I don't even know why it happened. Or even when, exactly. Or how. She's dead, though. And I really don't think she's coming back to me.
Wendiharan... I feel like I should be doing something to honor her memory, but all I really do these days is drink. There are people out there courteous enough to pay me for my services, small as they are. I otherwise manage to eek by on savings from a time that seems long past. I know damn well that if I were to spend even a penny in the wrong place, I could ill afford to pay rent next month. I know, I know, I know but... I keep finding a bottle in my arms at night. What did I do with the day? I don't recall...
I vividly remember watching some astounding performance in a bar somewhere. One of the fancy bars with a stage for performances. Some sort of elaborate play? They were bending, contorting their bodies. I wish I could remember the details. I probably didn't appreciate it very much. There were words spoken about a festival to a man I don't really know. Can't remember his name anymore. His face either. I said I'd bring the family. I think I slept through it.
What the hell time is it? I squint and stare through my window. Dusk, by my best guess. I think. The window is so grimey these days I really can't see through it. I turned my bleary vision to the rest of the room.
With a jolt like lightning I sat bolt upright. Eyes were watching me from the floor, eyes that glinted strangely in the moot light. Demons? No, no it can't be. Demons don't go through doors, demons would have killed me in my sleep, and demons have not even been reported inside the city walls in... a year?
It was a mistake to sit up, in any case. Hangovers hurt. My head hurt something aweful. I clasped it in my hands, moaning loudly. I shifted, swayed in a wide arc, tried to stand up and get out of bed but ended up slamming my head against the corner of the headrest before I toppled off onto the floor, landing on my elbows and getting tangled in my blanket.
Shrill laughter. Cackling, almost. Can little girls cackle? If they can, it sounds like this. Spica found all this to be fucking hilarious. Auva was laughing, too, but not so much at me, I think. I hope. I saved face with myself by telling myself that Auva was actually laughing only because Spica was laughing, and not because of my misfortune. Auva always seems to follow in Spica's wavelengths anyway, so in my nauseated and confused state, this all made sense. Syrma observed with polite disinterest.
With a hefty sigh I got up, disassembling myself from my blanket, getting into touch with reality again. Straightening up, if you will. I checked myself. Still clothed. Must have passed out the moment I laid down in bed, the moment I got through the door. What time was it really? I opened the door. Dusk. Someone must have set my internal clock without telling me.
In any event, these three should have been in bed already. Where were their mothers? I jostled around the room, found a scrap of paper tossed carelessly into a corner. Unusual. I picked it up. "Shop," I read aloud. That was the only word on it. The rest was a crude drawing of what I can only surmise to be three women holding hands. The one on the right had a basket in her free hand. Or a writhing squid. I couldn't really tell.
It conveyed the message it needed to, though. Annie, Candice and Patricia had gone out for the day under the pretense of shopping. Why they left the message in a corner of the room instead of on the counter I could not figure out. I also could not figure out why they left their daughters alone in the house with their drunken, passed-out father, presumably for at least a couple hours. Then I remembered that, between the three of them, they shared only a scrap of motherly instincts. The scenario made a little more sense now. They're good women, mind you. Just... really no clue sometimes.
In any case, the children would be hungry before they went to bed. I threw together something simple to eat, I don't even remember what. Mashed it up good for Syrma. We all ate in relative quiet; I had nothing to say. Spica and Auva exchanged broken conversation, the way very young children do. Wide, frantic gestures and sentences formed half from random words and half from grunts. Syrma just watched a bug crawl along the floor as she ate.
Then it was time for bed. I took each of them to their respective rooms, one at a time, Syrma first, then Auva, then Spica, youngest to oldest. I tucked them in. Kissed them goodnight. They seemed content enough. I still had a headache.
I sat back down on my bed, tried to think of something to do. Maybe I could check in with a long-term patient. Maybe I could go to the gardens and relax, get some fresh air. Maybe I could go fuck somebody. Then I remembered that I had no long-term patients, I didn't much care for the gardens without somebody to fuck in the flowerbeds, and, above all else, I had nobody to fuck. I was an Elbahnite with no game these days, and it was showing.
I reached into my backpack, pulled out a bottle. It was almost empty, just barely enough for one small glass. I considered getting more, decided I'd decide on that later. The southern door creaked open.
Spica stuck her head through the crack, yawning. "What is it, honey? You should be asleep."
"You not kiss."
"Didn't I?" I'm pretty sure I didn't forget to kiss her goodnight. Well... I think I didn't. I got up, absent-mindedly bringing the glass with me as I returned with Spica to her room.
"What dat?" she asked, pointing sleepily at my wine.
"It's wine, sugar. Daddy likes drinking it."
"I d'ink. I d'ink."
I considered. Spica has a penchant for getting riled up about the things she wants, begging and pleading even if she knows she'll never get whatever it happens to be. I didn't need that this late at night, so I just gave in. A sip shouldn't hurt anything.
I lowered the glass for her, knelt down. She leaned forward, put her lips to the rim, then sneezed. Spica drew back, rubbing her nose, wrinkling her face. "Smell yucky."
"Well, sweetheart, you don't have to try it if you don't want to." She'd already lost interest and was climbing into bed. I tucked her in. This time I definately kissed her goodnight.
I went back to my room, the front room, to my bed. I sat down. I swirled the wine, gave it a sniff. It smelled like wine. I took a sip. I spat it out.
There was a Spica booger in my last glass of wine.
Cursed, Blessed; The Masked Jackal
Cursed, Blessed: The Cage And The Masked Jackal
Of Small Sin: Wine
Cursed, Free: Voice
Of Small Sin: Hovel, Part 6: Worry
Of Small Sin: Hovel, Part 5: Lull
Of Small Sin: Hovel, Part 4: Brighter Times
Of Small Sin: Hovel, Part 3: Darker Times
Of Small Sin: Hovel, Part 2: Collecting Thoughts
Of Small Sin: Hovel, Part 1: Beds