Wynonna had used to say, "Make your peace." She'd even said that was going to be "her thing." She was going to break the curse and give them all peace: herself, her family and all the men her great great grandfather had killed.
Funny how a year later she wasn't racing the curse any more, but that hadn't made anything better. Being Black Badge's blood-bound mercenary seemed like it had the same death sentence over it as hunting for revenge. Only now, she didn't have as many friends.
She didn't bother saying anything about peace this time. What did it matter?
Peacemaker shattered the morning, and a Hell that was all too real followed. The screams seemed to echo after the pit closed, though she knew there was no sound in this wild, unhaunted place.
Holstering the gun, Wynonna left the cabin—its floor unmarked and unscorched—and tried not listen.
Her bike was a hundred yards down the road, but when she thought of the long ride back to Purgatory—coming home to Waverly and Nicole necking, Doc ignoring her, and Dolls still gone—all she wanted to do was run the other way.
Giving in, just for a moment, she turned away from the road and walked through the brush toward the lake. The next property over had wharf with a sail boat and a few old dinghies tied at the far end, and Wynonna walked out to them. None of the neighbours had come out for the shooting, or for the screaming, and Wynonna assumed that whatever weekenders owned the joint weren't out here at 5am on a Wednesday. That, or they were smart to hide when they saw trouble coming.
Not like Wynonna, and she only was because for her it was the wrong side of dawn. This really was Hell on Earth.
She shouldn't joke about Hell. Growing up, she'd missed most of, well, religion—if she were honest about it—but she was pretty sure murdering your own kin, twice, was not the way to the pearly gates.
"Thinking about sailing away?"
That was Doc. She hadn't heard him coming, nor expected him to show, no matter that she'd left three messages, and knew Jeremy had explained how to access them.
"Where have you been?" she asked, not turning to face him. She'd been asking that a lot lately, and hadn't got much of an answer yet.
"I came when I could," he said, like always.
"Missed all the fun."
"Reckon so," he answered placidly. "So are you?"
Wynonna looked out at the still water. The pink and orange of the oncoming dawn had begun to reflect off the clouds, and far away a loon called. "It's a lake," she said. "Wouldn't get me anywhere. And all that time in Greece? Mucho sailors, not so much sailing."
He didn't say anything, just stood a few paces back and, she assumed, stared out at the sunrise same as she was. That or he was looking at her ass. It was all very cowboy movie: pretty scenery, stoic silences and unspoken... something or other. Loyalty? Enmity? He wouldn't kiss her, then said he was her friend, then wouldn't drink with her, then came when she called, ten minutes late.
"I'm too tired to deal with your bullshit," she told him.
"Picture, if you will, my feelings on the topic," he replied, but it was too much of a joke, and she was being honest for once.
She looked again at the lake—it was a straight shot off the end of the dock—and imagined running and jumping in, or just stepping off. She didn't know why the picture attracted her. Not like literally jumping in a lake would help anything, and she'd get those gross stringy green weeds in her hair, but the idea of falling through cold, deep water, maybe forever, tugged at her. That and sleep, and whisky, and sex.
Wynonna had spent enough time locked in one loony bin or another to recognise depression when it chewed on her ankles. She didn't have time for that bullshit either. She had to keep it together, or they were all dead.
She turned—swinging on her heel and swaying her hips, making it look like she had all day and she didn't give a shit. When she was all the way around to looking Doc in the eye, she said with more emphasis than she actually felt, "Go to hell."
He flinched. It shouldn't have made Wynonna feel good, but it did. She liked that she could still hurt him. Then that famous poker face slid back into place and he smiled—corners of his mouth barely twitching up under his moustache—and said, "Darling, I've been and gone. I can't say as I have any desire to return."
He'd said something like that before, meaning the century plus in the dry well, and she'd felt bad for him then. Now she was too busy feeling like an asshole. "Oh yeah?" she asked, "See anyone I know? I think a few of my relatives have gone that way. Sent a few myself, actually. And I guess you've helped some along yourself."
They both knew she meant Wyatt, and that hit him hard enough that she was able to walk past him and get all the way to the end of the dock before she heard him mutter, "Damn you, Wynonna."
She didn't know if he'd meant it to be loud enough for her to hear, or if it was just how well sound carried over water in the cool morning air. She didn't care. She flicked him off over her shoulder and didn't look back.
Wynonna was already damned, and they both knew it. As was Doc, she assumed, but that was his business. Among the multitude of things she was tired of right now, guessing people's loyalties was almost top of the list, and life would be a lot simpler if she could know for sure that he hated her. Even if she had to make him.
When she got to her bike, she gunned it, sending up a cloud of dust as she ripped down the dirt road and onto the highway. Purgatory waited.