Thursday, April 28, 2011

Trouble & Pigtails

I've been staying a step ahead of it.  My shadow.  Whatever the fuck that thing is that threatens me with death every time I stop moving.  I'm hoping that being ahead of schedule will help keep me from falling back under its chill.

I try not to look in the woods nowadays.  I always expect to see it there.  That gnarled, malevolent tree, oozing thick, putrid blood. 

Sometimes the worst part is who I see upon it. 

The many of them.  All impaled, or resting upon its branches, their innards spilled out around it as if some sort of visceral halo.  It’s....fuck...

it's numbing,  Look I know you all aren't too sure about this monstrosity, but let me assure you it's fucking real.

My heart fucking stopped, and shards of ice were thrust into my body upon SEEING the monstrosity.   I was pulled unto the ground as if gravity had tripled, and an unseen weight was pressing upon me.

And there at its roots, it sapped my strength.

To free the souls of those before, I fight.

I've been cutting through some backyards these last few minutes, as I typo repeatedly.  Fucking dog comes from nowhere, head of steam, and tries to take my leg off.   Just came running full speed, snarling.   It backed off when I didn't run.  Heh, it ran off whimpering. 

Can't show fear to lower life forms.  I've seen much worse than a dog protecting his home.

Reminds me of my situation, now that I think about it.

If he had stood up to me, maybe...just maybe I would've fallen before his bite.   Perhaps, if another succumbs not to fear, perhaps one day, we will fell our own foe.

Not that he's shown himself to me, not anymore.

So anyway, I told both of you readers of mine that I'd fill you in on this new Rika.  The psycho that's been pissing me off.

First, I think her name's Erika, I could swear I heard that when I first saw her, so that means she chose to go by 'Rika', to remind me of past issues.

That's not a problem, Rika 1.0 wasn't exactly a criminal mastermind.

And one last thing before I tell this short story...I know that some of you always found my altercations with Rika 1.0 to be humorous, and are probably expecting some sort of callback to my focused attentions on her rump.

I can respect that, we all need a laugh sometime.

Okay, what the fuck's up with the animals out here, just had two cats screech and run away.  Swear, if I find that someone's out here abusing animals, I'll be dispensing some instant justice.

A few weeks ago I was chillin at some Starbucks.  Not necessarily a net savvy kind of guy, but it's a place to charge my phone, and relax.  No one seems to mind a guy just hanging out.  Plus Runners hang out there sometimes, due to free wifi....

Got no fucking idea why this phone is still working.  I figured whoever was footing Nessa's bill would've cancelled service by now.

Heh, Evil is footing the bills,  that's sort of funny.

I was sitting on one of those nicer leather couches, relaxing.  I left all my 'work related' items outside, in an alley, that I can view from here.  Last I checked, uppity pretentious baristas tend to frown on 18 inches of sharpened replica POS steel on their premises.

I was typing away, making some comments, trying to explain the...ah...precarious position I've been shoehorned into by otherworldly forces, when someone sits down beside me, within arm’s reach.

Being as I'm a personal space sort of guy, I looked, already disgusted.

She didn't notice me at first, so I glanced at her for a moment.


She wore pigtails that seemed to be everywhere around her.  Her skin tone was dark, but with a rich brown hue to it.  Coupled with this svelte, runner's frame, was the fact she wore a tight red buttonless blouse of some sort, that showed off her more than properly endowed bust line.  The low slung jeans only added to the tantalizing appearance of the woman.

And then she smiled at me. 

I turned away, deciding it was time to leave.  So as I pushed off against the couch, using a hand to prop myself up,  I felt her hand slip under mine as I moved.

Muttering an apology, I felt the need to return to my work.  I hate the feeling of vulnerability, without my added protection from whatever mindfuckery abounds.  I felt the mask in my hoodie's pocket comfortingly.

My sword was where I left it, even as I scowled at it being so close to filth and garbage, this instrument of purification....

Her>>> "Running off so soon, sugar?  You barely even let me say 'Hello'"

I spun around, my sheathed blade in hand.

The beautiful woman had followed me, bounding after me.  Bouncing.   I was caught off guard

Me>>>  "Oh...sorry,  I can't stay, Miss.  Goodbye"

She stayed up with me.

Her>>>  "You sure you can't stick around for five minutes?  What's your hurry?"

Again I begged off of her, as I proceeded to hoist my backpack, and depart.  Moments later I heard a clatter of noise from behind me.

She had picked up a small sledge hammer.  Must've been in the alley for some reason.  Now, she had become a threat.

