wormwood, pt. 17

All the nightmares came today, and it looks as though they're here to stay.

Rosalind woke first, sore from the shop floor. She listened for a moment, then woke Nicole. "Rain's stopped. Looks like it's still dark, too." Nicole stretched and walked to the chained-off storefront, and stood there motionless for a long time. Eventually Rose said, "You all right?"

"Rose, you might want to come look at this."

The skyline was entirely on fire now. Some of the buildings were gone, and others were engulfed in flames. The sky was black with smoke or clouds, glowing a dull red in the light of the flames. Some of the buildings were barely burning anymore, but they weren't shaped right. There were bits missing, or twisted parts, creaking and listing ominously. As they watched, one of them crumbled with a dull roar they could barely hear.

Rosalind took Nicole by the hand. "I wish I knew what to--"

Nicole pulled her close and kissed her for a long time. Then she said, "We need to get the fuck out of here. Back to my car. I will personally beat the shit out of anyone who tries to keep us from leaving this city."

"What about--"

"And I will fucking kill you if you try to run off without me again."

Rosalind smiled and squeezed her hand. "I'm here."

"You'd better be. We're going now." Nicole stuffed her still slightly-wet clothes into her bag and slung it across her back.

Rosalind stood at the entrance for a few moments longer. She could hear sirens now, a distant wailing in all directions. A police car raced past as she watched, headed south along the street. Eventually she turned away. "Finally some sirens, at least."

"It's a bit late for that."

"I guess so." Rosalind smirked and sent Winston a text message: "City is also on fire. See you in hell?"

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