violence/vacancy/verism

MadTree

Riding through the morning fog a few months after joining the guild, the waves crashed and split at the shore on my right and I saw a body lying upon a wide mesa to my left. The mesa was composed of rock and short grass and I left my bike and walked over toward the body, expecting it to be a dead person, it was too odd a place for a person to rest without a blanket. When I got close I saw that it was a man about my age and that he was not moving. There was no one else around and I kneeled down to look closely at the face of the man, his chest slowly rising and falling. I wondered who he was, why he was lying there. He didn’t appear to be sick or wounded, but it was cold and the mesa was fogged over and when I reached down to touch the man his eyes opened wide and he grabbed my arm tightly with both hands, biting hard into my wrist. I shouted and tried to jerk the arm back from him but he was too strong, his grip was too tight. I hit him twice in the nose with my other hand and he let go of the arm, rolling over onto his stomach and folding upon himself. I was alarmed and hurt and I stood up, blood draining from my wrist. I looked around and there was no one on the mesa, no one down the road or behind me in the fog, and so I stood over the man and hit him in the head twice with closed fists, five times, then kicked him in the ribs and the back, the rage uncontrollable. I beat the man with my club, pounding him in the head and the torso, my senses heightened and focused, a ringing in my ears. I tried to imagine the man as the one who’d nearly killed me with his sword, the one responsible for my pain and chronic nightmares and I beat the man until he stopped moving, until he stopped breathing. I walked back to the bicycle and pedaled into the growing fog, the world silent. I can still remember the way the man’s head felt as my fists pounded it, his face mashed blood and flesh, a sack full of mud.

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