I returned to the House a couple of days ago. Not for long. I think we’ve all got used to the fact that I don’t call it a Home anymore. But I dropped in.
The corridors feel empty now. They always used to be empty, but now there’s this sense of emptiness about them. Abandonment. Like people haven’t been living there for a long time.
Makes sense. We haven’t been truly living for a long time. We have been surviving in fear, pushing on through despair. Struggling for simple subsistence, not through lack of means to survive; food, water, shelter… but all the odds being stacked against us.
Is that living?
I had an agenda for going back to the House. Homeowner notwithstanding…there were still two people there who had been clinging to life with me. I needed to see them. It’s getting to the stage when one can see that we might not be clinging for much longer.
I knocked on the door to Todd’s room and waited for a response. Which I did not receive. So I walked in, to see him sitting on his bed. Not much else. Just…there.
”Cat got your tongue?” I asked innocuously, sitting down near the door and pulling my knees into my chin. His head shook. Not really the response I was going for.
”So it’s not a cat.”
”Then what is it?”
He looked up, though still avoiding eye contact. “Why do the ones we love go, but the ones we can’t stand, stay?”
”I thought you and Sam were good friends!”
“Well, I don’t…” He looked troubled. More than usual for our situation. “By the way things are going, she’ll be next.” He started to look more with it after my silence. “God, I didn’t mean it like that, It’s just…just…”
”Don’t worry, mate. I loved Amanda, August and Lorelei too.”
I didn’t really trust myself to say any more.
”Well, to be honest…in a way, I don’t mind that they’re gone.” Todd rested his face in his hands. “No, no, no, I didn’t mean that…I just…God, I’m such a fuckup. I just mean…I’d be able to mourn like a normal person if it wasn’t for them.”
”I understand. I’d have troubles living with Grosvenor, too.” I paused for a moment and tried to pull off a grin. “I did have troubles living with Grosvenor, now you mention it. Didn’t he try to kill me that one time?”
”I’m sure. But he likes you. Admires you. And I know it shouldn’t matter, but that kind of makes me hate you.” He looked up at the ceiling, his expression implacable. “And I know I really shouldn’t be making enemies at this point.”
”It takes a lot more than someone not liking me to make an enemy out of me at this point. God knows I shouldn’t be making enemies right now, either.” Well, seeing as we’re being brutally honest here…”I’ve got to admit, I never much liked you either. You seem to be a lovely person, but I don’t like people who aim to murder me as a general rule.”
”See, and if I didn’t have this little…tumor, we’d be just fine. Why does he stay, but August, Lori and Amanda…” I could see this was hard for him, his voice broke a little. “I get it. Life’s not fair. Things get taken away. But…why not just a few more?”
”Well, I’m aiming to take away a certain red-headed thing from this world sometime in the not too distant future. It might ease your suffering a little; I know it’ll ease mine.”
”…Well, I hope it will ease mine.” I admitted.
”Thanks for the help, but I think there’s only one real way to help me.” He said sardonically, though his emotion dropped and he just seemed…like nothing was there. “Only one real way now.”
”And what way is that?”
His eyes finally locked with mine. “You don’t have to worry about that. It’ll be clean. You won’t be there when it happens. You are leaving soon, yes?”
“We can’t help get…rid of them, can we?” I asked, looking away.
”You could kill me.” He laughs humourlessly.
”I could.” I bit my lip. “But I won’t. If you go, it’s just Sam and Spencer left. And Spence is only here in a relative term.”
Todd stopped laughing at that. “Yeah, don’t kill me…but take out Spencer if you can. I’m sure you can get past the whole black evil blood, superhuman thing.”
I couldn’t help but smile. “Don’t remind me. Don’t suppose Grov could stand to lend a hand?”
”Spencer’s the one who let Grosvenor live. Grov owes him something. I think that’s the part I hate the most.”
"...Pity." I slumped back against the wall a little. "It would've been nice to have company. I'm quickly realising it's running out. We may not be too fond of each other, but we're still people, you and I. People who've been on opposite sides, to be sure, but our disagreements are nothing compared to the reality of Writer and Teller's little comedic duo."
”I guess.” He smiled a little. “Steele, I’m actually kind of disappointed we never really got to know each other that well. As cheesy as that sounds.”
”Me too. I wish we’d been on the same side for longer.”
”Hard when you’ve got condensed human evil in your head.”
”Todd, if you’re evil, I shudder to think of what Spencer has become.”
”When I leave the House, you are free to do what you need to do. If you can’t live with them…I understand. But there’s a real enemy here, someone who is a danger to us. And it’s not you.” I stood. “You’re one of the good guys.”
”Am I?” He asked with surprising intensity. "Do you know what I did before I came to this House? Do you know what I've done? I get that the line defining 'good' and 'evil' is a little hazy, but I think I've crossed it before. It's just a matter of... does it count? Does it count because it was just my body doing it? Not me?" He looks up. "Whatever, it's not like you know. Or care, probably. You should get going."
”I know more than you care to realise.” I said shortly, standing at the door. “I hope to see you when I return…but I know as well as you do that that’s not an inevitability anymore.”
I opened the door, and walked into the corridor.
”What?” I looked back.
”…Grov knows you, but he doesn’t know…about you.”
”I mean…Grov’s a little…closed-minded.”
I blinked. “I don’t follow.”
”He’s a little…Westboro-y.” He smiled wanely, a smile which I returned.
”Oh. Sorry, Grov; I like dudes. Hope this doesn’t get in the way of our beautiful relationship.” I paused, grinning genuinely for the first time in a while. “For what it counts, Grovvy, you’re kind of cute. In an alpha-male kind of way. Pity we couldn’t have got to know each other.”
Todd laughed loudly. “I don’t think he heard that, but I’ll be sure to tell him. And then I’ll tell him again. And again. And again.”
”I think he deserves that.”
”Oh, he deserves so much more. Seeya, Steele.”
Was I wrong? Should I have told someone about this?
Maybe someone could’ve talked him out of it.
Our numbers are dwindling. In fact, I’d say they have positively dwindled.
I’ll keep clinging to this excuse for a life. Because that is who I am.
But there are fates worse than death.