I came as soon as I heard. I came too late. Los Angeles is a dangerous place these days. The only safe place seems to be out in plain sight. Nothing can sneak up on you if you can see ‘em coming. Fires are burning out of control on every corner, skyscrapers have crumbled like piles of crackers all over the city, and it seems like the ground beneath my feet can’t stop its shaking. I wonder if Giles knows about all of this.
An explosion echoes through alleyways from somewhere uptown. I can hear screeching, like metal on metal, but I know it’s nothing mechanical. A huge shadow suddenly blocks out what little sunlight there is. I risk a glance up, taking in the ash-stained sky and the huge… holy fuck, that’s a dragon! Lucky for me, it just keeps going, as if an apocalyptic City of Angels is a bad place for a dragon. It’s only been two days, but it looks like this place got hit with a nuclear warhead or ten. It’s hard to tell where I’m going without any landmarks. I’ve only been here a couple of times, and it’s a little disorienting to see this city flattened like a pancake. It takes me longer than I want to reach my destination, but I finally find it.
I had been in China for over a month. I’d been keeping myself in the loop by traveling the world, finding the newbies, and sending them to England for training. Nobody asked me to. I think they would’ve been happiest if I had just disappeared. I couldn’t do that, though. As a good friend once told me, the mission is what matters. It was all over the news in Beijing that LA was under siege. By the time I saw it though, it was too late.
Besides, I figured with the big guy heading up Evil Empire he’d come out on top. He always did. Everybody was so worried that he had gone off the deep end that they refused to come to his aid. I knew him better. He wouldn’t have done it if not for good reason. It didn’t matter to me what that reason may have been. Angel pulled a Trojan horse that severely crippled the most powerful evil corporation in the world. That puts him firmly in the “hero” column in my book. I would’ve been right here, fighting and dying at his side, if I hadn’t been stuck in Beijing. If he had just asked.
I can smell it now. The stench of death in this alley is completely overpowering. His death. There are others here as well. I knew them, briefly, but they’re barely blips on my radar screen. I know I won’t find a body. There’s something else I’m looking for. Flame erupts from the fallen building next to me, and I can see something shining in the rubble at my feet. I bend to pick it up, and silently slip it onto the chain around my neck. I’ll take it to her. Haven’t seen Cleveland in awhile, anyway.
I should say good-bye. That’s what I came here to do, since I was too late to help. But the words stick in my throat. He was my savior. He was my friend. And now he’s gone. Tears are rolling steadily down my cheeks as I find the words I need him to hear; “Tá grá agam duit.”
If I could trade places with him, I’d do it in a heartbeat.
the distillers "the young crazed peeling"