched the back of my head, trying to bring me closer. When I moved my face close to hers, she kissed me lightly on the lips. Then she... She died.

I lifted and rested her in my arms as I looked into her eyes. Her eyes... So full of life and love just minutes ago, now just staring remnants of that shade of blue I so loved. The eyes were often the only thing I noticed about the dead. We're so used to seeing them moving and full of life that it hits us when we see them motionless, staring.
"Don't you dare... Please... Don't, please... I love you. Please..."
I said her name under my breath, then into her ears. I asked her not to die, not to leave me. I pleaded with her.

All for naught.

The tears wouldn't come. Even today I chastise myself for this. They came later, but I was still in shock and denial. I'd lost touch of my surroundings, the pain of my injuries, the sounds other than my own panicked breathing. I continued to cradle and whisper to her. I told her I was sorry. I remembered that moment on Haven when she'd insisted on coming with me. I'd TOLD her that I didn't want to put her in danger. I could have refused, made her stay on Haven. Why did I listen to her? I loved her, that much was true. But in some corner of my mind, I knew that this was going to happen. Did I ultimately have it in my heart to tell her to stay away? I'd told her that the people who travelled with me ended up dead... My words came back to haunt me.

"Please, don't make me do this. People that go with me die. It's dangerous... Since I started this, I'm the only one of my original group that left the station. Don't make me put you in danger."

I'd listened to her protests. I'd put her in danger. As a result of my careless actions, she was dead.

I eventually became conscious of footsteps, coming from the corridor we had used to enter that room. I didn't care any more, and I didn't even consider letting her fall from my arms. I wiped away the blood that had trickled from the corner of her mouth. It had taken me this long to do so...

A voice rang out behind me, echoing off the walls. "Sir?" it asked. "Raines?" it added after a brief pause.

My name... I didn't reply. I felt as if I could no longer speak. A hand grabbed my shoulder, but I didn't react at all. It rested there for anywhere from a few seconds to a minute, and then it pulled lightly. My response tore itself from my throat; the speechlessness I felt just seconds ago was lost.

"I'm not leaving her."

The owner of the hand protested, and an intense rage immediately bubbled up inside me. I slowly laid her down on the ground and then, with renewed speed, simultaneously rose, wheeled around, and drew my pistol, pointing directly at the unknown party's face. I saw the badge before I could fire, dangling around his neck just as mine was.

"You're a bounty hunter. You're too late..."
"We got here as quickly as we could. There was trouble."

We? I suddenly became aware of other humans around me, and I heard the husky breathing of a Demis. But I didn't say anything. I just turned and looked at her body. The tears came.

"We've been told to extract you, sir" he said at length. That wasn't surprising. C.A. probably didn't want me anywhere where I could do more damage than I already had. I turned again, but didn't look at the bounty hunter. Instead, I looked at the prone figure of Gabriel. I stared, long and hard, feeling my muscles twitch with ever-increasing anger. Something, at length, caught my eye. Was he... breathing? I snapped, my pistol still in my hand: I immediately emptied the clip into his body: his torso and head. When the hollow click of an empty chamber reached my ears, I threw the gun away and charged over, stamping on the corpse.

The Demis tried to restrain me and failed - he was sent sprawling to the floor with a broken leg. Three of the human bounty hunters grabbed for me. The adrenaline allowed me to break free, and then I indicated to them that I was calm. Retrieving my gun, I walked to the hunter who had spoken to me. He was younger than me. Fankly, it didn't look as if he had too much experience. My usual energy had somehow returned during the altercation.

"What's your name, kid?"
"Mathka, sir."

Mathka? That name was common on Haven. I felt the tears well up again, and I recoiled slightly. He either didn't notice, or pretended not to. I wouldn't have blamed him for the latter.

"You can take the bounty on Gabriel. I don't want it." I said. I'd had the satisfaction of killing him. Being paid for it somehow removed some of the satisfaction.

"Thank you, sir."

He was very polite I thought. I asked him if he could come with me for a while, to help with the burial arrangements. Although it was clearly against his duty, he agreed and commanded the other hunters to continue with their mop-up operation. One of them reached to lift her body, but he was stopped by my glare. I lifted her myself. She was as light to me as she always had been. My memories had a strange choking sensation on me and I began to breathe heavily and audibly. We walked out, past the guard that had been posted by the doorway, undoubtedly by Mathka. He was actually very competent, despite his youth. He had a lot of potential. As I walked past with her body, they removed their helmets. I thanked them, and walked away.


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