Me>>> alright?

Her>>>  Oh I'm fine, Sugar...But I'll be even better after you and I get done having a little fun here.

I kept my sword sheath before me.  She may be after my nonexistent money, but she didn't need to die.

Precious Life.

Me>>> What do you want?

Her>>> Wow you are thick, Sugar.  How the mighty fall, huh Zero?"

She knew my name.

She kicked a trash box out of the way.

Her>>> Or do you prefer Remnant?

Then she laughed lightly, sighing wistfully at the end.

Her>>>  Here I am all prettied up, ready to go, and who do I stumble across, but the 'Sage of Nothing' himself.

I didn't respond.  She might've been a Runner, she was certainly in shape for it...

Her>>>  Name's Rika, Sugar.  Now let's dance!

I readied to defend myself.  Thoughts of chivalry were tossed to the curb.  If this psycho wanted to take me on, there was no quarter to be given.

Giggling, she raised the hammer over her head, with both arms clasping it.

And then her smile faded.  Rika froze in her tracks, as she stared over my shoulder.

Something caught her eye, but I wasn't foolish enough to look away.  Not with an eight pound sledge so close to me.

I took advantage, drawing the blade finally.

She retreated a few steps

Rika>>>  Well...there goes my fun.  We'll have to play later, Sugar."

Her voice wavered as she fled.

I took the cue to investigate what she had seen.  There was a parking lot, and an empty street.

So that means she saw the monster just then, and I did not.

Why was she afraid?

Friday, April 22, 2011

With One Stone

So I've spent some time in the....fuck I can't remember the name...I keep wanting to say St. Vee's, anyway the Texas cowboy hospital and rodeo, or whatever the hell it was.  I got in there, barely feigning enough amnesia to get them to waive my personal info, to get my head stitched up.   I swear, I saw a doctor with cowboy boots.  That's not very encouraging shit, let me tell you.

You know what fucking hurts?  A concussion with a side order of three blunt cracks to the head.   So the order of the day was that glue they use now instead of stitches, and some gauze.  I took a few hours to just sit back and rest, letting the pain relievers do their thing poorly.  My head throbbed with each heartbeat as I laid in a dazed stupor, watching some banal program with disinterest.  It felt good to relax, to rest in a bed again.  Even though it was a sterile, bland room, I felt a bit more like myself, as I closed my eyes, listening to the soft hum of electric lights.

Sometime later, I suddenly lurched forward, almost vaulting out of the bed, as icy fingers ripped my lungs to pieces.  My shadow, my fucking shadow caught up to me so I had to run, I had to get out, before it killed me.

Barely had time to grab my clothes, didn't say a word to anyone.  So stupid, I took my mask off for too long, and it found me.  So I ran again.  I needed my supplies, my weapon  and my mask.

I stowed them deep in that park near the campus where I found Arkady.  Fucking stupid to just leave my stuff out there, I would've had a meltdown if they were gone.   Sort of reminds me of when Pied Rabbit lost his mask and freaked out.  Now I get what he felt, that sense of vulnerability. 

Anyway, my shit was still there.  Apparently, me running through the area startled every damn bird in the state, they all started squawking and flying off into the night sky, ruining any chance of stealthfully getting through there without attention.  My head swimming in pain and disorientation, I climbed up into the tree I stashed my sword within.  The dark humor was thick, indeed, as I mused over the last time I ended up in a tree. 

After I fell out of the tree, nearly stabbing myself in the process, I caught my breath, to soldier onward.

So, I tried to shrug off my physical pain, and threw myself into my task.  I found that if I stayed focused on the hunt, on the purification, that my shadow seemed censured, shying from conflict.  
Surely Arkady was as wounded as I,  and unlike him, I still had the use of both arms.  But he had numbers on his side, didn't he?  I remembered reading his work a time ago, but I had forgotten so much, yet the truth remained,  Arkady was marked, and that was all that mattered.  He had to die, for the blessed innocents.

I contemplated my next move in the park, when I felt the presence of someone else nearby.  Instinctively, I turned to my right, to see someone through the trees, on a path.  His form flickered...I can't explain it.  To my eyes, he was both marked and not.  For a moment, he'd stand out as if he were the only thing in my vision, and the next, trees obscured his form. 

Upon closer examination, as I stepped through the veil of night, I saw this person wore a mask.

A proxy mask.

