Man, sometimes I wish I wouldn’t wake up.
It’s not that I’m suicidal—that’s Corvun—god, I just wish I could sleep longer. Every time I wake up in my room, I remember I hate my life. I can’t muster the energy to clean my clothes off the floor. Orion usually does a laundry round every couple of days and takes everything from my room. That’s how the scarf mishap happened that once—Orion didn’t realize it’d bleed all over everything. All our whites ended up pink. That was the last time my Dad’s scarf got washed.
I stare at the floor off the right side of my bed. Black. Black shirts. Black pants. Black boxers. Gloves. Everything is black. I hate it. Even the knives, pocket knives and throwing knives, are black. Black fucking steel. I have to get something else, a different color.
And right on schedule, I think of Ophiah. She’s the kind of color I want here—bronze and rose and gold and red. God, you’d think she was actually an angel. Not like how she obviously is. Terrible analogy. But you’d think she’d just poofed right on to Earth, the way she walks and tosses her hair over her shoulder. I don’t even think she knows it.
The dorm is suspiciously quiet, which makes me think it’s early (or late). I check my phone. The brightness blinds me, and I squint at the picture of my wallpaper—a sunrise I watched out Ophiah’s bedroom window. 9:04 PM. Late by our standards. We’re all usually up by 5:30 PM, the new miserable. It makes 5:30 AM look good. Being nocturnal sucks ass.
I roll out of bed and opt for sweats so I don’t get an earful if Vena’s up. Forget the shirt. Today’s not the day. Today’s one of those days. A day off with nothing to do but hate the scraps we eat, the shithole we live in, and my own guts.
The floor is dry under my feet, sandy and smooth. I stand and sulk through the dorm (luckily, empty) and down the hall to the bathroom. I feel like this was the short straw. I definitely could’ve done something great with my life if I hadn’t thrown it away. At least, that’s what I tell myself.
I signed my life away for Corvun. That I don’t regret. I don’t blame him either. It wasn’t his fault he got roped into this mess, and it isn’t his fault I’m here. I just wish it was something else. Anything else would be better.
How do you tell your friends that? Just walk up and be like, “Hey, I hate this.” Well, duh. Luckily, ever since coming into our power as the Horsemen, I’ve been able to shut this shit-storm train of thought out of the Nexus. It didn’t start right away. For a while it was fine. When we were getting settled as a team, it was fine. There was purpose. There still is, but I guess this is the three-year itch equivalent of the assassin life.
Every now and then I consider I’d just be happier to live a normal-ass life with Ophiah, get some dead-end office job and a run down car and just live. I’m so fucking jealous of that.
But I guess people like me don’t get that.
Ophiah doesn’t get that either, as much as I think she does.
We hear things.
We see demons.
We are demons, in our own ways.
I open the door to the bathroom and flick the light on. It whizzes above me in stale, white-blue. The community shower smells like bleach and standing water, like stone and steel. Just another thing to hate. At least it’s empty.
Vena’s shower curtain stares back from the end of the stalls.
Just a reminder.
You’re not evil.
God, but sometimes it feels like I am. I’m not like that evil though. I remember the first time we all had to shower together. I’d put her a curtain up beforehand because—I think Corvun and I both—had been dreading that moment for a whole week. We had to shower with a girl. A girl as good as our sister. Talk about awkward. Holy fuck.
But that’s just it isn’t it. We have morals—human decency—and then we have this side of us that’s killer. That’s really, really evil.
I stare in the mirror.
Mars stares back.
Not an easy thing to get used to. I don’t think the others have it. I’ve never told them. But god, I hate mirrors.
Mars looks like me, older. He’s skinnier, in the face, hollows in the cheeks. And Dad’s scarf—he wears it as a blindfold. Corvun always says they (the Horsemen) are our future selves. So I don’t even want to know what happened to get me there.
The faucet hisses on, and I splash my face with cold water. Again. Again.
I look up.
A smirk from Mars.
I hold the water on my face. Hold my breath. Rub my eyes.
I don’t think we’re good. Whatever we turn out to be—it’s not good. We’re not good people now. We’re not good people then. I’ll never understand how Corvun thinks we’re aligned with Heaven’s Army. Why would God create a monster like that? Why would he have anything like us on an army that fights for good?
Sometimes I wonder.
The dream I have. I’m always with Ophiah in a garden. I see her, naked. Not in a sexual way, just not dressed. She’s walking around, and I’m following her. And I’m not a fucking idiot. I know enough of the Bible to know exactly what that looks like. It looks like I’m the villain. Like I’m the Devil. The serpent in the garden. Real fucking poetic.
But that can’t be.
I wipe the water off my face.
Look back in the mirror.
My reflection stares back.
Eyes rubbed red.
Bags, early worry lines.
God, I hate myself.
The door swings open, and I turn away. I’m self-conscious enough for two there; the others mention it enough. They ask if it’s allergies, if they can get me medication, if my eyes are red because I’m not sleeping enough. But it’s this: It’s staring in the mirror and seeing Mars or myself. I don’t know which one is worse.