“Oh thank God.” The conversation stumbled to a halt as the group reached the half-buried emergency shelter, but resumed after only a brief pause as the boys clambered out of the wagon. With a wave of her hand Parker sent her two charges into the building to start the fire, desperate for a bit of silence.
Horse waited until the boys were out of earshot and then snorted in amusement. “Come now, they aren’t that bad.” the slightly gritty voice echoed in her head and the Shepherd rolled her eyes in answer.
“Right, two nine year-old twins and you think they aren’t that bad? I had cousins on the other side, I know what kids are like.” She worked slowly but surely on the harness that attached the stocky equine to the cart. “Just wait till they find out who you are, then we’ll see who’s having to play 20 questions until their brain short circuits.”
“We’ve had kids before,” Horse bobbed his head happily as she undid the last of the buckles. “They’ve mostly come through with parents, true, but we’ve had a few.”
“Yeah, we had her.” Two bright blue eyes and bone white hair flickered in her memory. And the bodies. She helped Horse step out of the harness and abruptly turned for the door. Twenty-seven charred corpses, dead because of her. Because she hadn’t killed fast enough.
“She was an exception,” Horse nudged her back with his nose, sending her stumbling into the side of the building. He moved between her and the door, trapping her between cold plaster and warm hide. “You have to let that go. You’ll do them harm in her memory.”
Two blue eyes. Blue eyes of a five year old girl, who laughed, and danced, and burned them all alive. Because Parker hadn’t been able to cut her down. In the end, Horse had.
“I’m fine, just– I’m fine.” She pushed the memories back down, past the magical barriers the Lieutenant had built for her. After a moment, her partner leaned away and she opened the door for him.