((36 - Dog Shelter))
The door to Jaz' room slid open. Kasby had seen the room before, but Jaz had always shooed him away, told him that it was her space. The walls were covered with words, painted and drawn in, each plate one of the plates that had lined the inside of her ship before. And the words... they were her words, transplanted here from her home, from Oliver. More personal than the journals in the Archives, by far.
It was a small room, cozy, simple. No ornamentation other than the writing that covered the walls. Most of it was old, faded, even written over in brighter ink. He took a few steps in. The pain of his recently bandaged wounds were distant and unimportant. He hardly felt them anymore. He walked, as if in a trance, to one of the walls and traced a hand lightly across the writing. His hands were still lightly bandaged, cloth to stop the bleeding of his abused knuckles. He had no expression, his emotions unreadable. He read the walls, line by line, until he reached the newest writing.
Much of it was unintelligible, months of overlapping writing, or things that meant nothing to him. References to people he'd never known, places he'd never been. Sides of Jazrill Quinn he'd never gotten to know, and now never would. But the newest writing was different. Long, and dated to just before she arrived at Sector Seven, minutes or hours before she met Kasby. He leaned in, and began to read the scrawled memory.
The door is of copper wire, woven tight. Threads of blue and red run through it like veins. I want to open it. I want to open it, and I do, sliding it to one side.
The room is of copper wire, low and long and simple. I slip off my shoes, on instinct, and pad softly onto the mats, the same veined, disturbing beauty that the door sports. My swords are at the other end of the room, hung on the wall ceremoniously, like they're watching.
The whole room is red, veined in blue, veined in silver. The whole room is blue, veined in silver, veined in red.
I am inside a heart, and it begins to beat with the drums of war.
My swords fly to my hands, quick as snakes to strike the demons that dissolve through the ceiling. Strike, strike, strike. The blood hits me, hot and red. Red? Red. The room is red.
Demons do not bleed red.
I look around me at the bodies of my new passengers, the lost ducklings, the irritating children I took under my wing. My friends. They lie dead around me, sliced to pieces by my own swords.
My hands are empty, my hands are trembling, my hands are red.
The room is red.
I sink into the floor 'til I am drowning in it, pulled down and out. I see the eyes of my friends, shocked, but not betrayed. By sinking, I am saving them from doing the same.
I am inside a heart, the heart of a demon, and my hands are empty. But my fingers are strong, and my fingers are claws, and as long as I have claws, I shall tear. I tear at the heart, I tear at the red.
I am red, nothing but color and blood and death. Nothing but light through my eyelids. Nothing but a dream.
I don't know what it means, this dream, but that I fear where we are going and what I meant find there. Sector Seven has been my goal for so long, and in less than an hour, I'll be there. It's pointless to speculate what will happen, I know from experience that I can't possibly predict it. But I'm reasonably certain it won't involve sinking through floors and demons who look like my new friends (or is it my friends who will look like demons?). And hopefully I'll return to Oliver more than just color, blood and death.
She hadn't bothered to sign it, of course. Why would she? It is her space, after all. Her space. Her words.
Kasby touched his fingers lightly against the newest writing. In it, he could still feel the life, the voice, the hand of her. He could still feel Jaz. But away she slipped, out of his arms, out of his grasp. All that he loved, gone.
"...Gone." Kasby breathed to himself. He felt the sting of tears, down his cut and bruised and battle-worn face. He felt tired. Old. He felt hopeless.
It was a long time before he dared to speak again. "Couldn't save you. Right up to the very end, I couldn't... but maybe you're more now than just color, blood and death." He paused, looking at the writing covering the walls, his mind flashing through the brief two weeks he had known her. "I love you, Jazrill Quinn. Always," he finished quietly.