“Oh my god thats a corpse.” the vampire whispers shakily “That’s- that’s uh-”
“Oh god, are people dumping their garbage here again?” the witch groans “Oh, and it’s in pieces. Wow. Thanks stranger. What a mess.”
“We need to-”
“Dispose of it. It’ll be good feed for the roses.”
There’s not a second to waste- the villain lunges for the hero, sword outstretched; Hero raising xir arms up in an attempt to block. Xe’s too slow.
It’s with a sick crunch of ribs that the sword pierces through. The hostages look away, the hero’s arms are raised to block the strike that never falls.
The civilian grins bloody toothed at the villain. Ze’s impaled on the blade. The hero is safe.
“All things end,” Death says, and xir voice is kind.
“Not so long as I still draw breath,” says the hero.
“Perhaps. But they will end.”
“Do not mourn.” says the dying hero “Do not mourn me. I have lived a good life.”
The villain snorts, pretends xir eyes are not burning “Is there- as a last favour, you understand- is there anything you’d like me to tell your family?”
“I have none.” the hero smiles under xir mask of kevlar and blood, a little weakly “If you remove my mask, you’ll be the only person on this earth to know my face.”
“If there’s anything that my parent taught me,” the hero says, grimly. “It’s how to die with honor.”
“[Hero] is dead.” says the villain, looking at the civilian arrogantly “Walk away. No one will come to your aide for being such a fool. Not anymore.”
The civilian draws a shaky breath, and steps closer. No one will save xir, xe knows, for something that’s xir own fault. Not anymore. But someone has to do something.
“Fight me.” says the hero, probably for the last time.
Death smiles “You have been. And you’ve been doing quite well. But there’s no shame in losing, young one.”
“Will you ever forget xir? Will you ever move on? I don’t know.” the villain says “I lost my own love, many moons ago. And it hurt. And I remember zir. But I still live.”
“Yeah, but you’re a bad person.” sniffs the hero, wiping at eir eyes “I can’t- I don’t know how to do this without xir.”
“Easy. Do what you’ve always done and hit me in the gut.”
There was a beauty in corpses. In the place that once held life and potential and now just lays, bloating and rotting and leaking fluids. Where there one was potential, now there was an empty sack of meat and bacteria.
“Can you bring xir back?”
“Xe may not want it. But yes.”
“I think the worst part of this job,” says the hero, slowly, haltingly “is that there usually isn’t time to bury our dead. Not even- not any of them.”