PART FIVE

PART FIVE

-I love you but I've chosen darkness-

The smell is overpowering. He's been to crime scenes before; smelled the stink of the dead, smelled the blood and the rot. Smelled it all. The smells, like the crime scenes themselves, tend to run together.

Not this time however. Sweat, so much so that her clothes are still soaked through. Urine and a hint of feces, as tends to happen when a body suffers such a trauma that it loses control of itself. Blood, in its so familiar rusty tinge, something you can taste at the back of your throat as your eyes water just a little bit.

It's the smell of pain however, that gets to him. It is something he has only smelled one or two times before, but he recognises it immediately. The dozens of police don't notice it yet, it isn't something that one comes across often in a career, even in a world where unnatural death is so commonplace, but sometime later they'll realise, there was something different; an odd heaviness in the air, disturbingly sweet in the kind of way that returns in sleepless nights and an irrational fear of the dark. It permeates the clothing, clinging to the fibres as though it were smoke, discolouring it subtly and in a way that remains unnoticed, like a smear on the soul; a smudge that never fully disappears.

Slowly he scans the flat, right to left, right to left, his eyes move over the scene. It is massive, not in its size, but in its sheer butchery. He shakes his head slightly and tries to reconcile the scene laid out in front of him with the desperate, even vulnerable, woman who could've killed him but didn't only a few hours before. She hasn't done this, of that he's sure.

A shadow crosses the floor in front of him and he looks up.

"Who did this?" She's close to him when she asks her question, close enough that nobody else hears.

He hesitates, knowing she won't believe the lie he is about to tell. "I don't know." He answers.

She just stares, as though she can force the truth from him if she simply glares hard enough. "Who did this?" She asks again, something that sounds like pleading peppering her voice.

This time he doesn't bother to answer, simply clenching his jaw and shaking his head. He can see the emotion on her face. Her cheeks flush and her eyes burn fiercely with anger, with disappointment, with sadness at knowing he's chosen something…someone else over her.

"You need to leave this crime scene," she says softly, "right now. But Colin, we will talk later."

He holds her eyes for a split second, the wordlessly turns and walks away.

The shadows seem to need her, surrounding her as they do like clothing, tailoring themselves to the curves of her body, hugging her; caressing her; loving her.

There is a world that exists that is unseen, where the eyes of waking men fail to see the preternatural way of things. The shadows are part of this world, present but ignored except by those who look with dead eyes. Neither all evil nor all good, the voices living in the shadows speak to her. Of darkness and of light. Of things known and tings unknown. So desperate are they for someone to finally hear them that they almost overwhelm her.

She isn't safe here she knows. The others, the ones sent by The Circle, are close. They had been lying in wait for her when she killed last and, having interrupted the ritual and forced her to abandon her circle they have pursued her relentlessly through the bowls of the city.

Blood leaks, slow and endless, from her many wounds. Vicious gashes and lacerations, some minute, some torn deeply in her flesh by the weapons they carry with them. Weapons that have been blessed by dark magic. Weapons that can destroy her.

She shakes her head clear and allows the shadows to envelope her like arms, pulling her back to the sanctuary of the womb as she sees the first of her pursuers, the female member if The Circle she was meant to serve.

The woman is stalking slowly. Softly and like a wraith she glides over the ground. She makes no noise as she floats; her movements possess a dark and wicked grace.

A trap.

They're trying to draw her into an attack. The other, the male who is the second of her tormentors, isn't likely far behind his companion. They use her hatred of them, playing on her anger, her rage. Even with all her power she knows she can't stand against them. She has only one option.

Bleeding and alone she thinks of him.

Her blank, expressionless eyes follow the female as she moves on, unaware of her here, hidden in the silhouette of a great building.

He's taken to sitting in the dark more and more lately. Its something he's always done, it helps him think, the gentle dark offering him some comfort, some peace from the buzzing of the world. More and more now he uses it as an escape.

It's been more than a few hours since Sara kicked him out of her crime scene. Not a stupid woman, she knows when she's being lied to; knows he understands more than he's telling.

It isn't as though he wants to lie; to keep thing from her. He's never done it before. It's simply that he doesn't know what to say. She won't understand, won't see why he has to help the same woman who has killed, so very brutally, so many.

He knows what happened this morning won't be the end of it and so he's not at all surprised when he hears a faint knocking at his door.

For a moment he stays seated, bracing himself for the coming confrontation. He sighs and moves to the door, casting a glance at his watch. He chuckles bitterly at how long it's taken to process the crime scene. Nearly all day.

