Heat at his back, sweat on his neck, splinters in his side. Only one thing screaming ...echoing ...loudly in his mind...
The assassin pushed himself harder than he ever had before, his body had never once been forced to move so quickly, leap before looking, push, shove, and look only forward. He knew he would forever be damned if he looked behind him. He knew if he looked back he would lose the courage to place one foot in front of the other. He knew the devil behind him would snatch his life the second he cared to glance.
Worse of all he knew he would be forced to look upon the horrified faces of others as they screamed, cried, begged, pleaded, and prayed.
The people of Libson would never forgive him. God would never forgive him. He doubted if he got on his hands and knees and begged and offered his own life to take back what he did....that it would make a difference at all.
He was knocked off of his feet time and time again, only to throw himself to his feet and force himself to move....move...move! Keep moving! That voice of dread screeched continuously in his ear. He felt so afraid, he an assassin of the brotherhood, felt like nothing more than a child who wanted to hide under the bed. His muscles pulled, twisted, burned, and even half fought against him a he made his way through the crumbling and burning city. He was sure sweat was pouring from his brow, or at least was enough to cause his messy hair to become plastered to his face almost making it hard to see.
So he tried to block out their screams but they would only become louder. At first they begged for his help, pleaded for him to help one pinned under the rubble that was once their lively hood. As time progressed the long road to escape became twisted, turned, crippled upon itself. He has run this road a thousand times. It would repeat itself as it was burned into his brain, into his memory, until twisting into the hell it truly was.
The voices were no longer pleading....they quickly turned into harsh judgment gnawing at his insides like a hungry predator.
One step forward and the ground crumbled beneath his feet. Surely the power of God at work! Two steps back and he could feel the tugging of hands on his coat. Now they cried wanting to know why. Watching as the city burned turning into some kind of hellish scenery, twisted faces, and the hands of the weak reaching for him.
“I am not to blame!” he staggered forward only to find himself more tangled with the hands of the damned wrapping around him like some kind of restless overgrowth. He felt so tired, but knew he needed to run... brown eyes flickered with the fire growing closer as he dared to look back. Familiar faces washed with agony. His brothers were standing there like ill-fated ghosts or maybe more like grim reapers with their hoods shrouding their bloodied faces. Hands firmly gripped around him as if they'd tare away his flesh if he tried to move an inch.
“Nothing is true, everything is permitted.” he felt the pounding of his own heart begin to slow ….and slow.......and slow...
“Stay your blade from the flesh of the innocent.” firm hands held his wrists high above his head, no matter how he pulled he could not hope to free them.
“Hide in plain sight, be one with the crowd.” A tender hand slipped across his right eye half-blinding him as nails threatened to dig into his skull.
“Never compromise the brotherhood.” he felt the cold steel of a loaded pistol press against his spine causing him to shudder involuntarily.
His hands were stained with the blood of thousands of innocent people. The assassins were to blame for everything, no, he was to blame for being so ignorant. In truth he wanted to stay with them and maybe he should have stayed, maybe he decided too hastily what to do, maybe things could have been different were he not such a foolish child. Maybe....
None of it mattered. What was a man worth if not his mistakes to be learned from. He did what he believed he had to do, and he moved forward, it was far too late to look back now, but that did not make it any less hard to. His heart was pounding so hard he thought it might explode any moment, it was pounding so hard his head was beginning to throb with his eardrums. He opens his mouth, maybe to beg or plead, but his mouth is dry, it feels as if it is full of sand filling his throat and keeping him unable to mutter even the smallest of words. It feels as if the urge to fight is being stolen from his core.
You've become a monster, Shay....a monster in which only hell awaits...
He wants to fight, but 'click' of a pulled trigger as the sound of the fired gun explodes in his ears and then everything stops...
Drowning over and over....until he hears someone call his name...
Eyes force themselves open as Shay finds himself sitting upright his heart pounding, eyes struggling to focus as his hand rubs its way down his face which has beads of sweat clinging to it. He is safe....the familiar smell of damp wood, the ocean's salty breeze and of swaying of the ship's cabin offer a little comfort.
"I'm home..." be breathes out the tiniest of mutters.