Third Row Saints

“You think I am merely human? You think I am not a goddess, not a creature of power and destruction and fear? I have seen civilizations come and go in a heartbeat, hunted animals that long went extinct, learnt languages that died hundreds of years ago, watched the same sun set on Earth a billion times over, and yet you dare call me a human?”

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1. prologue | the city of saints and sinners

 

There are no gods and no kings; only man. 

__________________ 

 

“You can find them if you know where to look,” she murmured, hooded eyes simmering with distrust. Her waitress’ apron lay discarded on the back of a beaten old chair, the front pocket stuffed full of the night’s tips and other assorted treasures. Her body was stiff, formal; back rigid, hackles raised, fingers interlocked and her entire being screaming suspicion. The other woman, however, took no notice, slouching back against her own chair and crossing one slender leg over the other. A lit cigarette danced carelessly in one hand and a lighter in the other.

“At ease, solider. I’m not going to bite your head off,” the other woman sighed, raising the cigarette to her lips and inhaling. A few heartbeats later two tendrils of ash-grey smoke escaped from the corner of her lipsticked mouth, her lips leaving a faint purple mark on the paper as she drew it away again. The waitress frowned, her dark features closing in and the brisk, cheerful employee act long forgotten.

“Everyone’s talking about you. They know you’re coming,” she growled, her knuckles white-blue beneath the skin stretched too tightly over bone. The woman just laughed, a discordant chuckle that started somewhere in the back of her throat, and flicked the cigarette into an ash tray resting on the table top. They were seated in a corner at the very back of the sleazy restaurant, far away from prying eyes and ears, yet neither of them seemed to be completely at ease.

“Then my job’s halfway finished, isn’t it? I just need to find them. Tell me where to look.”

The waitress finally smiled, her thin mouth turning up into something more akin to a grimace than anything else.

“Fuck you. We don’t need any more trouble around our parts, especially not with someone like you,” she hissed, her upper lip curling in distaste and her fingernails digging into the uneven surface of the table. The other woman simply raised an eyebrow, drawing a cigarette from her coat pocket and placing it between her lips. With one practised flick of her thumb against the lighter a small flame sparked to life, static for a moment before the woman raised it to her cigarette and lit it. It was a while before either of them spoke, but when she did it was with a small smirk playing at the edges of her mouth.

“What trouble would you have seen, kid? I’m from Saint’s, born and raised, and believe me, I’m trying to protect it, not destroy it. I need to speak with them on a matter of urgent importance,” she sighed, stubbing out her cigarette before looking up to meet the waitress’ troubled gaze, “What’s your name, by the way? I haven’t seen your face around before. Wait – let me guess. Looks like she’s just been stabbed, has an air for dramatics, a complete and utter pessimist – you’re Melpomene, right?” 

The waitress flinched slightly and the other woman leaned back, knowing she’d struck gold.

“Just Mel,” the girl ground out with the resigned weariness of someone who’d been called by a ridiculous name their entire life and was fated to continuously correct people.

“Well, Just Mel,” the woman sighed, her voice husky and feather soft, “tell them that the Sinners are coming to Saint’s, and that I’m the only goddamned salvation they’re gonna get.” 

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