Tau came down to see me today.
He looked tired.
Like a man who hadn't slept
for the last week.
Normally I do not remember
entire conversations, but this one...
This one is still engraved in my mind.
I remember a knock at the door.
I had been disassembling and reassembling my gun.
Learning, over and over again.
I opened the door and there he was.
Thumbs tucked into his belt like a cowboy.
"Kid. I've got somethin' to tell you.
We made our decision, but we need your input."
I moved onto my bed away from the table, crosslegged.
"What do you need from me?"
"I need to know your loyalties are toward Mother,
and not anyone else. We've been...
Accepting of you making friends with people.
People who aren't exactly on the same side."
He reached into his pocket,
tugging out a cigarette,
"We need to know that what happened,
didn't make you want to run."
I don't know what I did...
He suddenly looked at me differently,
like something was wrong.
"The thought crossed my mind, but I stayed.
This is not the first time you have ordered
someone to be skinned alive.
It is how you make people stay.
You make it a spectacle..."
He started at me, moving forward.
"Do you think I like this?
It's what we have to do,
"Otherwise what? Otherwise
He slammed his fist on the table and I froze.
"You really need to stop being so outspoken, Dear Hope.
I was gonna give you a new partner...
But I think you need someone to beat you back into line."
He left me there, that smirk on his face.
Salome has not yet failed to make good on Tau's promise.
Her idea of a wake up call is a boot to my face.
She is... Harder on me if I make a mistake.
Salome has changed.
I am still trying to work out if it is for the better.
She does not smile.