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 I've never been one for words, yet no one should ever find this, at least not from here.

This desolate, goddamned hill.

I sit alone. The sun has managed to peek its way into a lifeless winter sky, bathing the grim horizon a sorrowful, plasma-orange.

A time of morning - A time of mourning.

From up here, I see the world for what it truly is, cold and lonely. The leaves have deserted the ocean of trees before me. No bird sings in them, no wind moves their branches, they stand withered and barren as my wilted soul.

The old keeper had warned me. He told me this would come; told me I would be undone by my hate, and yet - I didn't listen. Not far from par.

But, God, how right he was.

I tried to change the cruel hands of fate and in turn, played right into them - a loser at a losing game. Fate is a strange thing. I would shed a tear if I could, but there were none. My tears have long past bid me farewell, like dusty wells, dried up with the rest of the world. So with that, I wait. I sit upon this dreary hill and just - wait.

The rose is all I have left. I run my thumb along its pedals; smooth as silk, scarlet-red as ever, unlike my clothes, crusted brown with the remnants of dried blood.

Her blood.

Rage flares up from inside me, but again, smothered under a blanket of guilt. It took a while to choke down the realization, but I know the fault was all my own. I glance at the welcoming dagger driven into the dirt beside me.

No

I don't deserve a quick death. I don't deserve an easy way out. What I deserve is what I have done to her, and tenfold. These memories, o' God these memories will plague me until I draw my final breath. I could sever my ears, but I would still hear her desperate screams. I could pluck out my eyes, but would still see her face stricken with horror and despair, there was something about gutting someone that brought out a more profound layer of fear - true fear, while they watch their innards spill before them in a heaping pile of morbid panic. They say there is beauty to be found in everything. Eventually, I discovered even death had a certain beauty to behold. I found that my art was murder.

And I was exceptionally skilled at it.

Skilled so, that . . .

I stopped there. I shoved the pen into the dirt, and ripped up the parchment.

I stood and threw the pieces into the pile of wood and kindling I gathered. The keeper's words returned to me once more, picking at my thoughts like a flock of fucking buzzards, eating what remained of my sanity

We are all molded by ash.

Made men by ash

Undone, by ash.

I laughed aloud up into the vacant sky. I have to admit, I found humor in that. The old bastard and his sayings. I will never forget that glassy look in his eyes, dreadful, but oddly complacent, reflecting the subtle flames of the camp. He had foreseen his fate. Had known it all along, embraced it even. Quite a shame I had to slit his throat. His old tales and proverbs became nothing more than gurgles as his mouth filled with his own blood.

I moved to the pile's center and upturned the canister. Oil seeped through my garments. I took a drink as it emptied. I have to say I'm not sure what I expected, but it wasn't pleasant. Then again, how long had it been since I had anything near a drop of water.

It was time.

I watched the match-fire flicker as it fell. Rose in hand, I took one final glimpse of the sun, and in that moment - that last moment - I for once felt at ease.

"What would I give to behold

The smile

The face of love

The rising sun

Will always

Speak your name

Forgive me."

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