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I see her screaming. Screaming with joy.
She bounds down the dirt path, ecstatic, and I am pleased for her. Such as her is rare, so I let her pass. Next comes her suitor: Unlike her, he is still saddened, as before. I know why: They have got to him. I watched it go on all night – it was slow at first, but in the fields I saw them – they can’t hide from me. The scoundrels. He is laughing maniacally, driven mad by their evil.
“Wait up!” He shouts to the girl, “It was just a deer!”
I must end his pain. Can’t you see? He’s suffering. I reach out from the shadows and grab his shirttail as he passes, whirling him about and into me so that I can see his unhappy, infiltrated irises. They stare back at me in abject pleasure. He has been hoping for me, I can see, wishing for me to catch him – to make the pain go away.
And I will.
Tick. Merging. Tick.
I burst out of the underbrush and I can feel the pricklies bite at my legs, sending up a lot of burning pain. I stop in the middle of the dirt road, and bend over, catching my breath. I brush myself off and stare up at the full moon – except – it isn’t full anymore. It’s half. How the hell did that happen? I’ve no idea. It hits me: Jacen is still in the woods.
I turn back, peering into the darkness, searching for any sign of him. He’s definitely not near me – and I’m definitely not going in there. Now, if I was in there, I’d want him to come looking for me – and I’m sure he would – but I don’t want to go back in there at night. It’s dangerous! I’m sure he’ll understand if I just go home, and let him wait till morning to seek his way out. If he’s not back by noon, I’ll simply tell the elders about it. They won’t understand, but they’ll help.
So I head on down the road, my arms folded, rubbing absently at my biceps. It doesn’t help. For some reason, I feel I should run, but I don’t – I walk, and I don’t know why. It calms me down, my adrenaline departing. I guess, now that I’m “out of the woods,” literally and figuratively, nothing else bad will happen tonight. Wrong. It run my hands through my hair and find it filled with twigs and dirt and what not. After further searching, I find one caterpillar. God Fucking Damnit! I love saying that…but why!? Why did it have to be my hair! I’ll never hear the end of this.
Curse you, Jacen – you conned me into making out with you! Uhg…I can’t believe I…
I can’t stay mad. It’s pointless. But I’ve got to act the part, now don’t I? If I act like I feel, which is uncaring, then I’ll be made even more fun of. I spend the rest of the walk home picking at my head, finding new pockets of twigs and stuff in the many folds. God damned forest.
How is it that my brother never had these sorts of problems? You know what, I bet it’s because he was so good and perfect that he never once tripped up, and even if he did, I’m sure the trees would lend a supporting hand to keep his holy anus from touching the ground.
Suddenly, a wave of severity washes over me as I walk into the door of my house. I left with Jacen, but didn’t come home with him. I think the consequences of this night may be serious – but they may not be, as long as I don’t make a big deal of it till the proper time, which is tomorrow. I make my way up our cobbled wooden steps, across the hall and into the bedroom that I now have all to myself.
That bastard better come back.
You should have heard his cries of joy as I slowly let it all out. It had to be slow; can’t you see? If I end it all at once the evil will stay with him, moving on with to the afterlife with him. So I had to keep the poor thing alive, and slowly, but surely, cut the evil out. The whole time he was crying out to me with such fervor – at one point the ecstasy was so great he passed out. I was glad for him.
When he awoke once more, I told him that the process was almost complete – now I had to remove the face they had put on him.
“No,” he cried, “Please…just kill me!” He pleaded like this for another few seconds – and I emphasize with him, I wanted to help him, but I had to hold back till the end. I took my knife too that joyous smile of his, and carved around the outline of his features, slowly and deeply. He howled with pleasure, anticipating the end of the pain. And then, with one pluck, it came off. He let out one final shriek, then fell silent. My work was done – for him, that is. Now I must carry his pain. For that is my lot.
Another soul saved from them.
Since we cannot control it, we are slave to it. Whenever we try to stop and examine a single part of it, we are already an infinite number of parts downstream. What is it?