Not many showed up to the funeral. Sasha had barely any family and she had never really been the having-friends kind of gal. Not even some of the guys she knew from the paper showed up. The only ones who came was Jim, an old aunt and some white guy with a fuzzy beard, messy hair and a pair of shades.
Who the heck walked around with shades in Twilight, for Pete's sake?
"Jim Moore?" The guy with the shades approached Jim after the ceremony was over. "My name is Josef Waezi-Ashtiani. I would like to express my sincere condolences on the death of your ex-wife."
"Ex-wife... heh." Jim made a timid smile. "I sometimes forget that we were ever married. It happened long, long time ago. It must have been the stupidest thing we ever did in our life. After two weeks, we got an annulment." he chuckled. "... I'm sorry, you didn't ask for my life story, it's just... God... she's really gone... Are you a friend of hers?"
"... Not exactly. I... helped her with a story. I'm..." Waezi took a glance at the tombstone. "... It's my fault that... I think it's my fault she is here."
"Please, unless you were the one who shot her three times in the chest and head, you have nothing to apologize for."
"No... but..." Waezi took off his sunglasses in order to clean them. His eyes were blue. "I might as well have..."
"Look, Mr Vasy..."
"Sorry... Say, is thatt a Russian name?"
"Mr Waezi... Sasha was a terrible wife, but she was a dear friend. She lived a dangerous life and she loved it. I still don't get how she manege to live for as long as she did. Most journalists in Twilight only write about all the disasters because that's what sells or about conspiracy theories about vampires. Sasha wanted to tell the truth. She wanted to make sure that nobody got away with anything. Well, they did anyway, but that's that. But more importantly, she did what she did because it was exiting and gave her a purpose. So as far as I'm concerned... she died fighting the system, a battle she would never win, but it made her, believe it or not, happy. Don't feel bad. She would have died sooner or later the way she lived. At least she died swinging, right?"
"... Right... I guess that's..." Waezi sighed. "I... I have to go. Have a good night, Mr Moore, and... yeah, have a good night."
Waezi left the graveyard in hast. He had never been very fond of those. Once he was sure that no one was around, he took off his glasses, beard, nose and wig, threw them into a trashcan and then opened up his jacket. After fixing his bow-tie, he put on his mask and began his patrol of the city.
"Dammit, Sasha..." Cat climbed up a fire escape ladder in order to reach the roof. "Those bullets were meant for the suckers, not you..."
"This is silly!"
"Stop complaining and shut the &%#@ up!"
Cat jumped back and forth on the roof of a abounded pack-house, while Sasha Petersen took pictures of him from the top of a wrecked toolshed. They had decided to take the pictures at the closed down harbor that no one used anymore.
"No, really, it's silly." Cat sat on the edge of the roof as he took a break from the jumping. "I came to you, man. I can pose for you, with LIGHTS on, so that you can get a good picture. Why pretend you just spotted me and than grabbed your camera?"
"No one is gonna believe me if I told them you came to my home. Even I think it's a load of #@?!&, and I was there."
"So... no interview?"
"No interview. Now get down from there, I'm done."
Sasha sighed. She thought she was going to hunt down a supernatural mystery-man, clouded in secrets. But what she got was a nutcase in a bight costume. Not bright-colored, but bright. His tuxedo was glowing in the dark. The man had no interest in being unseen, apparently. He WANTED attention.
"So..." Sasha lighted up a smoke. "I now got my one-of-a-kind picture... What do YOU want?"
One of the things that made Sasha disappointed about Twilight's new hero was his constant need of telling jokes. They weren't even that good, most of them was just annoying, and made you feel like you had a conversation with a elementary school kid. Even when he didn't crack jokes, he sounded like he was about to. He had a tone, like a Looney Toon character.
But that tone all of a sudden died, and was replaced with an adult's voice.
"I want you to survive."
"Never been much interested in that, really." Sasha blew out three smoke rings.
"But I am. I knew you would try to find me, and I honestly have no problem with that. I have no interest in being an urban myth. If Twilight knows that I'm real, then it can provide hope to the people."
"That's the kind of talk that get's heroes killed here." Sasha stepped on her cigarette. "Five so far."
"This picture." Cat pointed at her camera. "This is going to be the most dangerous thing you ever did in your life. And I can't protect you once hell breaks lose."
"Not interested in protection, Kitty. The photos will do."
"Take these." Cat handed her a small box. Sasha opened it. It had bullets inside. they looked homemade. "Don't use them on just anyone. They are specially designed for one kind of tread."
