Late March 112
The air was heavy, the scent of blood permeated the room, making her nausated. She blinked and tried to bring the room into focus but couldn't.
Everything was blurry and sickening. Wrong.
She tried to remember. What had she done?
She remembered Soren, her corp mate. He had been sick. She had stopped by his apartment to check up on him after patrols.
Where am I...?
Everything was distorted. Her head ached. Was she drunk? Drugged? Had she done this to herself? She held her hands up and tried to bring them into focus. Dark red. Wet. Blood? So much blood. Her hands trembled.
Soren. She tried to focus on Soren. Something seemed terribly important...oh god.
The memory slipped through the fog of hysteria.
She found him tied up, readied for a blood ritual, with Hadrien waiting. Her brother. Her own flesh and blood, standing over Soren with a long thin blade.
She went limp, the bottle of juice and bowl of soup she had brought for Soren crashed to the floor. She couldn't breathe, couldn't react in any way but to stand there, screaming in her mind.
Seconds bled into minutes before she found her voice.
"Oh god, what have you done Hadi!"
"Nothing yet angel, I was waiting for you."
"No. Hadrien no...oh GOD. Let him go."
"No, he dies, Shalee. You can kill him quickly, or I can do it the way I showed you so long ago."
She tried to force her way around Hadrien to get to Soren.
"No! Get out of the way, I wont let you do this I wont let you hurt him!"
"It is not a matter of what you will or will not let me do. This is what has to happen."
He grabbed her by the arms, jerking her away from the bed. She broke free of him and desperately started to search for the gun she knew Soren always wore.
"No! I'll kill you first before I let you touch one hair on his head!"
"You're not doing this, you're not!"
There was a struggle. She had found Soren's gun and aimed it at her brother.
"You would kill your own flesh and blood over some heathen bastard?"
His words echoed through her mind over and over as she remembered pulling the trigger after Hadrien impaled the knife into Soren's throat.
Everything was a blur again. She vaguely remembered medics. Doctors telling her that Soren might live. She remembered being so calm after the fact, relying on her militia training to take control of a stressful situation, to step outside of what was happening and view it from a different perspective to deal with it.
She was eerily calm as she took charge, cleaning up Soren's apartment, keeping vigil throughout the night to make certain he was going to live.
The next morning she snapped.
Exhaustion and hysteria had set in, combined with alcohol she'd been drinking all night.
She had claimed Hadrien's body from the morgue and had it delivered to the back of the Paradiso into an old room she had purchased for blooding months prior.
Not that she ever intended to use the room, it had been part of a ruse to try and make contact with another blooder that Aldrith was in trouble with.
She had all but forgotten about the room.
But she still had access to it.
She stared at her blood soaked hands again. Rivulets of blood streaked down her pale arms. Her clothes were drenched from blood and sweat.
She jerked suddenly. The room was spinning.
"Angel look at me."
"And you killed me. How could you forsake me? Your own brother who loved you more than anyone!"
She cupped her hands over her ears trying to smother out his voice.
"This can't be real," she whispered to herself over and over.
"You'll never be free of me, Angel. I'm a part of you. That's why you brought me here."
"I brought you here to chop you up into a thousand little pieces. You don't deserve a proper burial. You are dead and no one will ever know your fate, Hadrien. No one will ever mourn you because they will never know."
"You will mourn me."
"I will never think of you again!"
"You will never forget me because I am a part of you Angel. Your blood is my blood. I've taught you everything you know. You can only pretend so long, Angel. They will find out who you really are and then you will be alone. They will never understand you like I do, never love you like I do."
"You're wrong!" She pressed her hands tighter against her ears but couldn't drown out his voice.
His tone was mocking, "You think any of them would love you if they knew what a whore you really were? Do you think they would stand by your side if they knew the things you were capable of. If they saw you like this?"
"Do you think your General is going to turn sides just because you want him to? He is using you. Why do you whore yourself to him?"
"Stop. You're not real."
"And look at this place. You're a wreck, you can't even stand up, much less clean this up. Who is going to help you, Shalee? Do you think your little hero Zenton is going to come to your rescue now? Would he help you seeing you like this, covered in blood with pieces of flesh stuck to your skin? Do you really think his love is that unconditional? Do you think your General would love you if he saw you like this? Would he help you? Do you think Raphael would love you if he knew? You know in your heart he would be the first to turn you over to the Inquisition, good little Praetorian that he is. You have no one now. You're all alone and murdered the only person who ever really understood you, Angel. Look at me dammit!"
She blinked open her eyes to the macabre scene.
Blood was everywhere, pooled on the floor, splattered on the walls. Ritualistic symbols were drawn in his blood all around the room. Blood dripped from what was left of him on the table.
Other pieces of him lay in mangled on the floor.
"Oh god...what have I done..."