Sam was not having a good day when the message came through. She had broken another set of ribs on the previous night’s patrol, and her plans with Todd had fallen through due to conflicting schedules for the day. So she was taped up and managing the gym, trying to pretend like she could breathe, when her phone buzzed. She reached for her main phone, only to find there were no messages on it. She frowned and then her eyes darted down to the inner pocket of her coat.
“Ms. Walsh, you seem distracted, are you okay? Did you get a call you need to take?” Sam looked up and caught the eyes of Kyle, who had come running over from the equipment he was maintaining. She was about to ask what he meant when she saw the couple standing in front of the desk. She started back into her customer service mode and got them situated before turning her attention back to the kid.
“Kyle, you can call me Sam, I’m only a few years older than you. I’m uhm. Can you cover the desk for a minute so I can step outside and call them back?” While it wasn’t a phone call, any messages to her secondary phone were almost more important than any calls or messages she could possibly receive on her main device. Only a few people had her other phone’s number, and she couldn’t think of any of them who would message her during daytime hours.
“Sure thing, Ms. Wal– Sam. I can totally do that. You go handle whatever that is, I got the front!” She smiled at him gratefully, for both his eagerness to help and his respect for her privacy. He never pried, never asked questions, and always was there to help out.
Sam dipped out the backdoor of the gym, ducking into the parking out back where only the Beetle was currently parked. She quickly pulled the second phone out from the lining of the jacket and unlocked it using the random number sequence she had picked for the passcode. There were three messages, and they sent a quick bolt of ice down Sam’s spine.
Audio taken from the murder of Hazel Wright. Thought you'd find it interesting.
Audio Clip: Hazel.MP3
I expect you to remain silent about where you got this track from, Ms. Walsh. You keep my secret, I'll keep yours.
Her heart rate immediately shot up, and she swallowed hard. So many things about this string of messages were setting her off, but none so much as the fact that her last name was clear as daylight in this message. That made her immediately on guard. She looked around, her vision telescoping in and out of windows and the tops of buildings as she made sure that there was no one watching her.
Hazel Wright had been a friend of hers. Her murder had shocked and horrified Sam, that there was someone who had hated her so much they could do that kind of damage to her and to themselves before shooting themselves. It hadn’t made any sense. Hazel had been a lovely girl, bright and brilliant and trying her hardest despite her curse, her powers, her gift. Whatever you choose to see them as.
They hadn’t been long friends, but they had been fast friends. Sam had only known her for a month before she had died, but she was never going to be able to forget her. That was why as she hit play on the audio clip, her heart was burning with rage that twisted her stomach. And as soon as the audio started, Sam felt like she might be sick. She listened to the screams, to the fighting, and then to the sound of Hazel’s skull being destroyed.
There was a moment where she just about turned it off and stopped listening when the soft sound of what sounded like shoes on pavement began. She listened carefully, trying to ignore the sounds of her friend’s skull being crushed. Then a voice rang out, and Sam felt herself tense and freeze. A moment of panic overtook her and her hand went to her throat, pulling at something that wasn’t there.
That was Obsidian. She didn’t know how she knew, but she knew.
Sure enough, a distorted voice confirmed his identity a few moments later and she started listening very carefully. Her whole body had started to shake as she listened to that smooth and lilting voice, the voice of the man who had killed her best friend, the voice of the man who had tried to kill her. Her breathing picked up and then a few things hit her all at once as the audio clicked to a stop.
Obsidian was in Pittsburgh.
Obsidian was in Pittsburgh, and he was there when Hazel was murdered.
Obsidian was in Pittsburgh, and he was there when Hazel was murdered, and Lament knew her name.
Sam knew just a bit about Lament. She’d had no reason to look into the man before now. He was suspected, but there was nothing to really tie him to any of the crimes he had recordings of except for the recordings themselves. Now, this new recording didn’t tie him explicitly to the death of Hazel Wright, and most of the audio of his own voice had been distorted beyond recognition. But Obsidian had called him Lament. It had cut off right after he said the name, but that was intentional. Whatever the rest of the conversation was about, it wasn’t important enough to include or maybe was too incriminating to include.
This left Sam with the recording of her friend’s final screams, the sound of her body being mutilated, and then the audio of Obsidian’s voice. She had no idea how she had known the voice was Obsidian, but she knew that it was him, long before it had ever been confirmed by the distorted voice. Something about it was… familiar, familiar in a way that left her feeling a little uneasy. She didn’t like it. She didn’t like how the voice rang with a tone, a note, that she knew all too well.
Obsidian sounded like her.
Sam wasn’t sure what to do now. She felt a kind of paralyzing rage she hadn’t felt in years. The kind that had driven her from city to city across the midwest, from sect to sect, looking for this exact man. The kind that had driven her to a kind of blind violence that she couldn’t help but fall to.
She wouldn’t let herself do that again. She couldn’t let herself do that again. That was a dark place that she had sworn not to fall into again.
But Obsidian, he was an exception. She was going to rip him apart piece by piece. He was going to feel every bit of the pain she had experienced over the last eight years. She was going to utterly and absolutely destroy him.
She was going to burn him down and dance in his ashes.