Epilogue One: The Hunter
Elijah was looking at the sky. He was on the phone with one of the officers on call, but he wasn’t listening. From where he was standing in the street, he could see a fire so bright that the sky was turning orange. An entire building was on fire. Fire trucks and police cars sped by in the crowded streets. People had to stop to let them through. Others stopped what they were doing to see the fire.
It engulfed the building, and if it wasn’t controlled, it will spread to the other tall buildings, and then it would burn the city down.
Burn the city down.
That’s what the plan was, right?
Elijah was amazed that a fire could become this wild especially in a place like this. He could faintly hear his name from his phone but he continued to stare at the fire. There were helicopters in the sky, he could still hear the sirens, ambulances were rushing by with more police cars behind.
He would have to work tonight.
He knew the casualty would be immense.
There was no doubt about it.
Once the fire died down, after hours of officials trying to put it out, police and medics were allowed on the scene. It would be days before all the bodies would be discovered. A few people made it out before the fire erupted into huge flames, but most everyone was trapped inside. In a matter of days when people are reported missing, they will learn that they were trapped in the fire. The building was completely destroyed, neighboring buildings having damage as well.
Every time Elijah blinked, all he could see was the raging fire.
It was vengeful. It had rage. It was angry.
A fire so bright that it could burn the world down.
Smoke clouded the dark sky, the street lights only making the fog worse. There was shouting and screaming from the people around. Videos were being taken, others were trying to get closer. Elijah was just walking towards the disaster as if he should be there.
He should be helping.
He should be doing something.
“What started this?” Elijah asked an officer, holding out his badge, as he pushed passed people; other police officers began blocking the crowd back from the scene.
“A shit ton of gasoline. Mixed with the boilers in the basement. A person lights a match over all that, there’s a bomb for you.” the officer said.
A terrorist attack, the worst the city has ever seen.
Who would do this?
The body count continued to increase as the surviving people listed all the others that didn’t make it out. Mostly employees remained trapped, then there were the other civilians that had business to take care of that were stuck.
“It’s like the devil wanted to say hello to everyone.” The officer said bleakly as they both stopped in front of the pile of rubble.
Elijah looked at the damaged building, or at least what was left of it.
He could still see the flames in his mind. The person who did this was surrounded by fire, like they were being burned by it but didn’t feel the pain. It wasn’t the devil, it was his hellhound. Elijah was just amazed by the damage.
He hasn’t seen this before.
A few other investigators came over to Elijah to talk to him. They clearly thought he didn’t need to be here.
“Terrorist attack?” One of them asked.
Elijah didn’t know what to say. He didn’t know how he was going to explain how this wasn’t a terrorist attack, or at least what they’ve experienced as terrorism. This was...this was more than that. This was worse. Whoever did this had enough anger to account for the world. Elijah opened his mouth to talk but all that came out was air.
He didn’t feel vengeance here. It was like all these other victims got caught up in something that shouldn’t have happened. But it’s not easy to tell their loved ones that they should’ve stayed home. Elijah didn’t feel hatred here, it was like...an apologetic demise like it had to be done.
But he couldn’t explain it.
So he didn’t try to.
There was so much going through his mind.
As the others got closer to the scene, they had to cover their face from the smoke and ash. Elijah wasn’t sure if he wanted to get any closer. Most of the first-responders were trying to get as many bodies out from under the rubble as possible to get them identified.
A lot of people were burned to death. Their skin was eaten away by the fire. All that was left was basically a burnt scar of their flesh. It would take the medical examiners days to identify them.
Then there were those people that weren’t burned as much, that could be identified at a seconds glance.
Bodies were being lined up through the evening so others could find them and identify them. People were shouting and crying and screaming as they found out someone they knew was killed in a horrible fire.
Elijah kept walking the disaster scene. There were more bodies under the ruble; a group of bodies were near each other under a large rock that didn’t shatter in the fire.
The face on one wasn’t burned too badly. Well, it was enough for him to recognize who this person was. He bit the inside of his lip as he looked up at the sky, fighting the urge to scream with frustration.
Other first-responders got in Elijah’s way, uncovering the bodies he was staring at and bringing them to where people could see and identify them. Elijah couldn’t breathe, not because of the smoke, but because there were so many casualties. He watched as the officials worked.
Time was rushing past him.
He couldn’t control anything.
Just like everyone else, Elijah was restricted to being behind the tape. He shouldn’t have been walking around where the building crumbled. Bright lights from the streets kept everything visible. The bodies that were already identified were taken. The others, the ones that were too burned to be identified just from looking, and the others that were unclaimed, they were laying out in the street.
Elijah was standing in front of one of them. He hadn’t moved for about thirty minutes. No one came to stop him or asked him what was wrong. He just stared at the body and thought about how all this was his fault.
He’s been making wrong steps lately.
This was another outcome.
