Loss

The Outpost

Early May, 2012

“This dish is dirty, wash it again,” the large pan was dropped into the dishpan water, splashing over the edge and getting Megs wet. “You are so useless at this job, how is it that you are good at nothing?” ChiChi said, adjusting her dress to show more sagging cleavage.

“Pyotr should have just killed you, or cut off that pretty little face of yours. Then you could still work upstairs,” The middle aged woman huffed, looking at Megs in disgust as the vampire said nothing and started to wash the pan in question. There wasn’t any dirt left on it but smeared pink lipstick, suspiciously the same colour as the lipstick smeared on ChiChi’s collagen-filled lips.“Well he didn’t,” Megs said eventually, drying off the pan and undoing the apron around her waist. “Shift’s over, see you tomorrow night.”

“The floor is wet! you can’t leave yet,” ChiChi shouted.

“That’s because I washed it. It’s a clean wet and it’s ten, that means I have to go do real work now,” Megs said, hanging up her apron and heading for the door without looking at the aged harpy. “Toodles until tomorrow!”

The walk from the bar to the Library was about an hour, enough time to let Megs shed the stress of the bar before getting to Evgeny and his books. The last month had alternatively flown and crawled by. Whenever she was working with Ilya, Boris or with Evgeny in the library, the nights flew by, fast enough that she often had spent the day in the Library curled up on one of the couches. But whenever she had to work at the Bar, the night became an exercise in patience and not giving ChiChi a second smile.

The way she managed was to remind herself that ChiChi was stuck here, and in a month or so, Megs might be able to go home. ChiChi would stay here and keep resenting anything that was younger or prettier than her. Petty, but whenever one of the male cooks was nearby, ChiChi felt the need to hover around obsessively flirting and throwing herself at them, or really any male in Megs’s vicinity.

It would be sad if Megs was able to muster any sympathy at all. Instead she just looked forward to never seeing the petty ghoul again.

The snow had all melted and the paths had become treacherous tracks of mud, forcing Megs to pick her way carefully along to avoid twisting an ankle. That made her feel vulnerable. Knowing that Mitya was still out there somewhere made her feel vulnerable. She hated feeling vulnerable.

Mitya’s disappearance was a thorn in her side, constantly worrying away at her nerves. Why hadn’t Stasya found him? Why wasn’t Megs allowed to look for him? It was unbelievably frustrating, and she was forced to rely on her instincts. Unfortunately, they were going haywire lately. She’d be washing dishes at ChiChi’s and then out of nowhere she’d feel all the hairs on the back of her neck stand on end. Yet when Megs looked around, instinctively grabbing one of the kitchen knives, there was no one there.

Megs paused, her head tilting as she spotted something in the muck. A footprint. It was just a footprint, it could easily be one of Boris’s or Ilya’s as they brought blood over to Evgeny. It could be nothing, but the creeping feeling of unease that roiled in the pit of her belly drove her to start jogging down the path.It could be nothing. It was probably nothing. Mitya had never even met Evgeny. He had no reason to hurt the scholar, so why was she running now, feet slipping in the muck as she hurtled through the forest to the bunker?

Up ahead she could see that the Bunker’s door was hanging open and something dark had been smeared on the metal. It wasn’t rust.

“Evgeny?” Megs cried out, ducking into a shadow and flashing forward into the bunker itself. The scent of old books was overwhelmed by copper. Blood. Not Vitae, Blood. Muddy feet flew down the steep stairs without a thought about cleanliness.

Down in the library proper the scent of blood was stronger, triggering a deep hunger. But no, no this was bad. Where was Evgeny?

Casting about for her mentor, Megs spotted bloody tracks. The lights were on. Evgeny didn’t need the lights on. Megs didn’t need the lights on. Who had turned on the fucking lights?

“No, no-no-no-no,” Megs mumbled, following the bloody footprints and leaving behind muddy ones of her own.

Megs found Evgeny on her table. The notes and books she had been working on were strewn over the floor and soaked with blood. But the table… on the table was a form of ash and rotting meat. It’s arms were splayed out to the side, it’s legs twisted like the Scholar’s were. But where the head was had been smeared away, leaving nothing.

Erased.

Gone.

Everything flooded red, and for a while there was nothing but the comfort of rage. When she came to herself and the Beast retreated, satiated for the moment, Megs found herself holding a leg of one of the chairs, the edge splintered into a cruel point.

Around her was destruction. The lights had all been shattered, leaving broken glass in complete darkness. Books had been strewn, some ripped in half, and one of the shelves had been pushed over.

“I’m sorry,” she mumbled, trudging back over to where Evgeny had been. The table was overturned and his ashes lay scattered across the concrete floor. “I’m so sorry,” Megs said, starting to brush the ashes into a pile.

As she did, smears of blood caught her eye on the wall behind the overturned table.

Those that allow the unworthy to live deserve death themselves.

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