My best friend is gone.
“Survive and don’t let those bastards get you down!”
Eri screams, her heart broken in a way that can never be fully healed. Voices call out to her, but she pays them no heed. Memories flash through her mind of him:
Them arguing, Diavel strutting his stuff, dancing on the rooftops together, curling up next to a fire, getting zonked on catnip, Diavel singing off-key as they ride into the sunset. Eri saving him as a kitten and looking into his eyes for the first time.
His body on the pyre, burning, with offerings of catnip and fish. The ash and burned hair blowing everywhere as he is cremated.
Dead. He died… because of the Choir.
And because of me.
Eri shudders and swigs the bottle of booze someone brought: was it Carmen? Doesn’t matter. It’s there, so she drinks it. Staggering to her feet, she stumbles out of Stratus’ complex, wandering.
Burned, but not yet buried. Leaving nothing but emptiness and pain in the wake of his death.
And memories. God, the memories! They plague Eri, reminding her of Diavel at odd moments but she refuses to try and forget them.
They’re all she has left of him.
Crying, Eri loses herself in the city. She stumbles along, searching for… something. She doesn’t care about her surroundings anymore, just the feeling she should find that something.
Eventually she collapses. Some gangsters stroll up, eager for the easy pickings. Eri can’t muster the will to care.
Survive. Diavel said to survive.
Survive and don’t let the bastards get you down.
Eri surges to her feet and lets them see her full on: glowing red eyes, lashing tail, sharp claws and a temper to match. They step back and she advances, pulling out her knives as she stalks them. They run.
Exhausted, Eri leans on the wall.
Survive, he said.
Muttering how he was still interfering with her life even after he died, Eri staggers her way back to the cult complex.
Valour still needs her and she needs Valour.
God help them both.