The prompt for this story was: "There are some things which we would never, EVER do. What is one atrocity your character would never commit?"
I've considered posting a few of my stories for this competition thus far, if not all of them, but had yet to find one I was truly satisfied with to the point of wanting to share it beyond my guild. While I wouldn't say this is my best work, this is probably the most satisfied I have been with a story for sometime, concerning Redamous. Please enjoy.)
Last One Out
There was something calming about the rain. Something calming about the way it slowly pattered against the roof, forming that familiar little pitter patter in the background, no matter where he went. The clouds cast the land in a gray light. Some might have found it rather depressing, he found nothing but comfort in the fact. To see some of his homeland's familiar weather lifted his spirits ever so slightly. Sitting in the empty house did the exact opposite. Yet there he sat, allowing himself to wallow in the pain of old memories.
How he'd managed to keep hold of the key was beyond him, but he had. In the years since the residents of Gilneas, Red had found that their architecture had lasted through the weather as it was meant to. Because of this, the house had managed to survive even a few rough winters. Its wooden roof had yet to start sagging, its paneling outside only missing a piece here and there. The glass in the windows remained in one piece, and there wasn't any paint on the wood outside to wash off, though some of the wood had given way to rotting in places.
The Worgen sat on one of the chairs inside, glowing eyes slowly working their way around the darkened room. What was left were objects he didn't object to being taken by looters. Furniture, mainly, along with clothing and other things. He had no need for it, and it would have just seemed creepy if he had taken it with him. No need to be dragging a bunch of children's clothing, and women's dresses back with him to the Hold. He squinted for a moment, before shaking his head. There was no way in hell he was going to tell Becky about them. Seeing her in them would have just been disturbing.
In his clawed hand, he held the chain that usually rested around his neck. Rarely did he pull it off his neck, as it served no purpose to do so, but today was somewhat special. He'd long ago forgotten exactly how many years ago it had been, but he was certain of the date. Several years ago to the day, he had gotten married. Years would pass, children would come into the picture, but that would remain constant. Not all good things last forever, though, and the day came where certain people ceased to live, himself included, but that part of his life wasn't his focus. Whether celebration or mourning, he was here for his anniversary, and so he sat at the table where he and his wife would have been enjoying some sort of meal. What it would have been was a detail he didn't bother himself with.
Turning over the chain, he ran his claw across the two rings that sat on it, their loops intertwined to connect them. He had had such done so that they wouldn't slide around as individual pieces. He wanted them together where otherwise they would not have been. A small smirk crept onto the Worgen's face. That was almost too sappy of a metaphor.
His attention was drawn away from a small noise, his ear twitching slightly as he heard the door open, someone silently slip inside, and then close it. He followed the small sound of their footsteps as they crept through the room, despite, as far as they knew, there being no reason to be. Why would they ever suspect someone to be home?
In the low light he could see them enter into what had been the living room. They turned slowly, eyes squinted. Redamous silently pulled out a match, striking it against the table loud enough to grab the person's attention. As they turned, the motion sudden and surprised, he heard them gulp. Moving the match next to the wick of the old candle that still remained on the table, he continued to stare. The person, Red could now see it was a man, screamed as the face of the Worgen, a horrible look of anger on his face, popped into existence. He fell backwards over a piece of furniture, hitting the floor with a thud.
The intruder lay there for a long moment, but not in silence. Red could easily hear him muttering to himself, a constant repetition of “Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit.”
“Get up,” Redamous said, trying to keep his voice from becoming a growl. The flicker of the candle didn't do a good job of illuminating the room, but it was more for the intruder, not him. He didn't need it to see.
The man slowly rose, holding his hands up. Sweat slowly worked its way down his face, past his eyes, which were wide as they could possibly manage. “Look mate,” he said, his voice quivering, his accent unquestionably Gilnean “I didn't mean to barge in he-...” The Worgen frowned even more, and the man nearly lost it. “I didn't think anybody would be here.”
“Sit down,” Red said, pointing to the chair on the other side of the table. The man began to tremble, starting up his repetition again, but the Worgen interrupted him, “You can sit down, or I'll make you sit down. An' if you choose the latter option, I'll make sure you wish you hadn't.”
The intruder shook his head slowly, but made his way over to the chair he was ordered to take nonetheless. He rested his fingers against the table, nails gripping into the wood when he took notice of the Worgen, but more specifically the fact that he was deceased.
