Peace

Soundtrack here.

There are things,
I have done.
There’s a place,
I have gone.
There’s a beast,
And I let it run.
Now it’s runnin’ my way.

There was a time when we had cared. A time when tears had fallen down our cheeks in chilly darkness. A time when we lied to ourselves and said “There was nothing more we could have done.” and turned our backs on those who both were and weren’t us.

The Train Job had been brutal, but we’d pushed it away and pushed it down. Lost our guilt and grief in bottles of whiskey and laughter. In solidarity, we were as wretched as they, and told ourselves that was enough, we’d escaped, we were fine.

“Keep your family close and Lady Luck is on your side.” Was I being punished then, for letting Ayrian die? For following Sebastian’s orders when I knew it was the softer, weaker choice? Was I soft and boring, as Moody claimed?

There are things,
I regret.
That you can’t forgive.
You can’t forget.
There’s a gift,
That you sent.
You sent it my way.

“There is a G-man coming to investigate what happened with the FBI’s train.” Hughes’ eyes are cold and clear. Matter-of-fact. I take the brews he hands me. “You have to clean it up, one way or another.”

There is no time to think. I am already avoiding Ynk’s angry, haunted gaze, we will talk later, and I hope there is enough whiskey to fuel all our words. Hrafn is painting my face, lending me her clothes. Somewhere along the line we’d fucked up. They had known us by name.

You got yourself in. You get yourself out. I chant to myself. Make it right.

I am surprised to find that I am ready.

There’s a game,
That I played.
There are rules,
I had to break.
There’s mistakes,
That are made.
But I made ’em my way.

The small clearing is a mess of train wreckage and craters from mortar shells. Through the rain I can make out their glow as we advance. Blood or money, those are our choices. I jump when I hear my own name called out. Has my disguise already started to slip?

“Are you here to rescue us? There was a lady with long black hair, she said she would save us.”

“Yes.” I lie. They are holding hands, hope in their eyes. Oh Lady Luck, I curse your name.

“Rajah and Ynk sent you to save us?” Oh sweet wretched ones.

“Something like that.” My smile matches the rest of my painted on face. We take their hands and lead them through the dark forest. We give them their ‘medicine’ and watch the quiet calm wash over them. We place them in the hands of the slavers from the Aysea. I shake their hands and thank them for their business.

So, take this night.
Wrap it around me like a sheet.
I know I’m not forgiven,
But I need a place to sleep.

This time there are no tears, no drinks, no jokes. We return in silence, stare at each other under the running water. I know I should feel something, that he must. But there is nothing. We had a problem, and we fixed it. We return to our lives with mundane diligence.

And it was too easy.

I pocket my profits, all too aware that the lack of heaviness on my conscience means that possibly I never had one to begin with.

So, take this night.
Lay me down on the street.
I know I’m not forgiven,
But I hope that I’ll be given
Some peace.

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