“...sir...Sir?” One of the officials was standing next to Elijah. He hadn’t known the man was there. “Do you know who this is?” he asked Elijah.
Elijah’s mouth felt a little dry. His hands were clammy in his pockets. He was pale. He hadn’t realized he was asked a question. It took a second for him to get himself. When he did, he lifted his hand to wipe his face.
He wanted to hope that he was wrong, that what he thought about this was wrong. He was holding on so tight on to that hope that he couldn’t let go.
Elijah didn’t answer the question.
He turned to leave.
For the next fifteen hours, all he heard about was the “terrorist” attack, how groups were claiming they did it though he knows they didn’t. Everyone was saying that it had to have been a statement. Elijah thought otherwise. He didn’t want to refute the idea though he knew he should.
A few days had gone by and still the only thing talked about was the fire, the groups taking credit for it, and how political the situation has gotten.
Elijah couldn’t even stomach the situation because he knew.
A few of the bodies hadn’t been identified even after a few days. Family members and friends did their best, and hopefully they got the correct bodies, but there were still a few left. Elijah had to see the bodies that weren’t identified. He thought he recognized one, and he wanted to know if they found out yet. He wasn’t the only one to check.
“...Elijah...” May walked over to Elijah when she saw him walk in. He looked tired, like he hadn’t slept.
And he didn’t.
The medical examiners were standing in front of the body, wondering if Elijah was ready to see or if it was better to keep him from knowing.
It’s been a few days, and he had to know.
“Who is it?” Elijah asked, though he already knew.
“It’s...Harley.” Natasha said.
He knew that but it wouldn’t sink in. Being told by examiners that it was her changed everything. This was a fact. It was her.
Elijah left abruptly without saying a word. He had someone to talk to and he needed answers.
There was no reason for her to die. There was no reason for anyone to die. It wasn’t fair.
Was this supposed to be a warning? A threat?
Whatever it was, Elijah was walking right into it.
Elijah knocked on the door abruptly. He didn’t think he had to be nice anymore. In fact, he was going to be as brutal as he should be. This was a war, and he planned on winning it. Whether it was fair or not was up to the other side.
Sorrel opened the door, but he immediately rolled his eyes when he saw Elijah.
“What?” he hissed.
“Where’s Morgan?” Elijah asked.
He didn’t think Elijah knew the truth, at least not this quickly. And what better way for Elijah to showcase that he wasn’t in the dark anymore than by explicitly asking for Morgan?
Sorrel narrowed his eyes. He didn’t have his contacts in, so one was a dark green and the other was hazel. Even his hair was dyed a different color too. He switched to auburn and got it cut so it was shorter and less messy. He stared Elijah in the eyes, his lip curling with disdain.
“He’s grieving.” he answered through his teeth.
Morgan knew about the death of his friend. He should know.
“Jaymin, right?” Elijah asked. “Jaymin Rose-”
That was not the best thing to do, considering how Elijah being here provoked him enough.
“I will only give you one chance.” he stepped out just to threaten Elijah. He had to be clear about how things were going to happen. “I know for a fact you will come after Morgan.” Jaymin wasn’t stupid. “Don’t fucking try me, motherfucker. I ain’t as sympathetic as he is.” He warned Elijah.
“You’re really threatening me?” Elijah asked.
“You know I make good on my threats.” He really did. Jaymin didn’t think he had to stand his ground this much. Elijah wasn’t shaking with fear.
He wasn’t even the least bit scared. He knew Jaymin wasn’t all talk, but he thought he could take him.
“If I think you’re gonna do something you shouldn’t, I will hunt you down and I will fucking kill you.” Jaymin kept his glare as he looked right into Elijah’s eyes. He was face to face with him. He was intimidating enough but up close was different. “Nothing will make me more excited than to feel your blood all over me as I defile your dead body.” he whispered to him. “Leave Morgan alone.” he warned before going back inside.
Jaymin shut the door and walked the apartment to his room.
He said that Morgan was grieving. Apparently he does it in his own way.
It’s been a few days since the fire, but Morgan still had a wild look in his eyes like he wanted to do it again. Usually it takes a few hours for him to come down from his high but it’s been days.
Jaymin had him tied up. It wasn’t easy to get Morgan pinned down but he finally did it. His arms were tied behind his back, his wrists bound together. In his mouth was a bandanna that was tied at the back of his head. Jaymin didn’t think Morgan needed anything extreme. Right now he was laying in bed quietly, breathing deeply as his bare chest rose and fell with the motion of his lungs.
He needed to be set free. He needed to go out again. The adrenaline was still pumping though it’s been a few days.
For once, Jaymin needed him to calm down.
“I still can’t believe you tried to fight me.” Jaymin said as he sat down on the bed.
Morgan was never much for being tied down. And when Jaymin tried, he had to fight very hard. Morgan actually head-butted him but it wasn’t enough to get Jaymin away from him.
If only he had fought harder.
Morgan didn’t dare respond.
