IV. March to the Scaffold (Part I)

“Just you wait, my love.”

Under the boisterous urging of Mrs. Gilabre, who was utterly bewildered by the caliber of elegance and grace Madame Crisiota, Esther’s mother-in-law to be, bestowed upon their household during her ladyship’s inaugural visit, they were wed as soon as the date was calculated. They moved to the Baron’s estate, merely a couple days fare away, shortly after (ah, for the sake of blessed serenity and the newlyweds’ mutual selfish desire of having each other to themselves for once). Esther could only say that she was pleasantly surprised with the wealth and well-bred tastes that was her new home: a handsome architecture in the safety of an enormous ground (yes, even more than her father’s property), framed with woods and waters in a symphony, further sweetened by the songs of happy nature and the very thought of the grounds’ master.

All was well. Sirius devoted as much of his time from business to her, resuming their long walks and talks and merry-making together. And every night she would let him kiss her worries of the day away, lulling her to sweet dreams in the safety of his arms.

As the environment became her over time, she retreated from the initial excitement of exploring the estate and learned to spend her own time on artistic ventures of prose and paint. This was also convenient, as it came to her notice, after a miserable morning of headaches and vomit, that she was with child. It was the summer following their union, and the world was only too thrilled with the news. Her parents immediately visited her to check on her health and congratulate them (excessively). Madame Crisiota did the same, though with a much quieter regard as she bestowed a loving kiss upon her children’s brows before promising Esther to find her the best of midwives and gifted her a detailed journal to prepare her for the inconveniences of motherhood. Others came, too, as soon as her parents polluted the world with the news. Once the meetings over teas and sweets were over, they returned to the comfort of their privacy. 

One afternoon months after, she decided to invade her husband’s office declaring her purpose being to paint his usual views of the park during his work. To tell the truth, she merely longed for his company and felt childish for not having a valid excuse for this intrusion. He didn’t seem to mind much, allowing the peaceful quiet to settle snugly between them as earlier conversations died down to the scratches pens against numbers and brushes against facades. 

“I really hope that he will grow up to look just like you,” adding a flourish to her latest masterpiece, Esther heard herself say stupidly.

He looked up from his writing, a small grin gracing his lips, “Why the bold assumption of our child being a boy?”

“I just thought…” She peered over the canvas, savoring the way Sirius’s locks caught specks of sunlight. “I don’t know, it is too inconvenient to be a woman.” Only just realizing the implications of her comment, she sank into her stool to obscure herself.

“If that’s the case, I will just have to make sure we remove the unnecessary inconveniences.” She heard him get up, making his way towards her in a teasingly slow gait.

“What if it is not so easy to remove such things?” She tried to focus on her painting, ignoring his advances until he circled around her and wrapped his arms around her from behind, his chin resting stubbornly upon her shoulder and his breath light against her neck.

“I thought you said you were going to paint the view of the park,” he whispered into her ear, the rumble of his voice made her knock over her colors. He apologized, assisting her in roughly wiping up the mess with her handkerchief while continuing, “still, it looks more like a helplessly lovestruck (and awfully clumsy) man waiting to become a father, wondering about how his beloved is still growing more beautiful each day.”

“Oh, you sycophant, stole my opportunity to be poetic,” she leaned back into him, resting a clean hand upon his cheek. “What if I say that all I see in nature is you?” she brushed her lips against his, nestling happily within his embrace.

“Then I would just be happily flustered,” he continued to speak softly into her ear.

She sighed and reclined into his frame, her eyes half closed, “Canopus. Your father’s name sounds good.”

“Maybe…How about Angelica? Your mother’s name would do very nicely.”

“No, I don’t want our child to aspire to be a nervous lady.”

“Ha,” she felt his hands resting on the slight hill of her swollen stomach. “How are you feeling?”

“Bored…how do you like Zacharias?”

“Oh, am I boring you? What about Annabel?”

