Riddick crouched in the dark office, still and silent, waiting for his final target. Sounds of revelry floated up from below as people gathered in the streets to celebrate the end of Hel's long winter. He'd timed it this way, hoping the noise of the party would cover the screams of his victim. Because this was the last one, and he wanted to take his time.

In the five years since he'd taken off from Nikuda in a stolen ship, Riddick had been busy. Slowly, methodically, he'd hunted down and killed every single person that had hurt the kid, keeping the promise he'd made to himself that day on Aleximir.

He'd been amused to discover that his reputation preceded him. Shortly after the first few kills, he started finding notes – hastily scrawled warnings in Cyrillic script, tucked into his targets' pockets or desk drawers. Not for the first time, he'd wondered what Kyra had said to the little man, silhouetted in the doorway of that torture chamber. What made him take off so fast? Made her so sure he wouldn't be a problem? Maybe he would ask her, someday.

There had been no notes in this office, though. No warnings to this man of his impending doom. Either no one cared enough to tell him that death was coming for him – or there was no one left to pass the message.

The office door opened, pulling Riddick from his thoughts. Light and noise spilled into the room for an instant, then darkness returned. Rising from his crouch, Riddick's knives slid silently into his hands.

"Privyet, staryy drug," he rumbled from the shadows. The scent of fear filled the air, and he grinned as Aleksandr Ismennik whirled around, looking for him in the gloom.

"Yebat' kopat'!" The Russkiy swore as he held his hands up in surrender.

Riddick chuckled and stepped forward. "You didn't think I'd let you live, did you, Sasha?" he purred menacingly. "After you sold her out?" He advanced on the old Russkiy, enjoying the recognition and terror dawning in the smaller man's eyes.

"I didn't-" Ismennik began to protest, but Riddick cut him short, pressing a blade against the man's throat.

"No," he agreed, backing his victim into one of the heavy leather chairs and securing him tightly. "You didn't."

The rising sun was glowing through the office windows by the time Riddick finished. The man in the chair was long dead, the sounds of the previous night's revelry easily disguising his screams of anguish.

Riddick had enjoyed those screams, had savored the slick feel of Ismennik's blood coating his hands as he'd cut and sliced. His inner beast had urged him on, whispering encouragement until what remained of Ismennik was unrecognizable – they'd need DNA to conclusively identify him when they found the body. It had been glorious.

But that high was fading already, leaving the loneliness that he couldn't seem to shake. He'd thought he'd feel different, somehow; thought that empty, broken place inside of him would ache less after all of the killing was done.

It didn't.

Riddick stepped out of the office and closed the door firmly behind him. His ship was waiting, and soon he was back in the vast expanse of deep space. Staring out the windows at the stars, he traced a small scar on his shoulder. It was Kyra's mark – the mark she'd left on him the last time they'd been together.

It had been a while...

Maybe it was time to go back.

Author's Note: Thank you; I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

July 25, 2020