When everything is going to Hell, you could do worse than a cocktail. She could only find Martini glasses, so Martini it would have to be. No Vermouth in the cabinet. Sherry it would have to be. Bitters cover a multitude of sins. And sins, she reflected, cover up a mouthful of bitterness.

At that a grim, barking laugh in the draped, windowless silence of her bedroom. She found a pot of maraschino cherries, speared one with a cocktail stick and swirled it in the cheap, ugly Martini.

The door opened and in he came, clothing torn and seared. His skin was livid purple where it showed through the ripped seams. He was badly burned. Patches of hair were missing. She ate the cherry.

“Drink?” It was an invitation, but not a convincing one. She watched with disappointment as he staggered to the cabinet, poured a full tumbler of her best Scotch and drank it like an undergraduate attacking a lager.

“It’s getting worse,” he said, his words woozy and fading. “The fires. The… killing. All of it.”

“But you’re safe down here,” she patted the seat next to her. “Come and sit here, and forget all about it.” He sat, and he forgot. She finished her drink and sighed. The next one had better bring Vermouth.

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