It’s late and he’s drunk. “You promised,” Tanim growls as he empties another tumbler of burning liquid and waits for a response. No sound disrupts the silence save the mantle clock ticking off unnecessary seconds. Nothing moves but the crescent moon inching higher beyond the tall windows.

“Come out, Daren. I know you’re here,” The clock answers the demand with its steady rhythm but Tanim remains alone. Scowling, he turns in a slow circle, arms wide, voice rising as he addresses the empty air. “Are you punishing me? Is that it? For what? What did I do? I don’t deserve this, Daren.” The silence mocks him. With a howl of dismay, Tanim hurls the glass against the brick wall. “You promised you wouldn’t leave me! You swore to me! You’d let something as trivial as death separate us? I thought you were stronger than that. Bastard, you promised me!”

He isn’t a man prone to anger nor used to the way it burns hot and high like a gasoline fire, then dies abruptly when the last fuel is consumed. It leaves him hollow and charred, exhausted now when before he buzzed with the need for retribution. “You should be here,” Tanim pleads, too weary to continue the tirade. “Why aren’t you here? What the fuck am I supposed to do now?” He reaches out to seek solace in oblivion but the bourbon bottle offers only a last amber drop. Swearing, Tanim abandons his futile séance and heads toward the bathroom to hunt down the sleeping pills he has stashed for nights like this.

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