“So...we can't kill him?”
“Not according to her.”
I was downing a couple shots that night, on a right old bender. It was about a week or so after the interview, I had finally gotten around to letting Wren listen to them. Mary had gone out for supplies, so it was just us.
“I can't buy that.” Wren had been pacing back and forth. I remember he had been looking really sick since we had come up to Vermont. He was paler than normal, and those bags under his eyes were growing. A lot of his playfulness had been disappearing as of late; he was edgier, jumping at small noises, and always pacing. “No, there's gotta be something-”
“Well, there isn't. She was very insistent on that.”
“So, what, we give up? After everything it took to get us this far?”
“Look, I'm really tired. Can you leave it be?”
That stopped his pacing. “Oh, sorry, old man. Want me to tuck you into bed? Get you soup? Maybe turn your Golden Girls on-”
“Listen.” I stood up. “The past year, I have been shot at, hunted, lied to, and every good thing I had, every viable lead, shot down. I almost died in the middle of some basement in Nowhereland. Since February, I have been up to my neck in religious zealot supernatural bullshit. I'm physically and mentally exhausted, Wren, and I'm ready to just kick back and welcome the fucking apocalypse. I'm done.”
I downed another shot, hoping that was the end of it. Naturally, it wasn't.
“Well then,” and there was a definite shift in tone as he spoke; darker, venomous almost. “Well then, well then. So this is how the journey ends. When the great Zeke Strahm gives up, we are all well and truly fucked, aren't we?”
“Oh, just shut up, you asshole.”
“Never can finish what he started-”
“Oh, what, like you? Like with Keaton? We said we'd take care of that civilly, and I seem to recall, you were the one who broke his toes!”
“I got what we needed to know!”
“You didn't get us anything!”
“Well, I did a hell of a lot more than you would've done! I'm noticing that I'm pretty much the guy who does all your dirty work for you. Find Mary, deal with Keaton, keep the little raccoon safe in Maryland. I do everything for you, everything-”
“Yeah? And the Walden building, was that my benefit? Twenty-three people, nine of them officers, almost getting me killed, was that my benefit?”
And right around then was when he decided that was “too much” to say, apparently, because next thing I knew I was laying on the ground with my jaw feeling like it was on fire and my head feeling like it was going through the Fourth of July fireworks. He stood over me, and he had this wild, angry look in his eyes. I had never seen him look like that before.
“I'm not dying because of him, you understand me? He ain't getting me!”
That was the last thing he said to me. As soon as it was out of his mouth, he threw a kick at me that thankfully missed my head by an inch, and then stormed out, slamming the door shut behind him.
That was weeks ago. I haven't heard from him since. Honestly, I'm done caring at this point.