wormwood, pt. 24

Nicole slept easily, but Rosalind found herself staring at the broken skyline and listening to the sounds of the city as it tore itself to bits. Eventually the sirens and the gunshots seemed to die out into a fitful silence, only broken by the occasional sigh of the wind. There was no traffic noise. Her phone rang once, but she only barely registered that it was hers, and ignored it.

Eventually she fell asleep against the windowpane. She awoke some hours later when the position had become too uncomfortable to bear. The morning did not bring any new light, but the eastern sky had turned a bloody shade of red--the sort that illuminated nothing, and not just the red glow of the fires.

She waked Nicole after several minutes of hesitation, and showed her the sky. "I think," she said after a while, "we might be in trouble."


"The city's quiet now, though. No more sirens, no more shooting. I don't know if that means that they won or gave up." She paused. "Or if there's a difference between the two."

"So what do you want to do?"

"I wish I knew. Stay here, I guess."

Rosalind sat down, her back to the window, and stared into the dark of the shop. Nicole settled in next to her. After a while, she said, "I don't like when you don't know what to do."

"Me neither." She smiled wryly. "Guess I'd better think of something."

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