“She is both hellfire and holy water,
and the flavor you taste,
depends on how you treat her.”
When she was inconsolably angry, she turned to hunt. It was the only thing that took the edge off the absolute need to rip the life out of something. Right now, it was practically useless. Multiple kills in, the edge of the rage had barely been touched.
Cleaning the knife of the rabbit’s blood, she sheathed it and huffed angrily back towards her friends.
Jojo’s talk had helped put things into perspective, the hunter must rise if she wanted to live. She knew of this state from her mother and uncle, though they’d done all they could to prepare her, to protect her from having to experience it…until now, where they couldn’t anymore.
The others didn’t understand…it didn’t matter if she didn’t like her orders… if she wanted to live, she had no choice but to follow them… they somehow thought her weakness would lead her to betray them. A concept that should have catalyzed enough rage to what fueled the change…but no… she wanted to both laugh and cry at how petty what was truly the most devastating blow was.
The VU had been an unexpected job when she first came to the city, but under Lambo and Shaniecowa’s guidance, she’d thrived and adored it. She went from being just a dancer to supporting events, working alongside Lambo; advertising and coming up with holiday themes. She had created the website, customized the drink menu for holidays and seasons, bartended, danced, found and requested their uniform tops and garters, took care of everyone else, wrangled security when needed, did her best to make customers happy, trained employees, and made sure everyone was comfortable and safe. It was something she truly enjoyed doing, it made her happy. Being promoted to assistant manager to Shaniecowa had been a satisfying surprise, her hard work had been noticed and rewarded. She’d hoped one day she could be good enough to help Lambo manage it, if not work as a partial owner.
Shaniecowa hadn’t been around for a long time, and while not the official manager, Adra had essentially been acting manager for what, a year now? Longer? Lambo had shifted the ownership to Lupin, which she hadn’t been happy about at first, but he seemed to put his trust in her, and that had helped mend the tentative rift that changing ownership had formed. The runic wars had forced the place to go quiet, and she’d been looking forward to getting back into working at the VU. They opened a few times to mixed results, and she knew it needed a new start after the chaos kept closing the establishment. She had even been looking into the possibility of refurbishing the building for it. If any major changes were going to happen, she thought Lupin would have gone to her first.
But she hadn’t planned to die or be gone for several months. She knew a few days ago that Gabriella had been moved to owner…which she found extremely confusing. She liked Gabriella a lot. But being approached to see if she wanted to ‘stay a dancer’ had felt like a slap to the face. Gabriella hadn’t known better…but, why hadn’t Lambo or Lupin told Gabriella how much it meant to her, how hard she worked? Or gone to her when she first returned? She’d already been waiting for Lupin to approach her about what was going on.
Then an hour ago she had found out Charity had been made manager… and while she didn’t think she was truly angry at Charity, or Gabriella really…. she hadn’t expected the consuming forest-fire of pure indignation, betrayal, hurt, and rage that now permeated and consumed her entire being.
She would have done everything she could have, had she only known….and now she just felt like the past two years of complete dedication and hard work meant nothing… the main thing in the city keeping her happy besides her work as a doctor… considering it existed well before she was even considered to work at the hospital, felt like it had been ripped away from her without a hint it would happen, or a word as to why. It felt like she’d been demoted, forgotten, and tossed aside. Her contributions and loyalty meaning nothing.
Somehow that hurt more than anything else happening right now, and it made her want to both laugh and cry, because it felt so painful and stupid at the same time. Somehow, this was what was truly pushing her over the brink.
It reminded her of jewelry crafting too… she’d started with Paul, Jesus, Gabriella, Charity, and Ricky. While somewhat viewed as possible competition by Jesus, he seemed to understand and respect that she simply wanted to learn and enjoy the craft. He should have known that. She didn’t care about competition, Jesus and Mira were family now too. For her, it was about the enjoyment of what she was doing and making the money back to continue to do so.
Paul was dealing with things, and she missed him. But she understood, he had to take care of himself.
The others… well… ever since she’d come back, she just felt like she was being seen as competition. When she put a listing trying to sell what she had to make the money to keep going, more popped up from the others, overshadowing her. She just wanted to catch up to how far they’d gotten while she was gone.
She hoped Sweedewater would keep the deal that had been proposed. It would allow her to continue the work without having to deal with the monopoly that was being created.
It felt like maybe a handful of people truly had missed her and cared about her being back…and that number waxed and waned day to day, and it hurt. Sutton, Katie, Charlie, Dean, Paul, Lennix, and Sean had been the ones to show the most emotion at seeing her again, making her feel like she mattered.
She’d thought others had cared…maybe some had, maybe not… it didn’t matter anymore. Yesterday was over and done with.
The Twitter war had proved interesting… she’d scoffed at Keegan’s commenting that they should have finished him off… apparently it really meant nothing to him…. Well, she had given him his chance… he wouldn’t get another. Not by her hand, but she wasn’t going to hold the others back again. She’d already given Gringo permission to unleash upon watching the shitstorm of arguments and excuses.
A favorite quote of her uncles ran through her head,
“You can’t truly call yourself “peaceful”
unless you are capable of great violence.
If you’re not capable of violence,
you’re not peaceful,
She smirked as she began to climb the roof.
They thought she was harmless and weak. Let them think that. Let them underestimate her, like they always had.
She wouldn’t allow her anger to control her, she wasn’t cruel, or evil. She didn’t enjoy torture; she didn’t kill for sport. She had empathy, and a heart that was too full, that felt too much, but that didn’t make her weak. Quite the opposite in fact.
Her lineage was thousands of years old, built by adaptation, war, and peace. It hadn’t survived, thrived, and spread this long by foolishness or weakness. She was born in the darkness, the shadows didn’t frighten her, they served her.
Now it was time to find out what that really meant.