A singular precept once drove the Butterfly Guards: to obey and defend. Without their figurehead, there is no aim behind it. Agents previously bound to a singular will now wander, free to enjoy the last moments they have left under the kaleidoscopic sky.
Elsewhere, a bullet will shatter through the skull and unwind all the flesh it encounters. Dutifully, it will destroy the housing of what makes a person themselves. It will exit gracefully, splattering a mural of tissue across the wall. The body will crumple, like a marionette with severed strings. For the residents of this hazy summer afternoon, there is still the recollection of cicadas droning, a perfumed forest dotted with flowers, and a set of familiar bustling streets.
Both flowers and love still bloom.
A pair, once partnered for patrols, now only because of familiarity, wade through sunlight and tall grass. The sudden freedom is alien. They cling to routine, but their grasp loosens.
“There are other locations we are permitted to access,” one informs the other. As all Guards do, they possess a stiff, toneless voice. They are betrayed by the minute fluttering of their wings.
The other remains silent for a moment. “There are,” they agree, equally as stiff, but with wilting, hesitant wings. “We… We are capable of obtaining refreshments.” It is a bold offer, yet still practical, deniable, should their companion refuse.
“A sound course of action.” High praise and enthusiastic agreement.
To their surprise and delight, their partner offers their hand. Fingers laced together, the pair continue with purpose towards a bar they’ve been many times. However, for the first time they will enter, united, solely for their own enjoyment.