Live and Let Live

Steeling your nerves, you meet the youth in combat. As the drums continue thundering, you dodge another lunge from your opponent, inciting the alumni arrayed around you to resume wheeling in a mad Bacchic frenzy. Then, the pivotal moment: the youth lunges again, only this time you catch his arm, and begin struggling over the shiv. He’s strong, but you’ve been polishing off your Tae Kwon Do recently, so when you kick out his legs from under him and find the shiv in your hand, you aren’t too surprised. What shocks you, however, is delivering the killing blow – the youth struggles to push the shiv away, but you keep applying pressure, smothering him, his legs kicking helplessly, until the blade pierces first the skin, then the heart, and the eyes widen, never to close on their own again.

Panting, you collapse beside the body. What have you done? You never thought you were a killer, always considered yourself a sensitive soul, a lover of Legos and Simon and Garfunkel once upon a time, yet now blood is on your hands. You pull the shiv from the dead body, wipe the blood off on your Lucky brand jeans, look around.

Stillness. The faceless alumni have stopped dancing and fallen into child’s poses, each bowing to you. Ajax stands back, tears in his eyes. ‘I knew you could do it, Fava’la,’ he whispers, though you can’t even hear it.

Instead, you are watching Achitophel, who is undressing and approaching you, all lustful smiles. I guess this is what comes next. You’d never looked at her that way – you were only friends, after all – but now it’s hard to look at her otherwise. Are you going to go through with this? You don’t know. You’ve killed someone, and thus become a stranger to yourself. Were these the fantasies of power you harbored, holed up in your nondescript office? Or are you still willing to snap out of it now – to remember civilization, and return to its trappings, albeit with bloodied hands?

You will never know. A gunshot rings through the air. Achitophel, looking down at her breast, sees blood pool from it, and she collapses, dead. You see Ajax turn only to fall, as well. The campus police have arrived, wielding AR-15’s, and the alumni are scrambling, shocked out of their choreographed stupor. Calmly looking down at the shiv in your hand, and the slain youth on the stage, you are overwhelmed with horror at whom you’ve allowed yourself to become – with the body of Achitophel a perhaps even more chilling reminder of how far you could have continued along this route. Evidently you’ve lost touch with your liberal arts required courses since graduation, and this bizarre ritual only brought out the truth of your depravity. Was there any way you could have survived this misadventure not only alive, but also with your sense of self-worth intact? Good question, but it must remain hypothetical.

Chin up. You can always try again.
Credits

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