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Tick Tock

Hayden dropped the stack of files on top of Patrick's desk at eight o'clock on the nose. After he'd left the hospital, he went straight to his office to get the files. He still had Sky's blood all over him. The gauze wrapped around his stitched up forearm was damp with his own blood. Patrick looked up at him, ready to lash out, but his tirade fell flat before he could get started.

"What the fuck happened to you?" Patrick asked.

"I brought your case files back," Hayden said. "And a few extras. There's a file on a man named Tyler Dafoe. You might want to share some of this with the Pittsburgh homicide department. He killed seven people down there trying to do the same thing."

"What the ... is he ... "

"He's been punished."

Patrick opened his mouth, but he couldn't think of anything to say.

Hayden headed for the door.

"What about the thief?" Patrick blurted.

Hayden stopped in the doorway and fought the urge to rush back into the office and throttle Patrick. "Like I said before, if you know who he is, go arrest him."

Patrick said nothing, and Hayden walked out before Patrick could find anything else to say.

He got out of the police station without anyone stopping him to ask questions. He got strange looks and raised eyebrows, but he kept his head down. In the muggy air outside, he could smell death on his clothes and his skin, and the pedestrians who passed clamped their hands over their mouths. If he could show them what had happened, he knew they'd be grateful. He, Conrad and Sky had saved them all from fates far worse than death. If those machines, or whatever they had been, had been unleashed, San Desperado would be dust, and the rest of world wouldn't be far behind. Maybe it still could be. His eyes itched. Somewhere in the back of his mind, a list was forming. He knew all the sinners. He knew all their sins. He knew his own, and that alone kept him from doing anything more than opening the passenger door of Julian's car and sliding in.

"Everything okay?" Julian asked.

Hayden shrugged. "Chelios can't do anything to me. He got his precious files back," he said.

"I didn't mean that."

He shook his head. "I just want to go home and take a shower."

"Okay." She started the car. "Conrad called. He said four o'clock."

Hayden nodded and rubbed his eyes. It hit him all at once; how little he'd slept and how much he'd lost. His bones weighed more, and he sank into the seat. He felt tears in his eyes. He didn't have the strength to fight them off or even rub them away as they dribbled down his cheeks. Julian put her hand on his thigh as she drove. Even that little bit of comfort was overshadowed by fear. She was just someone else he could lose.


The Furies climbed out of the pit as the wave of blood washed back into it. They were one less than they had been, and Megaera's ghost hung over them like a torn paper doll. Alecto and Tisiphone had avenged their fallen sister. The false Nemesis had been punished, and all his victims were avenged.

They walked back to their temple, sharing the burden of Megaera's body. At the temple, they prayed. They prayed for their sister and for the souls of the innocent. They prayed for the sinners, too, for the Furies would not sleep again.


A cold front had swept through during the afternoon, and by four, the air was crisp and pleasant. If he'd been anywhere other than the cemetery, Hayden might have enjoyed the reprieve from the summer heat.

Sky's grave was marked with a stone cross with his name carved into the horizontal arm. There were no dates, no "beloved son" or "dear friend." There were no flowers; just a potted cactus. There had been just enough room for him to be laid to rest between his parents, and Hayden wondered about the strings Conrad must have pulled to get everything taken care of in less than twelve hours.

"Where did the cactus come from?" Hayden asked.

"It was in his living room," Conrad said. "I thought it fit him. Why?"

"Because there was one at Taren's grave, too."

"Flowers die too fast anyway. That thing could be there forever."

"We're not done."

"No, not by a long shot. I've got this running list in my head. All these people who've done something wrong. It's everything from jaywalking to murder. Even my own sins are there. I'm not sure I know what to do with this."

"We don't do anything. They'll come to us. We'll know which ones are worth the effort."

"Why didn't the powers go away?"

"I don't know. I don't know if I believe they were ever there in the first place."

"I set things on fire just by touch. Explain to me how that's not real."

"I just think we might be something more than human. So it's not that we have powers. It's just something we do. And I didn't say it wasn't real."

"So where are the others like us? It can't be such an isolated event if we're more evolved."

"Maybe it's just the water."

"Yeah, acid rain or something. Whatever."

"It doesn't matter, Conrad. I have promises to keep."

Conrad smirked. "Yeah. So do I."