Mireille is not certain whether it is mercy or cowardice that stills her tongue. In the end, the cause of her silence matters less than her silence itself. She and Kirika are both careful with their words, wary of the painful mass of truth and history poised along the brittle edges of their wordless union. History is dangerous, the truth deadly, and they have made a life together in that taut silence between revelation and confrontation.
Here, now, the truth: Mireille is a killer.
She knows death, intimately. She knows the weight, and shape, and texture of guns--this one, that one; in her purse, at her shoulder, sliding into her palm. Mireille's fingernails are manicured, her hands are soft and unblemished, and her weapon is maintained better yet. Mireille is beautiful, but she is at her best with a gun close by, and Mireille is never at less than her best.
Her best is this: alive, and whole when the whole world rings with gun shots, rasping breaths, and the sudden, shocking sound of silence. She is at her best, surrounded by the scent of gun powder, of fear, adrenaline, blood--the stench of death, never clean, never civilized, though Mireille pretends at both. Mireille has known death her entire life. She has seen blood, and brains, and shit, and it is horrible, and it is hers: her profession, her choice, her life.
The truth is, Mireille is a killer.
And so is Kirika.
Long ago, far away, another truth: Mireille was a tragedy.
Before she was a killer, Mireille was blonde ringlets, big blue eyes, and confusion disbelief horror mommy? mommy? mommy, please! The room smelt of mother's perfume (exotic), and father's cigars (expensive), and blood, blood everywhere: in mother's hair, staining father's jacket, spilling out across the floor. Father's pocket watch, still playing, and the sound of her own breaths--quicker, and quicker, quicker, building into a wail.
Mireille learned early and well what it is to lose everyone, everything--mother, and father, and brother; her home and her place in the world. She knew then, and now, that grief makes everything distant, unreal, and too sharp, unbearable.
This is the truth, and it is terrible.
There is another truth, more terrible still, and it is one of which they do not speak.
Mireille sometimes dreams of death: blood and gore, and her family made grotesque. She dreams of her mother's blonde hair, stained red with blood; her brother's hand twitching against the floor; father's wide staring eyes. Dreams of loss, and grief, and anger, and looks across her dead to see Kirika.
Kirika, who Mireille loves, though she often times wishes that she had never had cause to know her at all. Kirika, who she loves now, still, despite everything. Kirika, who killed Mireille's family. Whether it be mercy or cowardice that stills her tongue, Mireille does not know, but she presses her cry into her palm when she wakes from such dreams, and does not speak. And though they know the truth, Mireille does not speak, and Kirika does not speak, and they ignore the weight of things left unsaid.
She has never thought herself a coward, and has never led a safe life, but Mireille embraces the safety their shared silence offers her now. She can't ever forget that Kirika's tragedy is her own, that the girl who shares her life is the one who stripped away the life Mireille might have had--took her mother, and father, and brother, and left her with death, and grief, and rage. Mireille can't ever forget, but she pretends to, and never says:
"Tell me. Tell me what you remember of my parents."
She never says:
"Tell me how they died. Tell me how you killed them."
There are a hundred questions Mireille might ask, and she knows the answers to them all. Mireille knows violence, and death--knows murder--and mother and father and brother are no different in death than the men and women dead at Mireille's hands. Mireille is a killer, and she should not be so surprised, so angry that death dare to touch her own life.
The answers to all of her questions are to be found in Mireille's knowledge of death, and grief, and Kirika.
There is no comfort in the truth, and there is less in letting go of Kirika.
Silence is heavy, but Mireille and Kirika have grown adept at loving each other around their silences. They are here, now, together, and when Mireille tries, she can almost mistake their silence for peace.
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