They came in sharp, staccato bursts of refined gunpowder: the sound of her ostentatious heels digging graves onto the cobblestone alleyway. If it were anyone else Hamilton would have been surprised she hadn’t yet sunk a heel into one of the potholes littering the ground, nearly as numerous as the cities’ atrociously large body count.
“Well, look at you.” She muttered as her strangely sympathetic eyes roved over the disarrayed state of Hamilton’s blood-splattered clothes.
The distasteful click of her tongue ricocheted against the rain slicked walls with the force of a gunshot, the sound effectively burgeoning itself within his heaving lungs. With all the ease of an experienced lounge performer Fayne crouched in front of his shivering form, allowing the material of her too tight dress to bunch up around her exposed ankles.
Hamilton blinked rapidly. The sting of salt mingled with rivulets of fresh water, carving out paths he could no longer take.
“Why are you here?” Hamilton croaked out, the unmistakeable coarseness of his voice exposed the tears consolidating at the point of his chin.
Fayne cocked her head to the side, a pistol aiming point-blank at its target. The propped position of her satin encased palm supported her haphazardly poised frame. A weary sigh lingered on Fayne’s blood stained lips before she bothered to answer.
“To help a friend. Now get up you big lug.”
Hamilton briefly considered her outstretched hand. The dregs of his humanity seemed to curdle at the gnawing pit expanding within his abdomen.
“You’ve made a mistake.”
Fayne’s stalwart eyes narrowed.
“And what’s that?” she challenged, the tautly restrained grenade burst across her iris.
Hamilton diverted his gaze attempting to seek an abandoned bomb shelter in wake of his blunder. He could not resist the words puncturing the cardboard state of his voice box with the precision of Fayne’s twin knives. Where exactly she found the space to keep them concealed on her body at all times he never wanted to discover.
“I’m not your friend.”
The slump of his shoulders became more pronounced as the cartilage in his bones was hollowed out by the hands of petty gravediggers. Fayne snorted indignantly.
“Damn well you’re not. Not after all the effort I’ve put into making you halfway sane in this walled off city full of loonies,” Faye lectured before extending her hand again. “Now get up. You’re disgusting.”
“You’ll get your gloves dirty”
Fayne rolled her eyes, effectively switching the safety on, before muttering a few choice words under her breath.
“That’s what gloves are for you big idiot. Besides there’s a reason everyone wears black: the stains don’t show up so easily,” A virulent grin glinted across her lips. “Makes for less laundry.”
“But they’re still there; they never wash out. No matter how hard you try, they’re still there.”
The fine-tuned trembling of Hamilton’s fingers oscillated.
“You’re still on that drivel? “ Fayne sighed deeply, pinching the bridge of her nose. “Well here’s some advice: that soldier lying dead at your feet didn’t go and off your son. Some guy on the outside did who’s probably living a very cushy life right now. Take my advice. Go and fight the people outside of this hellhole, not the ones stuck in it.”
“You don’t understand.”
She would never understand, not Fayne with the wicked tongue that made grown men stumble over their feet. Not Fayne whose piecing gaze was the equivalent of staring down the barrel of a gun. Not Fayne who could reduce even the best soldier to blubbering incoherency; Not Fayne whom always refused to snuff the washed-out light in their eyes masquerading as souls. The safety in her eyes clicked off.
“I could drop you right now and leave you to rot with the rest of these goddamn worthless bodies littering the ground like parasites.” Fayne snarled the machine-gun tremor of her voice piercing holes into the cardboard cut-outs he wore as armour.
Impulse made him temporarily bold, temporarily reckless. It made him want to tug on the tenacious grip Fayne kept on her stash of explosives.
“Then why don’t you?”
“You’re impossible you know that? Freaking impossible.” Fayne grumbled the flicker imbedded within her saccharine eyes counting down the seconds before detonation.
Hamilton fingered the rain slicked toy in his left hand before gingerly offering his right. Fayne crossed her arms in exasperation, ignoring his efforts.
“The only truths we have are the lies we tell ourselves so that we can sleep well at night.” Hamilton probed lightly, testing her one last time.
“Shut up you pretentious jerk.”
She tugged him up and slung his arm over her too small shoulders.
“You’re a goddamn idiot you know that? Caught up in those senseless delusions of retribution you have.”
“I know and I’m sorry.”
Hamilton’s arm curled over her shoulders, effectively immobilizing them. He pressed the rusted remains of the soldier’s gun against her waist.
“No you’re not.” Fayne laughed bitterly.
He shot another round into her copper-tinged heart watching as the time bomb ticking down the iris of her eyes detonated.
“The only truth is reality.” He breathed into her sulfurous hair, scattering her delusions with the rain.
Hamilton lowered her by the graves her grandiose heels had unearthed. Cordially he tugged the stained satin of Fayne’s opera length gloves off her still warm fingers.
“I guess I finally found them.”
The stream of gaslight that spilled into their corner of the alleyway exposed the harsh glare of Fayne’s highly polished knives, the insignia of the military stamped on its hilt.
“Strange how I never noticed before now. Your name sounds exactly like feign. Feign as in to pretend,” Hamilton whispered a tinge of acrimony lacing the rawness of his voice. “I guess this world is full of nothing but liars.”
Hamilton tucked the elbow length knives into his leather boots leaving behind the one person who would be able to tell whether it was rain or tears carving out a single path down his worn face.