2044-06-02 Free

From X-Factor

2044-06-02 Free
Date Posted 2016/01/23
Location A warehouse. India.
Participants Rohan
Summary The continuing flashback adventures of Rohan in India.
Rohan never made the Bangladeshi border.

Instead he turned west again. He had his bike—at some point, in his prolonged convalescence, Theresa had it retrieved from the ditch and repaired. It was like her. She was so kind.


That was the operative word, was.

He skimmed along the road, as easy as a great bird gliding on a breeze. His knee still gave the odd twinge, but it was nearly healed, the bike hummed beneath him, the road was before him and the wind was in his hair. He was still alive, despite all odds, and he was free.

If the wind occasionally dashed tears from his eyes, he wasn’t telling.

It took him over a week to get to his target, an unremarkable warehouse among other unremarkable warehouses in an unremarkable town. He waited until night fell, and settled himself behind a crate in the yard as he poked through the minds of the nightwatchmen. They all now had urgent reasons to leave. (One of them had a sick child; how sad.) No worries, reinforcements were coming to relieve them.

Or so they vividly remembered.

In truth it was only Rohan himself, slipping into the warehouse they’d helpfully left unlocked (because they all remembered locking it), a sneaking shadow in the darkness, laden with gasoline cans.

He paused long enough to break upon a crate and verify it contained what he thought—bag upon bag of white powder. He knew what that looked like. He knew what it smelt like, what it tasted like. He knew from those more innocent days, in another lifetime long ago, when Ricky had first talked him down a dark and twisting path.

He thought of a young girl, a teenager still, whose name he never learnt, convulsing and dying, slowly, in a pool of her own vomit, in a dirty bedsit in an English town. He tasted bile at the back of this throat, bitter sharp.

Too many memories. He brushed them away as he splashed gasoline around the entirety of the warehouse, over and around all the crates of drugs. Millions of rupees’ worth there, no doubt. Millions of pounds.

He was just one washed-up ex-merc with a bum knee, a lonely figure in the sweep of history and the scope of the world, but he could do this. This for the girl who overdosed, so long ago, this for Ricky and Theresa and his beautiful Sky, whom they’d threatened. This for all the addicts and the overdoses, and the would-be addicts, and their families, and all the death and misery contained in that white powder. This even for the murderous thugs, who—like him—might have been something else once, and for the nightwatchman with the sick child.

Just before he lit the match, he hesitated. He took a deep breath and closed his eyes, feeling around him for any hint of another mind, the presence of another human.

He didn’t want to kill anyone.

He was so sick of death.

So fucking sick.

He didn’t want to kill anyone—except Lincoln. Lincoln, that smooth-talking southern bastard, all charm and smiles and poisonous pushing. Someday he’d find him and wrap his hands around his throat and just…squeeze—

Until Lincoln couldn’t hurt anyone ever again.

Rohan flicked the match over his shoulder, into a pool of gasoline. it caught, with a greedy gasp of oxygen and a hiss of flame.

He strolled out of the warehouse, at as casual a saunter as if he was going for a walk in the countryside. This town was too big. A faint haze obscured the stars.

The warehouse exploded behind him, flames shooting up to the sky, breathing smoke and poisonous fumes, the searing force of the explosion buffeting his back.

Rohan never looked back.

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