Breaking the Surface

I’d cut too deep. I knew it soon as the knife came back up, knew it as soon as the young man bled, and my hands shook so’s I almost dropped it. wrong/wrong/fake/they’ll know/they’ll run you out/or worse/worse

When the older woman came and took the knife, she was shaking her head at the boy on the stone. “Been a long time since anybody bled like that.”

“I killed ‘im,” I whispered. The maggots were screaming.

She just clucked her tongue. “Now honey, you think you know better than Mara?”

I looked at her, not trusting myself to say nothing.

“Whole point of the exercise is to trust in her, ain’t it?”

Sure I’d known that, but…

She put her arm around me and we stood like that for a few minutes, together, watching him bleed in the cold. “Priestess’s done working once the blood falls, you know. You can come in and eat some. Get your mind off it.”

“No,” I was shaking my head. “I ain’t much of a priestess, and if he dies I wanna be here for him.”

“Suit yourself.” I didn’t hear her leaving, but she was gone by the time I went looking around. The night went on. The boy kept breathing, real shallow now.

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