“No, you are not….Stephan?”


“For a baron, you are quite unconfident, Sirius.”

“Esther is a lovely name.” “You should go back to your paperworks…and did I mention that Sirius is quite poetic.”

“Aww, you are so eager to be rid of me.”

“I am not talented enough to paint without a reference.”

“Didn’t you say you see me in nature? There is a window full of it right there.” 

“Oh shut it. I just wanted you to finish your work earlier today…”

“Hmm…these letters can wait…” he spun her around and claimed her lips with his own. She felt herself instinctively tugging him closer, and his touch broke her breaths until…

“My Lord —“ a clueless boy assisting with stewardship barged in; the two of them sprang apart, he immediately folding his arms behind his back and started for his writing desk while she fumbling to prepare feigning distraction with her painting and realizing that her handkerchief was gone. “Oh, uh,” forcing back the laughter in seeing his employers furiously blushing, the boy managed, “Apologies, is this an inconvenient time?”

“Of course not, Abel, when are you ever intruding?”

“Alright, thank you, My Lord. Mr. Elon is requesting an audience.”

“I shall be there in a moment.”

Abel bowed deeply and left the couple to their own awkward devices. There was a pause before Sirius laughed, a hand shot up to brush back his disheveled locks. 

“Abel could make for a good name,” he reduced the distance between them again, giving her a light peck on the cheek before heading down. “I shall see you a little later, love.”

“Alright,” she returned his smile until he shut the door behind him.

The study was quiet now, and she lost interest in her paint. Instinctively, her hand went to her abdomen, stroked and rested there as though that would polish her future while she contemplated searching for her handkerchief, but thought otherwise as she was distracted by a pair of robins.


The time eventually came that she was to give birth. Madame Crisiota fulfilled her promise in finding the most experienced midwives and physicians to her knowledge and paid them handsomely as though to compensate her son’s stubborn insistence in being by his wife’s side through it all. So, he remained as she sweated and gasped and screamed (she might have cursed Lucifer, Eve, and/or God, she cannot recall), his poor hand crushed and cut as she dug her nails into it in her agonized grasp. It was not until long after the midwife happily overlooked the eccentricity of the couple to pronounce the health of their twins that he withdrew from her and inadvertently drew her attention to her abuse: he attempted to make a fist with his bloodied hand and flinched visibly. She wanted to apologize, but she was overwhelmed with breathlessness and fatigue and most importantly, the cries of her children. Her children. She opened her lips to speak through her panting, gathering her remaining energies to reach out for her babes, but fell against Sirius’s shoulder instead. He might have held her, the midwife might have showcased the two bundles of wrinkle-faced joy to her, she did not know. All went by in a bit of a blur as she fell into a feverish slumber.

She woke in the middle of the night, now in fresh clothes and tucked in the familiarity of their bed. Immediately, she was seized by an unforgiving chill that made her realize Sirius’s absence and clutched her blankets dearly. Her teeth chattered slightly from the cold or the unsettling pressure upon her heart and head, her body still numbed by pain and its killers, she assumed. Their bedroom zoomed with unsteady floors before her, the silks of curtains all so far and aloof. “L-Love?” Oh, was that the croak of an injured animal that came out of her throat? Her breath quickened, she never liked the quiet. “Sirius…?” She expected a stirring or an echo of happy cooes of her newborn children, but all was stilled. “…L-Lo…ve?” Her throat ran dry, and she stifled her unexplained anguish with a shivering gasp. She sat up. The moment the shell of silken covers fell slightly from her body, an icy grasp of air seized her. She cried out, cowered and was terrified. She shut her eyes and the world.

“Esther?” She didn’t notice until the door opened and closed. He was there, his eyes boring into hers with sheer concern and love and guilt. “Oh, my dearest.” He found his usual place in their bed, pulling her into him in a gentle yet enveloping embrace. 

