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Yesterday's Ashes

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He left home early. Before opening the door, someone pulled him by the arm. Instead of preparing to cut someone's neck, Sebastian Moran smiled. His partner was pulling him to kiss him goodbye.

As was his custom, since he led a monotonous but happy life, he smiled into the kiss and then hugged the young woman around the waist. He smelled her blonde hair. His nose caught the usual lavender scent. The man sighed. One more symbol that he could relax without looking over his shoulder. At least for now.

He wished her a happy day and let her go  jogging down the stairs of the little house. Every day he took the same route. From his narrow house squeezed between services and fast food businesses , walking a few blocks to the subway and then getting off at his station. He walked another few blocks to his job downtown.

As he passed a dark corner, he felt the hairs on the back of his neck stand up. Sebastian was not a superstitious man, but he did trust his instincts.They had saved his life on many occasions.

Sebastian wrinkled his nose. The sixth sense he had for such things usually meant  someone was following him . He took a deep breath and continued on his way without stopping. He had taken care of everything that represented a danger to him. No pending business.

Hours later. Right after leaving work, Moran received a call from Eden.

- "Hello, darling..Please, forgive me. I must go to Aunt Lynn's house. She fell ill suddenly. It seems to be very serious. They fear for her life and I ... oh ..".

Sebastian could hear his partner's broken sob.Aunt Lynn was very close to Eden. The closest thing to a mother the woman ever had. 

- "Okay, love. Calm down. I understand . They need you. Don't worry about me. Leave before dark and take care."

- "Thank you, darling..I must run to the train station. See you in a few days. I love you."

The man took 2 seconds to answer . He always had a hard time returning the phrase. Even more after Jim. It was as if it was only reserved for him.He ... who can no longer appreciate it. Who perhaps did not appreciate it in life.

- "Me too .. Take care".

Eden was smart. She knew Sebastian was still carrying the pain of a lover who had passed away years ago, even before he told her his cover story about his previous life. He changed names and circumstances. But the pain was very real.

Over the years, that pain was transformed into something that allowed him to breathe. It still hurt, but it was as if the wound in his heart was numb.

Practice. The practice of reflecting a strong facade. From appearing to be upright and strong ... so as not to collapse.

Eventually it worked and the wounds were healed.Although some left permanent scars. Eden could caress them, but not heal them. For Sebastian that was enough to keep going.

After all ... We all carry scars deep inside of us and still carry on ...

He hung up after that and hurried. This was not a coincidence. Someone had driven her  away from the home they shared. 

He started walking faster ..


*

When he arrived the lights were off. He cautiously opened the door and plunged into darkness.

Someone was already waiting for him ..

He walked ..attentive to every sound. When he got to the living room he took a deep breath. Maybe he couldn't see anything but shadows, but he could use his other senses.

He knew who it was ..

He couldn't  forget the smell of his skin.

He walked a few steps until he was in front of the figure that occupied the chair. One leg crossed over the other. One hand on the arm of the seat and the other holding his chin.

They were still surrounded by darkness.  Sebastian whispered.

- "Jim ..".