Author : Steve Smith, Staff Writer

Chase peeled off her evening attire slowly, the fabric offering some resistance in the numerous places it was still actively staunching blood flow. The garments dropped haphazardly to the bathroom floor. The time for precision and planning was behind her, she’d clean up the mess once she’d slept.

Climbing the steps around the tub, she lowered herself gingerly to sit on the cool tile. Swinging her legs into the steaming liquid first, she gripped opposite sides of the tub and lowered herself slowly, not stopping until her head slipped beneath the surface, a crimson cloud blossoming around her like a rose.

She barely flinched as the fluid filled her lungs, oxygenating her as it cleaned the evening’s toxins from her insides. The bioagent surrounded her, slipping through her skin to permeate her deep tissue like smoke through cheesecloth, picking away at the scar tissue that was already starting to form, dissolving the deep hematomas, coercing the open wounds to knit from their depths out to the surface. The swellings slowly subsided, the throbbing aches eased, the fractures in her ribs mended.

All the while she lay motionless, the stain of an evening’s abuses slowly turning the milky white of the bath to a deep crimson nearing black.

She joked once that this tub had removed her last ounce of respect for her liver, and relieved her of any responsibility for it’s preservation.

On the other side of the city, in a similar tub soaked the inflictor of the cuts, and bruises, and other blunt force traumas she’d endured on this particular evening. He’d inflicted other traumas, over time, that even the tub couldn’t ease away, as near to magic as it was.

This other tub with its soaking man, however, differed in that even his tub, for all it’s advanced healing capabilities, couldn’t fix what she’d broken, or to put it more succinctly, couldn’t breathe life back into the dead slab of meat she’d left in its care.

It was a shame, really. She’d loved him, once, and for a time she thought they were the perfect couple, both at the top of their professional game, experts at solving sensitive problems involving… expendable people.

Until he betrayed her.

Why is it always those closest to you that betray you?

She’d instructed his tub to clean itself thoroughly, so it would be, at this very moment, diligently working to dissolve her once partner, once lover. It would be slowly atomically disassembling him, as well as the bed sheets and his clothing, the conch-shell decoration from the dresser, a coat hanger, two sets of chopsticks, two bourbon glasses and the handful of bath towels she’d mopped up and moved his broken body with.

In her pile of clothing remained an unfinished and particularly fantastic bottle of bourbon. She was an assassin, not a heathen.

As it turned out, he’d found someone he thought he loved more than her.

Silly mistake.

He’d also gone on to betray this someone, in the end, during the few minutes of begging she indulged him in.

Someone else would be tomorrow’s problem.

She was feeling her age at the moment, but she’d feel much younger come morning.

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