Last Chapter:

At the cornerstones of midnight,

the rain came crashing down,

washing away the remains of that bloody night,

and I was left stranded,

trapped between darkness and fright.

But I never broke.

I learned to fight.

Draon looked like he was sleeping. His head rested down against the wooden table. His glass was tipped over and on its side. His eyes stared at the wall as if a dream were playing out in front of him, but then the red velvet curtain came down. And when it did, the rain outside stopped falling.

"As promised," and Pree polished off his drink. Then, he stared at Draon, and he slowly reached for him, running his fingers through his hair. "You should never have found me," Pree said with a deep sigh. "That was your last mistake."

Leaning back in his chair, Pree turned to survey his bar. It had grown a lot quieter in here. Most of his patrons had called it a night. A few used the bar as their bed, but he would set them straight in a few minutes. And then he looked over at Gared, who remained standing behind the bar, but Gared stared back at Pree. And worry and fear shined in his eyes.

"Damn it," Pree muttered to himself. "Gared," and he gestured for Gared to come over to him.

"Pree?" Gared slowly approached him, and then he looked from Pree to Draon, already knowing that he was dead. "He's dead?"

"Yes," and Pree looked over at Draon. "He's dead."

"Why?"

"He was here to kill me."

"Well, then I'm glad he's dead, but why would he want to kill you?"

"It's a long story, and the bottle's empty." Pree picked up the bottle and then dropped it onto its side. "And I'm tired."

"Well, at least, the rain stopped falling," but Gared continued to stare at Draon.

"That it did," Pree said.

"How'd he die," Gared asked him.

"Poison. It was in the bottle. I put it in there with a drop of my blood."

"Your blood," Gared asked.

Pree pulled his knife out of its hiding place underneath his sleeve. He looked at the blade for a long moment. Then, he sliced the tip of his right index finger open. Blood pooled out of the skin and dripped onto the table. It was red and black. "When she saved me, she did something to me, to my hands," and Pree wrapped a napkin against his finger. Then, he wiped the blade against his sleeve. "I don't know why she saved me."

"Who saved you, Pree?"

"I wish I knew, honey, but I don't think I ever will. And if she hadn't, then he would have killed me," and he gestured over to Draon. "The rest of me bleeds red," and Pree removed his napkin. His finger had stopped bleeding.

"Pree, you have a lot of secrets," Gared finally said.

"Yes, Gared, I do, and some of them are best not to be known. Now, how about we get rid of him," and Pree gestured toward Draon. "And we clean up the bar," and he looked over at the few men snoring away on the counter. "Then, we call it a night. It's been a very long night."

"Okay, Pree. I'll take care of him," and Gared lifted Draon up as if he were a drunk and unable to walk himself out. "Don't worry about it. I'll be right back," and Gared carried the body outside.

"I guess I'll clean house," Pree said as he stood up from his chair and stretched his arms over his head.

"Thank you," a female voice whispered into his ear.

Pree froze. He slowly looked around, wondering if she was here. He recognized that voice, but he didn't see her. And there were too many shadows against the walls, and the last time that he had seen her was a very long time ago back on that miserable black rock. What would she be doing here, but one thing was for sure. She saved him, so he didn't need to fear her. He kept his promise. "You're welcome," Pree said aloud.

"You're welcome," a drunk man nearby shouted at him.

"I wasn't talking to you," and Pree shook his head. "Alright, bitches. It's closing time. Get out of my bar," and he watched the last of his patrons groan and bitch as they pulled themselves away from the bar and slowly walk outside. "I think I had my share of the past," Pree said to himself. "It's time to look ahead," and he turned off the lights.