Saturday 3rd April 2027: Evan

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Evan glanced down at where the nylon handle of Little Cat's harness slid back and forth across the scars on his knuckles. Dark fucking days before all this, he thought, and dark fucking days now. It could be worse though. It has been worse.

Having ascertained there were definitely no marauding death gangs around, Sarah had wandered off towards the water, something sentimental to do with putting a photograph somewhere. Evan was sitting with Richie and Little Cat, since he had somehow become the kind of person someone would trust with the care of an animal as well as the company of a human. It wasn't as cold as it had been, but the coastal breeze still kicked up a wicked chill.

In this moment of transience, Evan's past felt like a foreign land, a place he had passed through without any meaningful connections. Report cards filled with a list of A's next to comments about disappointing attendance and a worrying lack of interest. Responsibility, invisibility, a hollow void of days on autopilot and a school tie that always felt on the verge of strangling him.

Chain-smoking on the roof in summer, his younger sisters on holiday with his parents, the stillness and silence of a home that never felt like his. Swallowing handfuls of pills and going to sleep. The crushing ache in his chest when he woke up again. He always woke up again. Under 'overdoses' his report card would have read must try harder.

Applying to the University of Edinburgh to get as far away as he could from his life. Getting accepted into the MA in Business Management, which he didn't give a shit about but that seemed as easy as anything else to coast through for a few years. Not a word of congratulations, just more expectations. He couldn't leave home fast enough.

Not so much giving up as taking the road not even considered, never mind less travelled. Bitterly laughing away threats of being written out of wills because it didn't fucking matter anymore. The recreational chemical distribution market was still business management of a sort, and it provided him with enough of an income not to care about what he did or didn't stand to inherit in a future that didn't mean a fucking thing anyway.

Late nights and hands around throats, fists against jaws, the captivating music of shy, broken boys whispering please. And then this. All this. The end of the fucking world and bodies burning and car thieves and chaos. And Richie.

Richie, with that face, with that unshakable belief that everything would be fine because, for him, everything always had been. Richie, who didn't know when to shut up, or when to just not start talking in the first place.

As if on cue, Richie spoke. "You know, I was here before, just before I met you. It was my birthday, not that it mattered. And not right here, but over there, on the bridge. The old road bridge. It's actually quite a way away, now that I see it from here, all the way up on that—"

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