Dawn in San Francisco


Wendy sat curled up on Marco’s sofa. After the queens had found them, they had sent them back to where they had begun. In this case, it was Marco’s flat.

She wanted to go home very badly. She wanted to curl up in a ball under her covers and just cry until it all went away and there was nothing left. She want to make something, anything, so that she could focus her attention and still her trembling hands. She wanted somebody to hug her and tell her that it would be ok, and that it hadn’t been real.

But right now she was afraid to leave Marco alone. After what he had done… she knew it had been an accident, had seen the horror and shock on his face as the troll had crumpled. Part of her wondered if maybe the queens had engineered it, deliberately given them an overpowered weapon in order to teach some sort of lesson or test the group. After all, they had to have known that the bad man wouldn’t be heavily guarded or have terrible weaponry at his disposal, right? They had to have known that the fight wouldn’t be too dangerous. You wouldn’t send kids to their deaths.

Marco had still killed a man. A terrible man, complicit in torture and murder and awful acts, a man who by moral laws should have died or at least faced terrible punishment. But a man with a family, a man who had been confused and a little contemptuous about fighting what he thought were children until his chest caved under the hammer blow. If she could turn back the clock, make things different… She wasn’t an adult. She couldn’t find a way to justify death.

This wasn’t the first time Wendy had seen somebody die. When she had been 9, her grandparents had been in a road accident. Her grandmother had been killed in the vehicle, but grandpa had survived to the hospital. The entire family had raced over, even Wendy, but he only survived another few hours. Sometimes her parents had forgotten that she wasn’t an adult, so they let her stand by the bed, let her see his injuries. It was strange seeing the life literally leave somebody. It was even stranger to see her mother break down, to see her parents crumple and be vulnerable. She hadn’t ever really forgotten it. She talked to Kevin about it, afterwards. But she didn’t think he had really understood. Not then.
This was the second death. Both times, the people had looked… confused, as if they couldn’t quite believe it was happening. But then, who expects to die violently? It had hit home for her how easy it all could be, how thoughtless the queens were with the lives of others. Was that who Hazel would one day be?

She didn’t want to leave Marco alone. He looked shell shocked, drifting aimlessly from room to room. He had spent several minutes by the sink, water running and kettle in hand, with a blank look on his face. She was afraid of leaving him, of what he might do – either by accident or on purpose. And she didn’t really want to be alone either, even though she did. Thank goodness Kevin had been so smart, had gotten them out of there without any of them getting hurt. If only it had happened a little faster.



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