The colorless sunlight filtered through the heavy clouds and painted the roiling waves in dreary shades of gray. Flecks of sea spray leapt about on the surface of the water, like young children struggling to escape the meaningless and miserable fate of their dipping elders. The sand blew up in a ghost hand and reached toward the few people crossing the promenade, who held their umbrellas up against the wind and rain, oblivious to both the grasping phantom hand and the pale man standing on the boardwalk, contemplating the frigid water.

Jasper Whitlock toed the edge of the faded dock, gazing dismally over the vast expanse of empty ocean. Raindrops had begun to seep from the sky, dancing across the water creating circle patterns and plastering Jasper's golden hair to his head. He seemed not to notice the rain. His eyes were fixed on an invisible point off on the horizon. He looked quite peaceful, despite the raging battle in his head.

If everywhere he'd gone, everywhere, he had found only pain, how could he not yearn for somewhere else, another place to explore and search for something, something other than the constant emptiness and ache? How could he justify not going after a possible location of what he'd been seeking so long? And yet, who was he to say that rotting at the bottom of the ocean floor would be so much different from the unfeeling streets, from his house? It would be some kind of a cosmic joke if he committed suicide, just to return to the awful place he'd been living in. Conflict battled in his mind, reminding him unwillingly of the war. He'd escaped, though, only to wander endlessly. His thoughts were not escaping though, not wandering. Nor were they dying- just battling. As if they were invincible to only death, but not pain. Each idea was massacred relentlessly, but not extinguished. If one was, perhaps this decision wouldn't be so difficult. It seemed fitting with the hell he'd always lived in that this final decision would destroy him so thoroughly. And then, what if it wasn't his final decision? That was it, really, the decision between torture and eventual death, or death now. But torture could be anywhere. He did not know all the secrets of life and death.

Jasper closed his eyes, as if pushing the world away from him. If he hadn't, perhaps he would have noticed the petite woman hurrying towards him. He'd already made his decision in coming to this place. It would be easier if he didn't obsess too much before the end. Goodbye, he thought to the cruel world before tilting slightly and descending into the darkness below.

The small woman who'd ran toward him saw this, and immediately dove into the ocean after him. Arm around his waist, kick with the legs- it was easy to pull him out. She did not need to breathe, and she was very strong.

Alice pulled Jasper Whitlock to the shore, painted her fingertips across his cheekbones, listened to his rasping breaths of life, and sunk her teeth into his neck. Blood, acid, venom. Pain. He was in pain, yes. Over soon, over soon. Heartbeat- sluggish, then faster, then slower, then faster than before. The fluttering wings of a bird as it flew toward a future better than Jasper had ever imagined.