I needed little more incentive to shuffle this fool off the mortal coil, but the unique aura about him begged me to speak with him first.
The agent stood beneath a lamplight, pausing for a moment.  He wore a smiling mask, the type you might see on stage, and an old school hat.  He sort of reminded me of Ghostface from Scream.  The rest of his clothes were casual enough, though he too carried a blade.

Now before I go further, I simply must say that this is unacceptable.  I appreciate the homage to my persona, by carrying swords, and wearing masks as you skulk around the darkness, but this shit is sacrilege.  I understand that to some of you, I'm a beacon of hope, the ole swordsage, delivering justice brutally to the evil fucks of the world, but I don't want you to dress like me.  It's appreciated, but discouraged.  I wouldn't want you people getting hunted by monsters and proxy agents due to a misunderstanding, alright?

So I approach Ghostface, trying my best to shake off the dizziness.  I end up using the streetlight for support.  I can only imagine the added light, caused my painted hoodie to glow as if fueled by astral fire.
I called out to him, irritated by both his mockery of my costume, and by the nagging pain in my right leg from the recent fall.  "Another masked joker, with a sword...I'd be flattered if I didn't know better."   I reached back to my pack to pull my sheathed blade. I was in a purely defensive mood until I could see him better.

Ghostface>>>'re zero, aren't you?

I admit, I enjoyed hearing the fear in his voice, even through his faux British accent.  I guess I did have a reputation now.  Good.  I needed every bit of help I could get, right then.  I shifted in the light, as I approached, my legs nearly giving out even before I left the streetlight's halo.

Me>>>ZeroSAGE...The name forced upon me, as the slayer of evil. As for you...I don't know who you are.

He chuckled at me.  The bastard saw me wounded, saw me as prey.  I wasn't fooling him with my bravado, and yet I maintained steadfast, hoping to keep an advantage on him.

Ghostface>>>  Well, perhaps I could say that know you would have recognized the mask...but no matter.  I suppose I could say you shall.  It certainly was quite a turn of fate to happen upon you, zero*sage*" 

I fucking hate proxies, and I despise cryptic proxies even more.  And this shithead was a cryptic, sarcastic proxy.   All three of him, as my vision blurred again.  I clutched my head with my off hand.

Me>>> You're trying to be clever,, riddles, annoyances... all of which come down to the basic point...that posturing of intelligence...a false and unwarranted sense of confidence

I needed to move, my legs were giving out.  I forced myself to walk around him, to assess him.  Maybe he was falling apart.  I begged for a sign of weakness from him, as I taunted him

Me>>> So are you going to start babbling binary at me now?

He laughed again, seeing through my every posture, every taunt.  I was fucked.

Ghostface>>>  “If I knew the binary for 'no,' I would recite it now. But no, I'm not. You see, Mr. 'Sage,' I have a mission…one I believe we actually share. You see, there is a certain gentleman--though I suppose that 'gentleman' couldn't be a more inaccurate word--going by the moniker of 'Arkady Svidrigailov.' I've come to kill this man

What did he want with my quarry?

A proxy sought his death....Was he a problem for the others?  Or...I was wrong to accuse him?  Surprisingly, I felt this masked fool wasn't lying to me.

So maybe I was wrong about Arkady.

Whatever, I told myself that I'd figure that out later, so I threw myself into the discussion, diametrically opposing him.  I could barely restrain my laughter back at him for once.

Me>>> Have you now?  He's not corrupted, hasn't succumbed, even if he's an arrogant prick of a man, he's still whole.  There's no need."

As I said the words, I started to believe them. 

Ghostface paused
Ghostface>>>  It is not a matter of succumbing to anything.

He seemed pissed, I could hear a growl in his voice.  I struck a nerve, and I intended to work that flaw as if I were a hyena.

Ghostface>>> He may be whole, but he is still corrupt.  He murders senselessly without any thought for the life he is taking.  He is a menace not only to his enemies, or even the people around him.  He is a menace to society as a whole, but then again, I suppose he's not the only one..

Me>>>  So I'm a menace?  From you, I sort of like that kind of talk.

Ghostface>>> I could almost say about you what I've said of Arkady. That monster mask of yours isn't the only one you wear. You've taken your own title back, hiding the fact that you're a murderer under the veneer of righteousness.

I didn't disagree, I'm placing a ridiculous amount of belief and trust in this vision, but his sudden anger made me nervous.  I drew my blade. It must've made a beautiful display, coated in the same paint as my hoodie.  Glowing as a sword of light in the dark.

Me>>>He *is* evil, I'm not blind to it, but even so...he is whole, and every life is sacred in this fight.

