The Road by E.E. King

I didn’t mean to kill her – not really. But it’s hardly an excuse- especially because I’d been hired to do exactly that. I can still see the moment of death – I probably always will. It was less gruesome and more final than I’d expected… if I’d expected anything.
            Truth be told, the only death I’d anticipated was mine – mine and my three companions. We had been sent to kill her, although a less likely gang of assassins you’d have been hard put to find. Not that that is an excuse.
            It might well have ended differently, all of us dismembered, burnt and hacked to bits. It certainly seemed the most likely conclusion …. If only she hadn’t gone after my dog.
I’ve had him ever since I was a girl, the only spot of color in my grey world. When she’d threatened him, I reacted with the closest element at hand – never pausing to consider that it might be deadly. That is how passion is – action without thought –and there you are – locked up and awaiting a trial that can have no good ending.
            At least my dog is safe- for the moment at least, locked in beside me, small furry heart beating a drum beat next to mine. I hope it’s not a death knell. He licks my face, his saliva mixing comfort with my tears.
            I’m less afraid of death than partings – endings. What will happen to my three companions? Will they be dismembered, burnt and beheaded? Were their ends predestine? Is mine? Was hers?
            I can still hear her shrieks and see her body writhing, smoking in pain – then nothingness – the flame of an extinguished candle. I will have to live with that, if live I do. I will awake to the smell of her passing like burnt hair, and fall sleep – when I can – to the fact that I am an annihilator – a destroyer of worlds. For isn’t each person a world unto themselves?
            True, she wasn’t a nice person –but even the saintliest among us had done evil – it’s only in fairy tales that princesses are solidly good, and witches completely bad, as if they’d been carved from a single element- soap -or chocolate – diamonds or coal.
I may be dead soon, thrown from the parapets or torn limb from limb – but for now- here in this cell all I have is time. Time to consider the universe. Time to reflect on my actions. Time to wonder if it was my fate to be a murder. Time to ponder if it would have been better to be the one who died. In a single instant the world can slip through your hands and shatter – impossible to retrieve as an egg.
            Earthquakes open chasms while you’re wishing on a falling star. How odd this world is. You wake up as a sweet young girl and by dinner you’re a murderer. Who would have thought that water could be more deadly than hate? If only she hadn’t gone after Toto.

E.E. King is an award-winning painter, performer, writer, and naturalist – She’ll do anything that won’t pay the bills, especially if it involves animals.


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