"What the ¤$£& is that suppose to ¤$£& mean?"
"You wouldn't believe me if I told you. Trust me when I say; you won't be in doubt when to use them."
"Crazy b@stard..." She muttered for herself, as Cat left her. She studied the bullets. They looked real enough, so she decided to keep them. As she went home, she realized that this was the first time in a month where she walked home without having a couple of drinks first.
"These better be real, that's all I'm saying." David said, as he looked at the pictures of Twilight's newest vigilante.
Not hero, but vigilante. That was the first rule when you worked on a newspaper in Twilight; there is no such thing as a superheroes.
"Oh, they are real alright." Sasha smiled. David was in a neutral mood. A good sign.
David David, the chief-editor and publisher of The Window, was not a man who was known to be in a good mood. He was either in a bad mood or not in a neutral mood. Never good, only not-bad mood. But he was usually in a bad mood. Sasha had a theory that it had something to do with the fact that his first name was his last as well. With a name like that, he had probably been teased most of his childhood as well as a few years of his teenage period. And it would explain why he didn't like jokes.
David David wasn't a mean man. He just had a face that would make a clown chock to death of lack of funny. David constantly looked like he had just woken up and needed the world's strongest cup of coffee. But as long as you didn't call him by his full name as well as never telling him a joke... well, he was an okay guy, really. A gal could have a worse boss. MUCH worse.
Well, ex-boss in Sasha's case. But not for long. And he only fired her because of the bullsh%t accusations. and he knew it was bullsh&t, or else he wouldn't have said yes to see her.
"... How do I know that this isn't just..."
"What, boss? JUST a guy who jumps from roof to roof, wearing a mask? A pink mask?"
David groaned. "Don't call me boss. Fired, remember?"
"Not with these." Sasha pointed at the photos of the Cat.
"Don't get cocky, Petersen, that's what got you fired to begin with."
"Bullsh%t, and you know it."
"... still." David studied the pictures one more time. "These are good pictures... I can't rehire you, not now, anyway. I can take them if you don't have a problem with being anonymous."
Sasha grinned. "Fine by me."
Masked vigilante spotted!
Sasha smiled like a water melon as she read the night's newspaper. It had made front page. Yeah, it said that the picture was taken by a photographer who wished to be anonymous in order to protect her from the masked man who probably would seek revenge. It also said that the "vigilante" was a big problem, that he was a masked menace, that he terrorized the order of Twilight, that only cities like Southville were irresponsible enough to let masked vigilantes run around freely, blah blah blah. All the %&?$ you had to write in order to make sure that the investors wouldn't be p%ssed and give you hell for "glorifying vigilantism."
But it was there. The proof that Twilight had a hero. A guy who might just live long enough to make a difference. That there was hope for the little guy. And as far as Sasha was concerned, that's all that mattered.
This... This meant something. I was the first time for so long Sasha had done something that had an impact. No lawsuits, no technicalities, no nothing could take this away from her.
Someone knocked on the front door. Sasha wasn't used to visitors. Not those she wanted, anyway. Hench the unlicensed gun she kept in her kitchen drawer.
"Ms Petersen?" someone said from the other side of the door. "My name is Dolob. I'm a great fan of your work."
"%&?$ off!" Sasha checked the gun. "I don't have fans, and not interested in having any. And I haven't written anything for weeks."
"But you did take those nice pictures for The Window, didn't you?"
"Don't know what you are talking about!" She took a quick glance at her four locks. "And %&?$ off, already! I'm armed!"
Sasha opened the door(chain lock in place), and saw that whoever it had been, the guy had left.
Sasha made a sigh of relief as she-
"I only asked out of out of courtesy."
Sasha almost had an stroke. She now had her gun aimed at some man in a black turtleneck sweater who somehow had entered her house and now sat on her %&?$-colored living room chair, reading her newspaper. He had jetblack hair, yellow eyes and unusually pale skin.
"I just LOVE this newspaper. I love newspapers in general, but this one... this one always has the most terrible articles about black kids getting shot, immigrants drowning thanks to some Danish b%tch politician, terrorism, all the good stuff."
"Move, and I blow your %&?$ brains out!"
"Language." The %&?$er smiled like a snake. "No need to be so rude. I just want to talk about those nice pictures you provided to the Window."
"Don't know what you are talking about." Sasha wanted to pull the trigger, but there was... something about that smug ba$terd that made her hesitate.