My vision spun, causing me to stagger.  The longer this conflict lasted, the worse for wear I was going to be.

Me>>>  You cannot proceed...and I will kill a poorly costumed knock-off, to save a man's life today.

Ghostface>>>  You speak of saving lives, but how many have you killed for a scheme that is, pun unintended, bone-headed?

I shuddered, my hands grew cold.  I saw my blade lower before him.  He knew of evil, but did he know what I have seen?

Me>>> Have you seen...the Bleeding Tree?

The ass laughed at me again.  I raged internally, screaming at myself to pick up the weapon, to cut this fucker down.

Ghostface>>>  The bleeding tree? I hardly think it's real. More than likely, it is nothing but a delusion you used to cope when your grand plan failed. Tell me, SAGE, how did it feel when no one showed up?

Enraged, I screamed.

Me>>>NO!!!!  It''s real, horrible...

My heart raced, as I felt warmth in my hands.  I had to stay focused.

Me>>>  I can kill it, and…if you stand in my way, a moment longer...then I will carve my answer from your bones.

He paused.  Fear...yes, Fear, I can use that.

Ghostface>>>  I wish I didn't have to do this.  I respected you, Zero.  You didn't deserve everything you had thrust upon you, but you dealt with it anyway.  I know firsthand how hard it can be to have people looking up to you when you don't deserve it.

Ghostface>>> However, you gave up the title of sage a long time ago.  You can't simply claim it back, especially not after you've lost your Marble Hornets.  No, you're no sage.  The only title that fits you now is "Murderer". You're a dangerous man, zero.  And I'm going to make sure that your last refuge is the sweet release of death.

This asshole punned my blog.  That would've been amusing, if from the Pied Jester.  I smirked beneath my mask.

Me>>>  You read my blogs, well ,,,,then you know why I won't stop!

I attacked, charging him in a clumsy rush, hoping to end this with a single move.  He saw me coming, even as I staggered forward, blocking my assault.

Ghostface>>>  Right now, your life is a fate worse than death. 

He shoved me back, trying to stab me with the tip of his blade as I stumbled backwards.

Ghostface>>>  You've become something vile...

My lungs exploded, as he drove the point into me.

Ghostface>>> And the worst part is you didn't even realize it.  I'm sorry.

With a fucking replica piece of shit sword....mine got sharpened, at least.

Ghostface>>>  I respect you, but that's why I have to euthanize you...

I doubled over, clutching against him as best I could, I had to keep him from being able to swing.  I grasped his jacket, slamming the blade's pommel against his side.   My hilt struck him in the ribcage, frantically I repeated the maneuver, buying some time. I gasped, trying to regain my vision, and my breath.  He fell to the ground, crumpled under the blows.

Me>> How...the fuck...can you much, in combat?

He lay there, panting, a hand braced against the ground, the other on his side.

Ghostface>>> There are staying in shape.  

He started to struggle to his feet.  I couldn't let him back up, I screamed at myself to move.

Ghostface>>>  And there are benefits to working for the dapper gentleman.

There, it was him, the monster.  All the shit he's put me through, what he did to...
Amelia.  My vision started to clear.

I just needed a moment more.

Me>>> How...can you talk about justice…and work for that...

I charged him again,

Me>>>  MONSTER!!!!

He didn't suffer the worst of the blow, but my sheer force, colliding with him, threw him to the ground.  I took advantage, scrambling atop him, as I struggled to get my sword to his throat.  He held the blade in his grasp, blood streaming from his thumb, as I cut into his hand.

Ghostface>>>  Tell did it feel when you gave Nessa to the enemy...I hear she's dead now, you know.

I put my knee into his chest.  I felt his breath escape.  My lungs caught on fire.

Me>>> She taught me that I the corrupt.   You're already dead.

I pressed into his throat as he croaked.

Ghostface>>>  How did it feel... when he didn't show?

Three times, he's asked me now how I've felt...I responded with the only answer available.

I ripped his throat to pieces in a smooth motion.

Me>>>  Like this.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

With the jawbone of an ass

Well, these last few days have been entertaining, in the same way that the oppressive, hell-driven life of mine has been enjoyable.   I've had the shit kicked out of me more times this week then I have in the entirety of high school.

Now, for the record, I was going to talk about this new Rika, who needs to stay the fuck away from me, however, things came up, and some of you loyal readers, both of you hopefully, have read of some of my activity lately.

