The Mirror Crack'd

From the Story Arc: Hunting High And Low

Previous Story in the Arc: Flight by Victoria Victrix (Saturday, January 10, 2009)

Next Story in the Arc: Comes A Hunter by Victoria Victrix (Thursday, January 22, 2009)

(posted Thursday, January 22, 2009)

Red Djinni stared at the door that had just slammed shut behind his wife. Part shock, part anger, part shame—the rush of emotion held him rigid for too long to intercept her.

What had he—what had they—

Then the anger took over. Going home to Mommy? Running off to Bella? Bet she expected him to come running after her—

Well damned if he would.

He wasn’t even thinking as he slammed open the door to the liquor cabinet and grabbed two bottles at random. Vodka and tequila; that’d do. He flung himself down into a chair and started some serious drinking.

He was about a quarter into the vodka, drinking it straight from the bottle, when the beeping started.

He tried to ignore it, hearing it coming from Vickie’s office, figuring it was just some damn computer glitch or other. She’d come back to find all her files hosed or something. Or maybe a virus, who the hell knew, who the hell cared, and it would serve her right. And he figured it would eventually stop.

How dared she, how dared she try and guilt him like that? Finagling little rules-lawyer, she’d stopped just short of bringing in that hideous multiverse episode, oh just like she’d promised, but she knew, and he knew, and she knew that he knew what she meant. He’d been nearly out of his mind this afternoon; she hadn’t left him a note, a text, a call, anything! God the stuff that had been happening lately, people going missing, vanishing right into thin air, more crooks and monsters than ever, anything could have happened to her! He’d been going crazy, worrying, but did she give him credit for that? Hell no! Instead she turned it around and tried to hammer him with a guilt-trip!

“I’m sorry would’a been nice,” he muttered, getting down to the halfway point in the vodka bottle.

That damned computer was just getting louder. She thought she was so smart, why hadn’t she put a shutoff on her alarm system? Somebody was going to start pounding on the wall or the floor in a minute.

Yeah, she was so smart, Ms Computer Geek, Ms Fancy Novelist, Ms Techno-Shaman. Let him know it all the time, too, made sure everyone knew he was just the dumb fire-chucker. That was why she hadn’t called. He wasn’t good enough to go along on her Underhill business. She didn’t need him.

Something inside him exploded; he lurched out of the chair, dropping the empty bottle, and his flames roared to life. With a curse, he kicked open the door to her office where the computer was nagging, nagging, nagging.

“F-ing BITCH!” he screamed, and flung a fireball through the monitor.

The beeping stopped.

His anger ran out of him, and his fires died.

She didn’t need him.

He staggered back to the chair, choking back a sob, and wrenched open the second bottle.

She didn’t need him.

Red drank until there was nothing left in the bottle and nothing left in his head, until he couldn’t stand, couldn’t see, and couldn’t think.