With Him

In the end, on Gauda Prime, he ran.

Vila did what he should have done from the start, he ran away... but the dead, they ran with him at first. Avon, with all the silken spite in his voice shredding into sibilant horror; Tarrant, his howling despair like the echoing shriek of a rusted graveyard gate; Soolin all pale, brooding emptiness, and Dayna a dark, furious, vicious wraith.

And Blake, his warmth turned to bitter flames, his eyes like hollows in that ravaged face.

Further, like the remnants of memory, he could nearly see Gan, lumpish and looming in the night, hear light, icy, biting laughter that might have been Jenna, and feel Cally's thoughts like threads of a half-forgotten nightmare.

As he crept into the nearby town, and headed for the nearest bar, he felt them draw away, fall back from the ruddy lights and raucous sounds of people who didn't know him - or them - and care. He found a room, and bought the strongest beer they had, got drunk and slept with the light on, the way he knew he always would until he could get off this world, leave it - and his dead - behind.

It took him just five days, and in those five days, he somehow knew the dead were still out there, in the shadows outside town, in the corners of his mind's eye. They were waiting...

As far as he cared any more, they could wait forever. It took him just five days, but he had a berth, a ship, a way out. Nowhere to go, but that was nothing new.

Vila left Gauda Prime, and his dead, they stayed behind. In the end, he was alone.

-the end -