In my defense, I don't remember being so easily bested, but to the conceited motherfucker victor goes the spoils, and I certainly did not win that fight.  Being blindsided whatever the hell that asshole was, wasn't exactly in the gameplan, but whatever.  I move on, and survive.

Arkady....Arkady is still a target, he iss still dangerous.  The man was saved some fucked up proxy.   Fucking saved by a servant of evil.   And he still claims he's not working with the monster...


Traitor to the cause of men.

I struggled with his rescuer, even if I could barely see him,  I saw all I needed, to cast judgement on him.  There was no 'mark' upon his spirit, but his body seemed so gaunt, so ragged, that it was obvious of his intent, and corruption.  Even with my battered form, and injuries, he could stand not the righteousness of my cause.  The bastard nearly fell apart as I slew him.

And with his body, I sent a message.  Breaking every single bit of him that I could, save one piece. 

No...that bone is due a greater purpose than a warning towards evil.

That bone shall be among the others, to pierce evil's heart.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Do you remember?

Do any of you readers remember, back a year or so ago?  Before this shit all started.  Before we ran for our lives, or hid, or actively sought out danger.

I've been thinking today about how...stonecold weary I am of everything that's happened lately.  My hands nearly give out, thinking of the mental strain, the anguish I've had to endure.  I'm sure some of you have had it as bad...if not worse.

But I can't stop.  It is like a compulsion, one to move forward, and bear the weight that keeps piling atop me, from whatever it is that is right behind my back.  I just

I just can't tell. 

So I'm heading a bit southwest now, on foot when I need to, and other means if they present themselves.  Things just seem so strange, being in another part of the country.  I can't even  I can't see the sun, I think.  Is it this...aura, this thing that has latched onto me that keeps me from rejoicing with the coming of the dawn?

I'm just so tired, I would weep if I could, half the time I can barely even pick up my sword, not that I have had need to the last few days.  The last person I confronted, I wasn't sure who he was, he could've been mad, could've been evil, but I couldn't take that chance.  I didn't 'see' him, you know?  The bad ones, I can see them, even as the world turns to grey and ash around me anymore.

goddammit, I can't do this.  I can't live like this.  I can't tell if I'm good or evil half the...fuck...I just...fuck!

Things keep changing.  People that are seen as...well, as I guess the same way the sages were seen...the notable ones are so different.

Fucking to have been saved.  I

I suppose I believe him.  I remember him, when he was a punk, sniping at me in my blog.  I'm sure you guys don't know anything about that.  But does that mean there is salvation for everyone if this is true?  Even the ones that I've hurt?  Does that mean that even I am not too far gone?

Work of angels, a work of mercy, performed sullenly, and without bravado...

And then one of you started talking about the Astral Plane, and I remember all that I went through, feeling it was my duty to confront him there.  With no success.

Never any success on my part.

I..I couldn't even see him, even if he was there, I still can't, not since he took Amelia from me...from us.  I can only think that it was that..that thing Greenlight told me about, that I could transfer her pain unto me, and I did.  The sole thing I've done that might be considered 'supernatural', for all the good it did poor Melody.  What even was the point of my work, if I COULDNT SAVE ANYONE?

I keep thinking about that time, how I vomited, how I fell ill, how I nearly died, and how those government people kept questioning me.

So can I not see him again because that 'transfer' wore off?  Would I need to do it again?  Is it possible he was there, at that night, and I couldn't see him? 

Would I need more blood to fight my monster?  Is that why the tree bleeds?

The tree
the bleeding tree,  for two days now I've seen it naught.

This shit is just so surreal.  People talking about surfing other dimensions, and monsters.  Here i'm doing this horrible, morbid work to save people.  Others are getting progressively worse, as well.

Fuck, this has to end.  It
It has to end, godDAMMIT

I can't even tell why I am doing things, but I just have to believe that maybe if this gets done, either he'll die or I will.  Right now, I just don't care who.

just fucking kill me already, let me die.  I've done such rotten horrid things, let me die already, monster in the dark.  get this nightmare over with.

But I know, even if I do die, I'll suffer in torment.  He's eating our souls, and we will never be at peace.

Monday, April 4, 2011


I'm being followed.  Something just seems to be behind me, just out of sight, as if it were my own shadow, looming over me as I move.  Its...there's something out there, behind me.  I don't know what it is, but I can feel it.

It's not him, though...that thing is different.  It has this aura about it, the monster, you all know.  I mean I haven't seen the monster in three months.  He doesn't care about me anymore.  I care about him though.  He killed some people I liked.  I saw them as my family, you know.  All you guys that I talked to back in the day, you all helped me...and here I am...well, you know.

