“Why?” I groaned, staring down at Sam. I didn’t recognize my voice. The sound it made was unlike anything I’d produced before. I was used to being in control, allowing hate to fuel my purpose. Guilt and sorrow were emotions I hadn’t experienced before. I hoped they wouldn’t lead to two more identities I didn’t know I had. 

“Answer him!” Jealousy shouted. 

“You know why,” Love said with a chuckle. 

Hatred punched him in the stomach. “No games,” she demanded. “You speak when spoken to, and you will give the truth.” 

Love coughed, laughing between gasps. “Remember what I said to you?” he asked after he regained his breath. “I said if I can’t have you, then nobody will. Remember that?” 

I shook my head. It was too hard for me to take my eyes off her. I loved her. She loved me. Love didn’t love either of us. His actions told me all I needed to know. I knew what I had to do but didn’t know how to do it. 

“We were having a lovely evening,” he continued. “Emotions were running high, and I could feel what was about to commence. Then I felt you swell up within me. It was different from the times you overtook me before. I wasn’t strong enough at those times to suppress you, but I am now. However, your little rats helped you overcome the box I put you in. Anyway, I knew I had to act fast, so I punched a hole in her chest and started pulling everything out I could get my hands on until you interrupted me.” 

Hatred smacked him across the face, disgusted by his honesty. She could feel my pain and stood up for me. Jealousy kept his tight grip on Love, holding him in place. 

“You’re sick,” I said, looking over at him for the first time since he began talking. “You ruined her life, taking it from her because of your selfish need to maintain control.” 

“It’s not just about control, Dinlas,” he interrupted. “It’s about staying relevant. You have no idea what it’s like to be buried deep inside of you. You got a little taste of it, but imagine decades down there. You’re so afraid of feeling anything that you bury and suppress everything except for these two delinquents.” 

“This is my body!” I snapped. “It’s not yours! My head is not yours!” 

“It’s ours!” Love shouted, interjecting his loud voice into mine. “I’m you, and you’re me. Jealousy, Hatred, and me, we’re all you. Notice how the blood stains your hands and not mine.” He held his clean hands up into view. “You may have been dwelling in your deep subconscious, but you did the deed as much as I did.” 

“Don’t listen to him, Din,” Jealousy interjected. 

“He’s wrong,” Hatred added. 

“Am I!?” he snapped. “We are projections conjured up by his own mind. Figments he’s allowed to talk to and interact with because he’s lonely.” 

“Not true,” Hatred growled. 

“He’s crazy,” Love continued. 

“Shut up!” Jealousy yelled, yanking back on him. 

“Mortals have a term for you and what you have, Dinlas,” Love said, muffled under Jealousy’s arm. “You’re a schitzo—” 

Jealousy squeezed him tight enough to stop his mouth from moving. I looked back at the detective. Love wasn’t wrong. There was something wrong with me, but it was not as he said. They were as real as me, but only because I was a god. I was powerful enough to make parts of me real, and the two who I rule over provided me with the necessary strength to exist. Jealousy and Hatred were all I needed in this world, whether I was amongst the mortals or downstairs with my family. I needed to remember that and remember who I was. 

“Don’t listen to him, Dinlas,” Hatred said, gently touching my shoulder. “We are all real because of you. You make us real. Jealousy and I serve you and will do all that we can to ensure you are who you are.” She knelt next to me. “I don’t like what he did to her. I didn’t care for her, but I know you did, and that’s what matters to me. Unfortunately, there’s nothing more we can do for her now. She’s gone. We need to get out of here and back on the road. That’s where we belong. Where you belong. Use that hate within you to pick yourself up and carry on, just as you’ve always done.” 

“What about her?” I said, feeling an unfamiliar push from behind my eyes. Water seeped out and ran down my cheek. I took a deep breath, swallowing the sorrow I felt in my chest.

“There’s nothing we can do,” she said. “We have to leave her for the mortals to deal with.” 

I shook my head. “No, I’m not leaving her here to waste away like a piece of garbage,” I snarled. The thought of leaving her body to rot in that unknown place bothered me more than I could admit. 

“Okay,” Hatred said, getting to her feet. “What do you need us to do?” 

“Anything, Din,” Jealousy added. 

I turned to look Love in the eye. Jealousy had his forearm over Love’s nose and mouth. Love peered at me with his dark eyes. He knew what I was about to say, and it gave me extreme gratification to give the order to my two trusted minions. 

“Get rid of him,” I instructed. “I never want to see or hear him again. Can you both do that for me?” 

“Of course we can,” Hatred replied with a grin, walking toward Jealousy and Love. 

I didn’t turn away. I wanted to watch them take care of Love. I never wanted to feel him again, and I would make sure, moving forward, that I wouldn’t. Hatred took the first shot, ramming her fist into Love’s stomach. Jealousy jammed his thumbs into Love’s eyes. Love screamed out at first, but his painful moans shifted into a throaty cackle. He laughed as Jealousy and Hatred tore him to pieces. I watched until there was nothing left, and the laughter had stopped.

Dinlas (Justin Brimhall)
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