Outside the sun falls slowly from the greying London sky as it illuminates the city in an almost spiritual glow. The last gasp of a dying day.

Pausing, he takes a deep breath and opens the door. To say he's not prepared for the sight that greets him would be an understatement. Before it even registers in his mind, she's in his arms; the broken, blood caked form of the woman he now thinks of as Kelly falls forward, unable to support its own weight a moment longer.

"Jesus Christ!" He blurts out to no one in particular. He repeats himself over and over again as he pulls her inside, kicking the door shut as he does. Fleetingly he thinks it a miracle nobody saw her in the hallway, then a pained moan brings his attention back to her. It takes all his strength to drag her to the bathroom where he somehow manages to her into the tub, just in time to hear another hand at his front door.

He rushes into his room, grabs his pistol and slams in a full magazine. He doesn't know who he expects to see this time, but better to have some protection against whatever he meets.

Considering his thoughts and mood only minutes before, the irony of his relief at seeing Sara's face, however darkened by anger it may be, isn't lost on him.

Stunned briefly at his demeanour, she looks down, noticing the pistol in his hand. "How mad do you think I am?" She asks, only half joking.

"Get in here," he sputters as he pulls her inside, "you're not gonna believe this!"

Her world is water.

It covers, stifles, distorts. Enters through her mouth and pours out of her eyes. Invades every part of her.

She hears disbelief, even beneath the waves, but she isn't sure if it's real.

The water muffles voices.

Images, as though through a window during a storm.

Shapes in motion, gesture to her.

Consciousness is fleeting in water.

In, seeing the shapes, hearing the voices if not the words, then out again.

Breaking above the waves then sinking back under. Constantly she struggles towards the surface.

He's with her she thinks, but can't be sure. Some things she sees are in the past, she knows.

Kisses. Caresses. Love. None of them belong to her.

Doubt. Uncertainty. Hate. Those are hers.

Not hers alone, she thinks. Another here shares them.

Her head reaches the surface and for one passing moment, she is above the water.

Still, she can't here the words, though she is beaten down by the emotions behind them.

So heavy the burden they all carry. Different pieces of the same crumbling statue.

One more deep breath of consciousness before her strength leaves her and she's dragged once again beneath the dark cold of the water.

"I'm just saying I don't like the way you just accept that she is Kelly! You have no idea what the hell's going on, or why whoever she is, is even here! You can't go falling in love with her just because she looks like your dead fiancée!"

As soon as she says it, she wishes she didn't. The stunned look on his face is full of hurt. That's not what she wants. Not to hurt him, not to be attacking him like she is, but it's just gotten out of control. Their fights are always intense, always personal. They say hurtful things, they make each other face things neither wants to face. But this is different. She's angry with him and she doesn't completely know why. There's the Coven yes, but there's more as well. She's feeling ten different things at once. This…thing...lying in his bathtub is going to kill him, she knows that and it scares the hell out of her, but she also knows he's betrayed her.

She lets out a sigh. "I'm sorry."

"Why do you want so badly to believe she's not what I think she is?" He asks as he shakes his head.

"Why do you want so badly to believe she is?" She looks at him, waiting for an answer, knowing she isn't going to get one. "Why have you been lying to me?" She asks finally.

Once again he just looks at her blankly. "What do you want from me?" He says.

A laugh escapes her lips in spite of her anger. "You know…I care more about you than anyone else I know. I sear to God I think I know you better than anyone else. But now it's like you're someone completely different. I don't know what the hell's going on with you. I'm not even sure I care anymore."

"What the hell does that mean?" He asks, jolted out of his silence.

"It means I care about you. I hate seeing the things I've seen since I've known you. I know that my job shows me things that are horrible in their own right, but since I've known you…" She draws in a breath before continuing, unsure of exactly where she's going with this, "I don't like being scared to death that every time you go off on your own, you won't come back. I don't need that in my life, you know? It'd almost be easier to just walk away from it all."

"Then why don't you?" He asks angrily.

"Because I trusted you. Trusted, like in the past tense."

He's nodding slowly, trying to process what she's just said, when she turns to leave. "I love you," he says after her, "I'm not sure what's happening either, but I love you. Trust that."

She looks tired. He can see her face begin to fall apart. "I know you do Colin. I love you too, but that's just not enough."

He wants to say something, anything, to stop her from going, but he can't. Instead he just stands and watches wearily as she closes his door behind her.