Crawford sighed and rolled out of bed, careful not to wake Maya. Meandering to the kitchen, he pulled out a bottle of grape drink and sat at the table. He drank ruefully, staring into space.
A month had passed since he had saved the world.
It hadn’t really sunk in that that was what he was doing until it was done. At the time he had been so focused on the shittiness of his situation that it had been a chore. Self-preservation, really. If he had any choice, he would’ve avoided doing it altogether. At any rate, he certainly didn’t feel like any sort of savior.
Crawford downed the purple sugar-water in a scant few gulps and stared at the bottle. Idly, he wondered if red dye #42 had any proven links to pancreatic cancer. Did it really matter? He got another bottle and drank that one too.
If what the Wax King said was true, it was the only thing standing between humanity and annihilation from umpteen different sources. Death could come at any day and in twenty different ways. If the Wax King was lying, then he had been through hell, risked life and limb, nearly been eaten by zombies… for nothing.
It was a time for something stronger than grape drink. Crawford fixed himself a vodka cran.
Crawford looked up with a start to see Maya framed in the door, clad in nothing but a loosely belted bathrobe.
Maya strode in and sat down. She poured herself a shot from the vodka bottle on the table and slugged it back.
“You’re as bad a liar as you are a drinker.”
“Hey, ain’t nothing manlier than a vodka cran.”
Maya snorted. For a time, they said nothing. Then, Maya spoke.
“Nothing ever got solved by not talking about it.”
Crawford looked into her eyes… those piercing blue eyes.
Maya had been a hunter since she was 12. She had told him about her mother training her in swordplay, making her kill a vampire on her 13th birthday… If anyone knew a thing or two about handling stress…
“Maya… how do you deal with it?”
“This life. Fighting things that could end you with a thought. Abominations that would make Bosch curl up and weep. How do you deal with the burden?”
Maya seemed to ponder this for a minute. Then she leaned over and kissed him.
“You fight back. You do what you can. Take heart in the fact that we’ve faced these threats for millenia, and we’re still here. By providence, perseverence, or sheer bloody luck, our species has survived. In the face of overwhelming odds, humanity still exists. You are the latest in a long line of warriors who maintain a vigil over those who lack the means to protect themselves, a candle in the dark, a star against a field of black. And in the end, if you should fall, someone else will take up your light and stand once more against oblivion. "
Silence once more. Crawford poured himself a shot and knocked it back, supressing a cough. The bottle was now only half full.
“Have I mentioned that you’re an awesome girlfriend?”
“I know. Now come back to bed. The mysteries of life will still be here in the morning.”