"Now, no need to try and deny it. It's futile." the guy closed the newspaper and dropped it on the floor. He stood up. Sasha noticed that he was at least one head taller than her. "Lying won't save your life, nor the poor people who works at the newspaper."
"... what do you mean with that?"
The man blotted his teeth. "It means that you gave the Window, and all those who works for it the death penalty the moment you took those pictures."
The whole building was on fire.
The building where the Window were produced was in flames.
But surprisingly enough, it weren't the vampires who had been ordered the destroy it that was responsible for the fire.
It was the Cat.
"Come on, you damn suckers!" Cat yelled, armed with a wooden stake and a dagger made out of silver, as he was surrounded by vampires in the inferno. And these vampires were fierce, not like the ones he faced in the opera house. "Come and get me!"
Sasha looked at the lifeless body of the creep. His brains was splattered on the floor.
But it didn't move her, which actually scared the %&?$ out of her. Or at least made her uncomfortable how not-uncomfortable she were about the situation. All she really thought of was how to get the body out without the neighbors noticing...
Wait a minute... did the blood on the carpet just... move?
Sasha dropped her gun as she watched the head repair itself. How the splattered brain and blood moved like slimy but fast snails, returning to the fractured skull. She just stood there, watching as the man got up again, looking rather annoyed.
"Damn, I hate it when that happens." he mumbled, as he dusted off his sweater. "What's the matter, Ms Petersen?" He smiled to the paralyzed Sasha. "Working for Lunar, you should have realized by now that vampires rules most of the city."
"... Bullsh%t!" Sasha knew what she saw, but her mind refused to accept it as reality. "Vampires doesn't exist anymore! They are an extinct species!"
"No, we just realized that we had to change our ways. Be more subtle." The vampire looked like he was having fun. "And then we were introduced to this little paradise."
Sasha had picked up her gun and filled the monster's chest with bullets. But the wounds healed, and all she did was ruining the night creature's sweater.
"Would you like to hear a secret?" The monster continued, seemingly not bothered. "You want to know how someone like you can exist in a place like Twilight City?"
Sasha pulled the trigger, even though she knew it was empty.
"It's because we allowed it. You know how we treat superheroes here. And honest cops is a rare thing in Twilight. So how come you are still around, hmm?"
Sasha tried to open the front door, tried to escape. But she couldn't open it, and she heard someone laughing on the other side.
"It's because you are an underdog, Petersen. And everyone loves an underdog. A nobody who tries to fight the corrupt system. You give the humans here a small ray of hope, so that me and my children can enjoy killing it."
Sasha got herself together and reached for the drawer with ammunition in it. The vampire didn't seem to mind.
"You were allowed to fight the good fight because it amused us. You honestly believed that you could make a difference. But then..." he picked up the newspaper, pointing at the front page. "Then, you pulled this little stunt. The FIRST actual thing that we find somewhat threatening. Anything else but this. We would have allowed you to live your meaningless life, if it had been anything else bu-"
Sasha filled the monster with lead. The head, the chest, the crotch. Once she ran out of bullets and the night creature lied on her floor in a lake of his own blood, she tried once more to open the front door without any success. She invented an all new swear as she realized the monster were about to heal once more, and she hid inside her closet. Sasha gasped as she looked at her gun. It was worthless without ammunition. Hell, it was worthless WITH ammunition. Some evil ¤$£&er was going to eat her(?) as soon as his ¤$£&ing skull grew back, and there was nothing she could...
... Wait a minute...
Sasha checked the inner pocket of her jacket in the closet. She forgot about those bullets the cat-guy gave her.
"Come out and face me, woman." the vampire spat out a bullet, as his head had completely healed. "I want you to die on your feet. It's always more fun when they die fighting."
Sasha loaded the gun with one of Cat's bullets, and then... she aimed for the head.
But not the vampire's head.
"... Ah, DAMMIT!" The vampire opened the closet and saw the dead Sasha Petersen. "What am I to do with a dead human?! Waste of tasty blood..." He turned into a bat and left in disappointment.
He smelled like sod and smoke, his outfit had been burned, and he had rifts after the fight at the Window.
"Son of a..."
Cat covered his masked face in his hands. He had found Sasha Petersen's dead body in her apartment. And sadly, it looked like she had committed suicide.
"Those were garlic bullets, for Christ's sake... You were suppose to defend yourself... I couldn't be here, I had to save all those people at..."
Cat sighed. There was nothing he could do for her now. Maybe except for saving her from being humiliated for taking her own life. He took the gun and shot her in the chest. Three times. Now, it kinda looked like she had been murdered.
Cat left, cursing himself.