Whitey had followed Blake and John back to Joey's house. Blake stayed outside while the others went inside to explain what happened with Joey. Whitey made herself readily available to consol Joey and to pray for him and Anin's soul. Between his broken arm and the mental exhaustion of the night's events, Blake was ready to check out. He situated himself as comfortably as he could in the front seat and closed his eyes to sleep. He didn't mind the corpse of Bryant in the back.
Later, John and Whitey exited and walked slowly together to their cars. "How often do you have to do that in your line of work?" John asked "Break some bad news?"
"More than I like," Lena responded "Often times I arrive because something terrible has happened. Take Frank Anderson for example; I get to return to him and let him know the origin of this nightmare is defeated, but that doesn't bring his family back."
"There's closure though," John commented "And his daughter may come out of her coma. There's some hope to cling to."
"IF she wakes up, she'll never be the same."
"But she'd be alive."
Lena allowed a slight smile to creep across her face. "I like your optimism," she said "You and Blake are a lot alike, but you differ from him in all the important things."
"You really don't give Blake a fair shot," John responded "Granted, you both bring out the worst in each other. I swear, if I didn't know any better, I'd say you two were getting off on your animosity."
Lena's smile dropped to a frown. "Don't you ever suggest I get off to anything Blake related.
"I'm just saying," John said with his hands up as defense "You and him are a lot alike as well. And you both needed each other to fight off the scary monsters at the end."
"I feel tainted for his assistance."
"See, that right there is unnecessary."
"People died directly because of him."
"He honestly wanted to save Anin. I don't know how much clearer I can be abo-"
"What about Bryant?"
John paused. "I'd be lying if I said I'm upset he died," he said "But from what I understand, Clyde was the one who cut him up like that."
"He didn't bleed out," Lena corrected.
"How would you know?"
Lena sighed. "Human Clay is incredibly taboo, if not outright illegal in some circles," she said "It requires a human sacrifice; One life force forfeit so it can grant a physical form to a spirit." John said nothing to the revelation. "Look," she continued "I doubt I can convince you to how the rest of the world sees Blake. I just hope you'll be careful. He seems like the type who shouldn't let anyone get close to him."
"I know a guy," Blake said in a dismissive tone "He'll return the car good as new."
"Did you know Bryant would die?"
"That Human Clay trick. Did you know it would kill off Bryant?"
"I take it Whitey gave you her biased take on my tactic."
"Blake, a lot of people have died in our line of work, but Bryant...that was deliberate."
"It had to be someone," Blake said after a pause.
"What gave you that right?"
"Look, obviously there's no defending the ethics. I've already told you it was a desperation move."
"As for why Bryant; Who else was there?"
"That doesn't make it right."
"He wouldn't ever have to answer for what he did. No way to prove those creatures were once human. No prison sentence for releasing unspeakable evils from outside our world."
"I'm sure even in the circles we travel, there would be an authority he would have to answer to."
"With what proof? Circumstantial testimony from the three of us who were in there? Fat chance."
John said nothing.
"Look at it this way," Blake said "Because of him, we were able to stop the big bad. Redemption was forced upon him."
"Doesn't make it right."
"Doesn't make it entirely wrong either."
"Not a very ethical view."
"Utilitarianism makes more sense."
The next several miles were in silence until Blake broke in with "And don't let Whitey fool you with her holier than thou routine. Even her moral compass waivers when there's a selfish gain for her."
"I don't get that impression from her," John defended.
"Holy Warriors like her are meant to be a team of two."
"So where's the partner?"
"Which brings us back to her moral compass..."