It's so fucking bitter.  I have to, guys, I just...

You don't understand this vision, this need.  Its like my hands move and

I'm compelled.  And I don't understand why God would do this to me.  I never even believed in him, but someone is out here helping me, coaxing me along.  He's here to  Help me.   Ever since my helper rescued me
from that horrid tree, the Bleeding Tree.

Fuck, the

Fuck.  I keep seeing it, every turn I take, if there's a treeline...this huge dark space fills it up, blood oozing out of the ground.  Its face dark and shaded, almost human.  It judges me, it waits.

It fucking waits for me.  It knows what I am doing, what I need to do, and it judges me, it fucking...

A few weeks..or maybe days, I can't remember anymore.  I checked my email...and people were talking to me, they asked for help.    Five of them sent me emails.  They didn't forget about me, I guess.

The first, I forget her name,  Kelly I think...  No...not Jill, Jill fell, she died earlier.  Kelly...

She was in poor shape, when she wrote to me.  Binary code laced her words, I could hear her suffering in every word she wrote.  She left a phone number, begging me, begging zerosage to help her.   It had been in my account for some time, but I decided to call.  My job is to help everyone, that's what Robert pushed me to do.  That's what you wanted of me,  how can I refuse to help?  People look up to me.

When I spoke to her, I tried to remain calm, to passively reassure her that I was en route to help.  What I heard in return was a woman who had lost all hope.  Her voice cracked in stress, her silences were belabored with tears and panic.  My heart wept, just hearing the..the sheer pain and passion in her voice. 

It took me several days to investigate, to find her in Ladoga.  Kelly was blonde, her hair trailed down her back, caked with mud, blood and sweat.  She had a dark complexion that just made her dark eyes stand out more... would've been beautiful if her face wasn't all smashed up, cut with glass.  I chastised myself, purging my lecherous nature, restraining myself from leering at her.  I simply needed to speak to her.  I needed to help her.  She told me about the monster, how it followed her...  I've heard it all before, of course.  However, Kelly was smart enough to check the internet, in hopes of rationalizing her delusions. 

She tried every possible conjecture to ward him away, strange symbols scattered over the room, garlic, and crystals were scattered over the home.  Lately, she had simply lost the will to live, having decided to drink to excess, and failing that, overdose on Nyquil, in hopes of a night of peace...of death.  I could hear that...that soulless droning, that should've been called a lovely voice.  It had no spirit, no...inflection.  She was dead inside. 

Have you ever watched a person become reborn?  I sat with her, and talked to her.  I could relate to her situation so well, that for a moment, I saw life in her eyes.  She was not alone, not with me there.  The fire of hope just barely flickered.  She begged me not to leave her, to take her with me.  I agreed, of course.  She was once a beautiful woman, and she needed me.  I was here to help her.

As she packed her things, her mind preoccupied, rattled with the concept of survival, I walked into her room behind her, and removed my mask.

I am an average man, I believe, but when she turned around towards me, she saw me as god himself, I think.  Kelly came towards me, crying.  I held her tight against me, feeling the soft warmth of her body, her supple curves against me.  As gently as I could, I whispered to her, that I would take care of her, that I would make her right.  She closed her eyes, and nodded softly.  I kissed her on the forehead.

She never saw the knife.

My stomach wretched immediately as she fell backwards, my eyes shut tightly.  I couldn't bear to see the look in her eyes.  The look of betrayal.  I...I can't bear it.  So I sat there, on my knees, as I heard her gurgle, and vomited everything I've ever eaten.  Tears rolled down my cheeks as I tried to explain, in a solemn whisper, that I would save her.  She just had to trust me....

After I was certain she had fallen silent, lifeless, I set to my grim task.  I..
I didn't want to.  Really...she was beautiful, she needed me.   But she had been taken, she wasn't human anymore really.  She had almost become one of them.  Kelly was too exposed to the evils, the darkness outside our time.

I covered her face with some blankets, heaping clothes atop her until only her left arm was visible, and then with my knife, I cut into her. 

Tendons and ligaments impeded me, to the point that afterwards I picked up a serrated knife for this purpose.  I cursed myself, screaming wordlessly, as I begged forgiveness from her, from everyone.

The tree outside stared back in.

Judging me.

I claimed the bone, THAT bone, the one to stop him, stowing it in my backpack, then moved on.

It sits there now, next to the others.
Next to Amelia's.

Forgive me, Amelia.  I am still here to save you.