The world steadied when she was pressed against the soft fabric of his nightshirt, his firm chest; his lips pressed against her forehead in quiet whispers of comforts. 

“How are…how are…”

“They are fine. You have been through much, just rest now.” The unnamed pressure began to lift, and she felt sleepy once again. “Esther, how are you?”

“I…” the question wasn’t different, but she couldn’t assemble the words no matter how much she tried, the icy grasp left her head burning. “I…”

He placed his hand upon her forehead, “Esther, you are awfully feverish.”


“I must call the doctor. I will be back.”

“…Fine…I’m fine. No…”

“What is it?”

“Don’t leave.”

“But, you need medical attention. I will only be gone for a moment.”

She made a sound, a low moan so childish that she curled up into the safety of her blankets as she whispered. 

“What, I didn’t quite hear you. Do you need something?”

“Don’t leave,” she fisted a handful of his shirt, raising her voice just by a small degree. “I am…terrified. Please don’t leave.”

There was a truly conflicted frown twisting his features, “I am sorry, love, but it’s only a moment or so. I will be right back.” He managed to pry himself away from her, giving her one last reassuring peck on the cheek before hurrying out of the room and out of her sight. The room swerved again, and her only defense was the possessive claim of sleep in forcing her eyes shut. She might have grown faint.

The next few days passed with her in and out of consciousness with a feverish trance. Her husband kept pulling her back from her illness more effectively than any physician’s medicines with his magnifying assurance and the mere comfort of his presence. Still, she was in great pain, and no incantation of her name or gentle embraces could change the reality of her failing health. Was she to die? The question became desperate when one day, she lost count of the days, Corah held the older son for her to see with a maid by her side, carrying the younger one in his cluelessly sleep.

Why, why, why…She became so weak that she could hardly move. Perhaps the end was near, the unusual gentleness and the void of maternal harshness in Corah’s voice was more than enough for her to know that she was dying.

Then came a night, when the last doctor shook his head and retreated from the bedroom, she was left alone with Sirius, who had to sleep in the guest room during her illness when he didn’t fall asleep kneeling by her bedside.

“My dear,” his voice sounded so gruff and strained that she could see his raw eyes and pale cheeks vividly despite her blurred vision. He sat down at the edge of their bed, his hand reaching out to grasp hers. She never noticed how calloused his hand was until now: her fragility made even his aristocratic hand seemed rough. “I am so sorry.”

Why, it’s not your fault, she wanted to tell him, but mumbled unintelligibly instead.

She felt him turn with the rustle of the sheets, and he chuckled bitterly as though he understood her and disagreed, “I promise, I won’t let you die,” he squeezed her hand. “You have yet to name our sons and yet to watch them grow and yet…and yet….” He turned away in his passion, got up, and sat back down. He, too, had his share of unintelligible mutters. “Just you wait, my love, I can save you, just you wait…”

With a newly set determination he got up, seeing that his wife fell into a feverish slumber once again, got dressed and cloaked and exited the room after peering at his lover one last time.


One morning, she woke to find herself wrapped securely in the comforts of her blanket, her vision clear and head free from the plague of her infectious ache. 

“What on earth…” perhaps this was heaven, her good health suggested such. She clamored upon her side and sat up. The expected sores struck her, but her fever was…gone? She dared to get up from bed, and though she nearly fell from fatigue, she was otherwise fine. What on earth…?

“Esther, you are awake!” Ah, Sirius, walking into their room beaming despite his apparent pallor and creases upon his brows that she did not recall seeing before.

He ushered her back to bed, attributing her extremely impossible recovery to a new drug the physicians came up with. She didn’t have time to doubt before he urged her to get more rest as he had to deal with business in town. He promised to return in two days, and expressed that he trusted she was in good hands with his mother and Corah around. Then he left, just as unexpected as he came, both of them not knowing that it would be the last time they were to meet normally.

