The curtains are drawn at Goblin Market. There's a small hand lettered sign in the window written in an elegant hand: "Closed due to a death in the family."
Somebody's left white lillies on the doorstep. Nestled against them are small sachets wrapped in black lace. I pick one up and give it a sniff: catnip.
(brb, crying. Thank you, Hec.)
The sun in Sang Sacre is bright, gently warming my face as I listen to the distant echoes of distress, fear, anger, the pleas for vengeance on the fickle gods that rule the weather in the Upper Midwest of the U.S. Poor blighters, not much I can do against gods, a bit of persuasion, perhaps. Really, now, isn't three snow storms in April a bit much? Your people are crying for mercy, bump the temperature up enough to make it rain, eh?
Ah, thanks, gents. I feel their relief.
OMG Natter is CLOSED!!! OMG!!!
There is a rumble. Some sort of clanking. The smell of something vaguely like diesel.
Was that the tour bus again?
Whatever it was, it seems to be gone now. I wouldn't worry about it, if I were you.
Noli Timere Messorem
My anger burns hotter and harder than it has in eons. There are doctors I want to go after, but I'm a Petty Vengeance Demon. Petty is by no means the kind of vengeance they deserve. However, there is something I can do. Having obtained a fresh egg and two small sticks, I summon Death. There are wizards who prefer to go about it with more ceremony and many drippy candles. I find the simplest ways are the best. Shortest distance and all that.
Death doesn't say much at first. His black robe is splotched all over in pink glitter. That is good. She left more than just a trace. And I have seen firsthand how hard it is to get completely shed of the stuff, no matter how much you launder or vacuum. He will be wearing her mark for centuries.
"I have a bone to pick with you."
WHICH ONE? I HAVE MANY.
"You hurt my people. You took someone we love."
THIS IS NOT A BONE YOU MAY PICK OR DO ANYTHING ELSE WITH. IT IS MERELY MY DUTY.
"'I was just doing my job' is no excuse. I want answers."
I THINK NONE WILL SATISFY YOU.
"Why couldn't you have just left her alone? We wanted to keep her around."
EVERYONE DIES. IT IS ONLY A MATTER OF WHEN.
"Where did her soul go?"
I CANNOT TELL YOU THAT. SHE WENT WHERE SHE BELIEVED SHE SHOULD GO.
"It's not fair. You should have let her be."
DEATH IS NEITHER FAIR NOR UNFAIR. IT SIMPLY IS. DID YOU WANT HER TO BE ALONE IN THE END? SHE WAS NOT. I WAS THERE.
There is little to say to that. He does not make an appearance for every being, after all. Some are essentially random representatives of their kind. But some appearances are for persons of note. She was important to so many people.
"Why can't things be better than this?"
THAT IS A QUESTION I CANNOT ANSWER FOR YOU. PERHAPS NOT EVEN THE GODS KNOW.
"What kind of crappy gods make a world, fill it with pain and loss and then can't explain it?"
YOU WOULD DO WELL NOT TO ASK THEM, LITTLE DEMON.
"Someone needs to."
PERHAPS I SHALL NEXT TIME I MEET ONE. I DO NOT LOVE MY JOB. IT IS ONLY DUTY.
I'm weeping now. A bony hand reaches out. He offers me a hanky. A pink gingham hanky. "Thank you. I... I just want things to be right. People are still hurting. But you may as well go. You can't fix this." I look at the hanky, hand shaking because I don't know whether to give it back. It got kind of messy. I was ugly crying.
YOU MAY GIVE IT BACK THE NEXT TIME WE MEET.
Spring in Sang Sacre. It's beautiful. Waxing lyrical about the seasons doesn't seem the right aesthetic for a petty vengeance demon, but I am tempted. I hate venturing out into the further reaches of the world. This is my home now. My people are here. My heart is here. I wonder if the Hierarchy would notice if I just sort of stopped going to calls outside.