I don’t know how long I stayed there for. I don’t know what I was doing, or waiting for, but I just needed to sit by him and cry. I thought about everything that died with him. Our son having a father, me having a husband, us giving Aspen the best childhood we possibly could. I lost growing old with the one that I love. I lost everything.
Someone had to pay for this. Pepper didn’t deserve to die like this. He was a great person, he deserved to live a long, happy life with me and our son. Someone had to pay for this, and I knew exactly who. This was all his fault.
I don’t remember exactly how I got there. The last thing I remembered was putting on a pair of pants, then the rest is blank due to rage. I’m not sure how I knew exactly where he lived, but as soon as I reached the house I knew I was exactly where I needed to be. There was garbage and scrap metal all over the dead lawn. The place was a dump, its exactly the kind of place you’d expect the scum of the earth to live.
“Hey Hemp, you motherfucker!” I burst through the front door faster than my mind could process what was happening. I instantly regretted it. This man was dangerous, he had raped the love of my life and murdered one of my closest friends. It was too late now though, so I was probably going to die here.
Jean and her little girlfriend were laying on one couch, watching TV. Hemp was passed out on the other couch, it looked like he’d been shooting up.
“What the fuck, Thorn.” Jean sat up and faced me.
“Shut the fuck up, Jean, this doesn’t involve you.” I snapped at my former friend. I still hated her for how she betrayed all of us.
“Don’t you fuckin talk to my wife that way.” That stupid woman next to Jean squealed. She had one of those annoyingly high, squeaky voices that just pierce your brain. It made me even angrier.
“Both of you, just shut the fuck up.” I yelled. Hemp started to stir.
“The fuck is going on?” He mumbled as he sat up.
“I’m here to fuck you up, that’s whats happening.” I came towards him. He immediately stood up.
“What the hell, Clementine? What are you doing here?” He sounded more confused than angry.
“I’m here to make you pay, you fucking asshole! You raped Pepper, you got him pregnant. He just fucking died while giving birth! This is all your fucking fault!” I screamed at him. Tears were streaming down my face. I shoved him hard in the chest. He stumbled backward a little bit, I caught him off guard.
“Fuck you, you liar.” He swung at me, but luckily my arms took the majority of the blow. “I never touched your little friend. There’s no way there’s a baby.”
“Oh yea? Then what do you think this is?” I shouted as I shoved my bloody hands in his face. “This is his blood. It got here when I was helping him deliver, you fucking idiot.”
“How do I know you’re not lying to me? How do I know you didn’t just murder her and now you’re trying to shove the blame on me?” He yelled back.
I punched him. As hard as I could. He struck a nerve with that. Misgendering Pepper, and accusing me of killing him, made me want to kill Hemp. I wanted to bash his face in.
He wasn’t expecting me to be so strong. He wasn’t expecting my punch to knock him off his feet.
I guess anger and grief really can give some people superpowers.
Before he could even realize he’d fallen over, I was on top of him. I grabbed him by the shirt and pulled his face close to mine.
“You’re a piece of shit. You are scum, garbage. You are nothing, and I hope you fucking die.” I spat in his face, before punching him again.
I was completely blinded with rage. I was taking all of my anger out on his face. Rightfully so though, he was the reason I was completely alone in this world. He’d taken everything from me, and I wanted to take everything from him. Even if that meant taking his life.
“Thorn, stop! Don’t kill him!” Jean’s voice snapped me out of it. I looked down at his face, which now just looked like a bloody mess.
The reality of what I’d done sunk in. My chest felt heavy and tight, and I felt like I was going to puke. I had beaten a man within inches of his life. He was breathing, though it was heavy and I could hear him gurgling on his blood. If they didn’t get him to a hospital soon, he’d probably die.
He deserved to die, but I wasn’t going to stick around and watch.
“Fuck you.” I spat on his body. “Rot in hell, you piece of shit.” I turned to Jean and her wife. “And fuck you too. This all happened because of you. We were there for you when you had no one, and now Rose and Pepper are dead. This is on you.”
Jean’s face dropped, her eyes started to water. “Fuck you.” She said softly.
“Fuck you too.” I told her.
I spun on my heel, and flew out of there as fast as my wings could carry me. I didn’t want to see any of their faces ever again.
And I never did.
The walk back to the house was long and terrifying. I took backstreets to avoid being seen, just in case they had called the police on me. I doubted it, considering all the drugs they had in that house. But still, I was extra cautious.
I had to drag my feet up the stairs. I didn’t want to go back up there, but I didn’t have a choice. Aspen was up there, I couldn’t leave him. I’d already left him alone for too long. Maybe I wasn’t cracked up to be a father.
I came up the stairs and collapsed into the armchair. I started to sob. How did my life get like this? How did I get here? I’d lost everyone I’d ever loved, I owned nothing, and I was homeless. All I had was me, and now this baby.
For a moment, I figured it would be easier to drop him at the hospital. Let him get adopted and have a good life. And me, well I’d just go jump off a cliff. I’d be better off anyway.
My suicidal thoughts were pushed aside when Aspen started to cry. That cry awoke something inside of me, it gave me hope. Maybe things weren’t so bad after all. I mean, this baby was half Pepper. I still had a little piece of him to hold close to me.
I gently picked him up off the bed. My fingers were still bloody, with both Pepper’s and now Hemp’s blood. I tried my best not to get my fingers on Aspen’s body. I didn’t want to get him sick or anything. My knowledge of babies was minimal, so this was going to be an adventure.
“Shh, it’s okay.” I pulled him close to my chest. He immediately stopped crying. My heart soared. I felt like he loved me. I loved him, and I wanted to give him the best life possible.
Which is why we had to get the hell out of there.
It took a few days to get to where I wanted to go. I’d been saving up some money to get something nice for Pepper and the baby when he was born, but I didn’t need that anymore. I used that money to get a subway pass. It was very useful, I had to take a million different trains to get from the valley to Bridgeport.
I picked Bridgeport because this town is where my grandmother ended up after leaving Sunset Valley. It was also the town she met my grandfather in, and maybe, just maybe, this is where my grandfather and my father were living now. Bridgeport is also a town known for its entertainment business, and I assumed I might be able to find a job and a place to stay here. It was worth a shot.
I was exhausted. I’d barely slept in days. I was more focused on making sure Aspen was fed and dry. I needed to rest for a while. Across from the subway station was a park. When I arrived in Sunset Valley, I ended up in a park. That was where I met Pepper. Out of nostalgia, heartbreak, and exhaustion, I decided to rest in the park, just like I did back then.
Gently, I put Aspen down on the bench. My arms were sore from holding him for days. I sat down next to him, put my face in my hands, and started to cry. I’d been crying on and off on the Subway, but only in little bits when I absolutely needed to. I hadn’t given myself a chance to actually cry.
It felt so good. It felt like all of my emotions were bottled up, and now I was pouring them out through my eyes. I still felt completely devastated and heartbroken, but at least I had a way to get those emotions out.
“Hey, are you alright? Do you need some help?” A voice pulled me from my sobbing. A voice that sounded so… familiar…
I looked up and my jaw dropped.
“Oh my god, Thorn?”