Shadows of Yesterday

 

PROLOGUE: YOU’VE GOT MAIL

 

The first thing he noticed upon stepping out of his apartment was that it was in fact, despite the assurances of the piece of crap he called a television, raining.

 

Again.

 

“Fuck! They said it was going ta be fuckin’ clear today—I thought they fuckin’ fixed da goddamn controls, finally! Fuck!”

 

Such was the tirade of curses currently pouring out of his mouth as he hurriedly retreated backwards into the relative safety of his home, to grab the umbrella sitting beside the door.

 

He looked at it with a forlorn expression, and it stared back unsympathetically. “Looks like it’s just you and me again, buddy.”

 

Moments later he was once again outside, this time with the umbrella held firmly above his head as he moved as fast as he dared down the slick sidewalk. He stared distantly at the upside down horizon, curving upwards in the distance.

 

“Fuck, I wish it wasn’t such a goddamn chore ta get da mail every day...would it be such a bother ta install mailboxes in front of da buildin’? I don’t know why I even bother anymore...not like I’ll get any mail...”

 

He refused to acknowledge the small part of his brain that was telling him that he did, indeed, know why he checked the mail every day. A small part of him still held the hope they they—that anyone—would remember his existence.

 

He snorted. “Yeah fuckin’ right. Like they’ll ever remember. I was just the fuckin’ annoyin’ one who happened ta fight beside them for—oh yeah, two fuckin’ wars! You’d think that’d deserve somethin’, hell, even an email askin’ “you doing okay?” would be welcome! Well, fuck them. I’ve got my own life, I don’t depend on them...”

 

Denialllll, his subconscious sang, before retreating with an undignified squeal as he backhanded it back into whatever abyss it came from.

 

He sped up as the post office finally came into view, the light at the end of long, dark, wet tunnel.

 

He burst into the building with all the grace of an elephant, shaking water like a dog as he did so. Looking behind him, he realized with a sense of resignation that he would have to wring out his hair.

 

Again.

 

The boy manning the desk looked up, and a teasing light came into his eyes. “Hey, I just washed those floors, ya bastard!”

 

He looked up, grinning as well as he shook off the umbrella. “Aww, fuck off Seth! You and I both know ya haven’t washed anythin’ in your entire life! ‘Sides, not like ya got anything else ta do all day!”

The other shook his head. “Still don’t know why I haven’t just kicked you ta the curb and told ya ta never come back...”

 

“Because you loovvveee meee,” he said in an exaggerated tone, spreading his arms as if to hug the other—even though he was still fifteen feet away. “And we both know that ya have the best post office this side of L2!”

 

“Oh yeah, that’s right...hey, wait! I’m da only post office this side of L2!”

 

He laughed good naturedly as he walked up to lean against the counter. “So, Seth, love of my life and keeper of my mail—has anythin’ changed from yesterday, or will we yet again part in da throes of heartache, pinin’ for what we cannot have, until tomorrow when we do this all again?”

 

The boy laughed. “Well, let’s see...considering how little mail actually comes through here...” he began to sort through the stack of envelopes sitting in front of him. “Martin...nope...Brayer...nope...Skinner...nope...Lafayette...nope...”

 

“Seth, ya know my fuckin’ name! Is it so hard ta look for—“

 

“Aha! Well, my braided friend, it appears this is your lucky day—” He switched to a robotic voice, reminiscent of an email program from the days before the colonies. “You’ve Got Mail!”

 

His head snapped up. “You’re fuckin’ kiddin’ me. I’ve actually got mail?”

 

Seth nodded, waving the envelope underneath his nose—he snatched it quickly.

 

“Looks important, too...”

 

He nodded distractedly, taking in the large brown envelope with the address in a neat little typed window, and a seal in the corner—a green hexagon with the letter P.

 

“Hey, thanks for this, Seth. See ya tomorrow, right?”

 

“Wha—aren’t ya gonna open it?”

 

“Like ya said, looks important. What if it blows up in my face ‘cause I open in front of ya, mailboy?”

 

“All right, all right, go! But ya better tell me what’s in it tomorrow, ya hear?”

 

“I hear, I hear!” he called back as he began to walk out. With a casual wave of his hand, he was gone, leaving Seth to laugh at the man he considered his friend—not knowing that it was the last time he would ever see him.

 

----

 

He walked down the street in deep contemplation—it had miraculously stopped raining—staring at the envelope in his hands as though it held all the answers to the universe.

 

“What da fuck do Preventers want with my scrawny ass?” he muttered, barely looking up as he unlocked the door to his apartment and closed it behind him. ‘Well, only one way ta find out...”

 

He tore the envelope open, yanking out what appeared to be an official looking letter—and a shuttle ticket.

 

Scanning the top of the letter, he let out a low whistle. “From the desk of...fuck, da Dragon Lady herself? Last I heard she still wanted my head on a stick and my entrails on a silver platter. Why’s she contactin’ me now...?”

 

He finally got to the actual letter. “Dear Mr...blah, de blah, de blah, pleasantries, c’mon bitch we both know ya hate me, get ta da fuckin’ point...hold it, what?”

 

His eyes backtracked, rereading the sentence that he was quite sure he’d read wrong. It was correct. “My own fuckin’...division? Black fuckin’ ops?”

 

‘Would like to discuss this offer with you in person, at your earliest possible convenience—this is a great opportunity, for both you and the Preventer’s organization...’

 

He looked down at the shuttle ticket in his hand, noting that it was blank—he set the date—and round trip. “Shit. First mail in fuckin’ months and its Dragon Lady come to screw with my head...”

 

But then he got around to actually considering what the letter said. It was, if nothing else...a very interesting offer.

 

Oh, understatement of the century, idiot, his subconscious supplied helpfully, back from the dark abyss—and quickly shoved back over the edge, screaming all the way.

 

“Hmm...why fuckin’ not? Da very least, I get a free trip ta Earth and back...nothin’ ta lose...right, where’s that phone number?”

 

It was as he was dialing the phone number, waiting for it to pick up, and listening to an annoying secretary telling him to “please hold,” that he looked out the only window in his apartment, towards the distant walls of the colony, imagining that he could see through them and space to the small green orb out in the middle of the blackness.

 

A slow smile spread across his face, violet eyes glowing with a dark light.

 

“Look out, Earthlings. Shinigami is comin’ home.”

 

----

 

One word for you—whim. Absolute goddamn whim. I’ve told you all countless times how these absolutely random ideas sink their claws into my brain and won’t. let. go!

 

Such is my life and writing. If I’m posting this, don’t expect frequent updates. Whim, I tell you, WHIM!

 

GAH, GET OFF ME YOU STUPID PLOT BUNNIES!

 

Technically I have nothing to disclaim yet, but still—don’t own anything you may or may not recognize. Except Seth. He’s mine, keep your grubby paws off. Well actually, I don’t particularly care if you take him—he needs another job besides mailboy, really.

 

Ciao.




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