After Vendrick

I feel as if I’ve been branded.

Yes, intellectually I know he wanted to die — was doing everything but begging for it.

But… it is the first time I’ve intentionally… slaughtered anyone. And it was a slaughter.

I know that bridge. I knew the axe was there, it’s always been there, the Raggedies are very careful about that. After Vendrick disarmed me, I ran for that bridge, that axe. I grabbed it and swung with all my strength. His head parted from his body in a spray of blood that was too vividly, nightmarishly red, even in the moonish light.

And now I am a Bringer of Death.

It is not an “accomplishment” that rests easily on my soul. It seems, in fact, like yet one more thing to manage, here — like the wounds, the nightmares, the scandal —

–like the incremental, day-to-day loss of one’s soul…