“Name,” Red said, turning to face the man. He leaned back in his chair, watching almost passively. Almost.
“J-John,” he managed to sputter, “Johnathan Winthrop.”
“An' is there a reason you're in my house, mister Winthrop,” Redamous said, glowing blue eyes never once wavering from his 'guest'. When the man opened his mouth to speak, Redamous stopped him instead, “Let me guess. Look around. See what's in here. Right?” He might have not taken certain things, and left their fate up to the looters. That didn't mean he was content to let them take them besides that.
Winthrop's eyes shot down to his lap. He slowly shook his head, and for a moment Red thought he might just deny the accusations. “Look sir,” he started.
“Redamous,” the Worgen said flatly.
“Well, Redamous, look,” he started again, motioning around, “It doesn't look like you live around here. This stuff. Well. It's just going to waste. It's rotting. Eventually nobody'll want it, and then it'll just keep sitting here going to waste.”
“Didn't ask you to justify your lootin', mate. I asked you to admit to it,” Red said, his claws clicking against the table. He blinked only a few times, his blue force cast orange in the light of the candle. His teeth showed when he spoke, glistening by the light, sharp, threatening. For once he might actually look scary, or threatening. The thought never once crossed through his mind.
“I...Just...Yes, sir,” he said, nodding, “Yes, I'm looting.” His eyes slowly moved about the room, squinting to see what the life could not show or even help to show. “Take it this was your place, mister?”
Red nodded slowly, looking back to the room, frowning slightly, “Was. Maybe it still is. Don't matter these days, probably never will again.” He motioned towards one corner of the room, where a small wooden chest could barely be seen, “In there's a bunch of toys. Nothin' special, 'cept to the ones who owned 'em, know?” He smiled sadly, “Nothin' like seein' a kid play with a toy.”
He motioned toward the fireplace, which was lacking wood by this point, “Over there, think you can probably tell what that was.” Red glanced at the other man, who nodded slowly, but said nothing. “You know what it is. Can't know what it means to me. Saw a dozen bad storms through huddled around that thing, blankets wrapped 'round all of us, waitin' to for the sun to come back up, or the wind to quit howlin'. Eventually we'd just all get to sleep, an' the sun'd come up and the wind'd stop at some point. Didn't really matter when by that point.”
Next he pointed towards the stairs, “Up that ways our rooms. Kid's room's got a few more toys in it, some clothes. Guess a bed or two. Not sure if you're here for furniture. Tucked 'em in every night. Read 'em a tale or two on most of 'em, 'less they were just too tuckered out for it. In our room, me an' my wife's, there's a bigger bed. Few closets, set a drawers or two. She had some jewelry she kept on top of those.” He allowed himself to grin, “Some of the best parts of my life? Came outta there, if you catch my meanin'.”
“I think I get your meaning,” Winthrop said, nodding. He tugged at his collar, “Mister, look, I didn't think. Well. You'd be here.”
“Makes it harder, don't it,” Redamous said, grin shrinking into a small smirk. “You can have that crap, if you want it.” The man blinked, staring at the Worgen, “You can go up there, and you can take it. Hell. You can do the same at any house you go to. Any of the stuff you take. You can grab it, and then you can sell it off to somebody. I can tell you right now, won't mean near as much to you as it did to its owner. Won't hold near as much value, and really, it shouldn't. I'd like to think you're here 'cause you gotta do this to get by or somethin'. There's a little voice in the back of my mind tellin' me that's a bunch of bull, but I'm ignorin' it, for now.”
The man gulped again, “Are you gonna kill me, mister?”
Red grinned, showing off his teeth, but still shook his head, “Nah. I ain't gonna kill you. I don't kill folks who are just getting' by.” His claw kept slowly clicking against the table, “Think you recall where the door is, don't you?”
Winthrop nodded, standing, “Yep. I do.” He began walking away, stopping to look over his shoulder, “Thanks, mister.”
“For,” Redamous said. Despite it being a question, it sounded more like a statement.
“Not killin' me,” he said, his voice growing hoarse.
“Uh huh. Best get a move on, lad. 'Less you're gonna go grab some of that stuff.”
“No, sir,” he muttered, before heading for the door.
Red's ears twitched again when he heard it open and close, before the house fell silent yet again.