August 4th, 2004

Mask

Heat

Auroras' cheeks were red from the viper wind, and the vicious snow had caught on her long lashes. The plastic bag she was carrying had ripped, and she was holding the remnants in her arms along with the silver packets of food the bag once contained.
She slipped inside the apartment and into the tiny kitchen. Dumping the food on the makeshift table, she ran her cold, raw fingers under warm water until she could feel them again.





“You’re back early.”
Savler was standing in the doorway to the kitchen, arms and legs crossed, fully dressed in gloves, scarf and coat. She glanced at him, watching his breath crystallize in the cold air.
“I guess the heats still off.” Savler shrugged.
“Corbett talked to the owner, seems the heat works, you just don’t get it without a bribe.” He looked at the packets on the table. “Dorean finally piss you off enough?”
“Shut up.” Aurora turned to the sink and leaned her hands against the stainless steel.
“Are you okay?” Savler put his hands on her shoulders. Aurora violently shrugged him off and grabbed the silver packets, carefully stacking them back in the broken lock box.
“I’m fine.”
“It’s obvious you’re not fine. Please, Aurora, what’s going on?” Aurora bit her lip so hard that she was sure it would bleed, but it didn’t. She dropped the silver packets on the floor and leaned, trembling, on the table. Savler put his arms around her, even when she pushed him, and held her tighter when she started to cry.
“They ate him.” Her voice was muffled against Savlers coat.
“I’m sorry, Aurora.” She wailed, a sound he had never heard her make, a rare agony. He took off his gloves and stroked her hair, laying his cheek on the crown of her head.
“He was open, and the smell. . .” She choked and vomited over Savlers arm, puke landing on his shoe, steaming in the cold.
“I’m sorry Aurora.” He said, stroking her back. She raked her nails along her arm, forcing the pain outside of her. Her voice was tinctured with rage.
“Like fuck you’re sorry, you hated Dorean.”
“No, I just knew he didn’t deserve you.”
“It doesn’t matter now.” Aurora pushed herself away from Savler, but he caught her, and pulled her close.
“Damn it Aurora, let me do this one thing for you!” She sobbed into his chest, snot and tears smearing on his coat. Holding her shaking body, Savler felt joyful for the first time in years.