“Are you still mad?” Jaymin asked, running his hands through Morgan’s hair slowly.
Morgan just glared up towards him.
“As much as I would love to let you loose, I can’t do that.” Jaymin said. “You killed so many people, and I’m proud of you for it, but we have to lay low for a while since your friend knows everything.” He said, not too happy about it.
Morgan knew why Elijah knew everything. If she hadn’t came, she’d still be alive. The building wouldn’t have burned. Morgan wouldn’t have killed her. He wouldn’t have killed all those people. It was either let the guilt eat at him or stay mad to hide the pain.
He didn’t think the fire would get so big. He didn’t think he would be able to feel the heat from where he was standing but he did. He almost wanted to feel himself burn with all those people. Just for one person, Morgan committed a heinous crime. It was more than one person he killed. He murdered dozens.
He’ll kill dozens more.
If he stayed angry, then he wouldn’t feel guilty, he won’t crack.
But eventually, he had to let go. Eventually, he would lose the strength to stay mad.
He may have been power hungry before, but now he felt regret.
And as much as Jaymin really wanted to break Morgan, he knew this was as far as he could go.
Morgan was grieving the death of his friend, and now it could be seen. He was heart broken and confused and scared. He closed his eyes but all he could see was Harley’s face.
They only saw each other for a few seconds before he dropped the match. He wondered what she thought of him right before she burned to death.
He lost his friend. He told himself he would leave her alone, and this is what happens. He didn’t care that she was a threat, at least after the fact now that she’s dead, if he could he would’ve tried to stop himself.
Jaymin sighed as he watched Morgan have his quiet mental break down. Morgan was so easy to manipulate emotionally. They need to fix that. But for now, Jaymin thought he needed to give Morgan space.
This was the first time he actually showed respect for him in such a way.
After everything Morgan has done, he deserved it.
Jaymin untied Morgan’s hands, undoing the knot and loosening the rope so it would fall on the bed. Morgan moved his hands down so he could sit up as Jaymin removed the bandana that was tied around his face.
Morgan kept his gaze down, his eyes no longer vengeful and angry. The fire was gone. All that could be seen was despair.
Jaymin couldn’t use him like that. It was no fun when Morgan was like that. But for once he understood what Morgan was going through.
What he did was to protect himself and Jaymin. He fought the urge to be sympathetic that night. He became an actual monster, all to keep everything from being jeopardized. The hell hound didn’t have his leash.
Now it was rushing to him. He killed more than just one person. He couldn’t see past his rage, and he killed so many people. It was much worse than last time.
“I’m sorry.” Jaymin said.
Of course he didn’t mean it, but he made it sound like he did because that’s what Morgan needed to hear. He wasn’t sorry that Harley was gone, but he was sorry that Morgan could only enjoy the feeling for a few days before crumbling.
Morgan was realizing what his life was like yet again, but this time it almost brought him to tears. His eyes filled with water but it didn’t spill down his face. He looked at Jaymin and wanted to say something but all he did was close his mouth instead.
One day, Jaymin knew that Morgan would forget about her.
“I...liked watching her burn.” Morgan was in denial. It was to the point that he didn’t believe anything was real anymore.
Everything wasn’t real to him.
He remembered seeing her face when she turned around. She just wanted to know if she was imagining things when she heard her name called. It had been months since they’ve seen each other. It was a shame he had to end it for her. The pain in his chest grew that evening when he dropped the match at his feet, the flames erupting from the floor.
But when she caught fire, Morgan couldn’t help it. He remembered smiling.
How did he turn out this way? It took a while, but how did he become the way that he is now?
He looked at Jaymin again. Morgan has never been so hopeless. He looked like he wanted to give everything up. “What did you do to me?”
He was ruined. He kept asking himself if he would do it all over again, and every time the answer was yes.
What Jaymin needed was for Morgan to get over it. Feeling sympathy and guilt ruins people. Feeling anything ruins people. Jaymin learned that the hard way.
His hand moved to Morgan’s cheek and in his hair. His fingers didn’t grip chunks of Morgan’s hair like he wanted to. He looked Morgan in his eyes, just thinking about what it would be like to show a little empathy, but even for Morgan it was hard to do.
“You’ll get over it.” Jaymin said quietly, his hand moving through Morgan’s hair.
They both knew he would get over it. It’s just that now, the pain didn’t want to go away. If Morgan didn’t find anything to mask what he was feeling, he would definitely begin to give up. His anxiety was swallowing him up. The only way to forget everything was to become heartless.
The only way he’ll make it through is if he tells himself that none of it matters. If he stays angry, the pain will go away. He won’t need to grieve. He won’t care.
He wants to not care.
When he blinked, his tears spilled but he just wiped them away with his hand. Morgan decided it was best if he was alone for a while. He got out of bed quietly and left the room, not saying anything and not planning to do anything for the next few days.
He was going to self destruct.