For he did not return in two days, but rather, two weeks, and by then her miraculous path to health made her almost as good as she could be. For the brief two days, she was merely an overly joyous mother of Canopus and Gabriel. Then after the two, she pined and worried for her husband’s unexcused delay. Eventually a letter came, hurriedly pardoning himself with a simple “there had been complications.” So, she waited, laughed little, and waited. 

Then came a night, when she was preparing to retire to bed, a knocking sounded upon the glass doors to the veranda. Before she screamed for her attendants, however, she vaguely heard a familiar voice calling her name, muted by the glass panes, but still, familiar. Arming herself with a candle, she approached, discovering that, leaning with one hand pressed against glass, was the figure of no other than her beloved. Immediately she unlocked the doors, allowing him to stumble in.

“What on the goodness of this earth, how did you…” she recalled that they were situated comfortably upon the third floor. Before she could finish rattling on about logistics, she found Sirius falling to his knees. “Sirius, are you alright?” Despite his protest, she removed his cloak, revealing a stain of deep scarlet on his side where his gloved hand made a futile attempt to staunch its steady spread. 

“My God…What on earth happened…?”

“It’s not as horrible as it looks, Esther, but we really don’t have time…”

“Stay here, I shall ask Corah to fetch the doctor…”

“No!” The sudden outburst made her pause in her way. “Please, Esther, just listen to me. We have to go, now, no one can know of this,” he pushed against his knee, scrambling upon his feet with her assistance. 

“What nonsense are you babbling about…”

He grasped both of her shoulders firmly as though she wouldn’t value the weight of his words without having a bloody glove staining her clothes, “There are certain things that I really should have told you a long time ago, Esther. I abstained the truth from you simply because I didn’t think that I would have to…” He looked down at the marble floor between them, sighed; then she realized that his grasp upon her was only for his own nerves. “Look, Esther, I am afraid you will never believe me, but as it now comes down to this, I can no longer lie to you.” 

“You are scaring me with all this talk, Sirius.”

He looked up to meet her troubled gaze, his looks wild and disheveled and his brows heavily knitted in pain and indecision, “I am sorry.”

He then began a splendid monologue that made little sense to her at that moment, “I suppose, to put it simply, the Crisiotas have always been…cursed. Well, I thought it a curse until very recently, anyway. Shhhh, let me explain. Every Crisiota has a special ability nearing the supernatural, if you would call it. And, mine…is to manipulate the passage of time and space with the understanding of the entirety of human existence…”


“Shall I demonstrate?” Seeing no opposition, he did just so: with a flick of the wrist a fabric of air twisted above his outstretched hand, producing, she blinked several times to confirm, her handkerchief, dyed by spilt paint of a fusion of colors from a canvas weeks ago. She took the handkerchief from him, feeling the wet paint without fully accepting or comprehending.


“Yes, it may seem so…”

“Why, this is quite…I don’t know how to phrase it…why haven’t you tell me of this earlier?”

“Well, in order for me to utilize this power, I have to…I have to find time by…,” here he paused, releasing her and taking a slight step back. “…I…” 

“What have you done?”

“…I can’t just twist time without sacrifices, Esther, the time that is displaced is spent at the price of…lifespans. Or rather…the unspent years of lives that…”

She was cruel enough to break his euphemism, “you killed people?” She could taste the weight of her question in the flimsy, leafy air as they both forgot to close the balcony doors.


“How many?”

“Esther, I…” “You said you are going to tell me the truth, then why obscure it?” 


“Even I can believe your insane family curse, and yet you do not have faith in my ability to withstand the news of atrocities you committed?”


There was a sharp intake of breath that she did not notice was hers, and she asked “why?” though she guessed at the answer.

“Well, that’s not the important part, we — ”

“ — NOT important, you said? You took away the lives of fourteen men and it is not important to you that you at least have a justification?”

“I have a justification to fool myself with, and it would be most effective if I would hold it to myself—“

“—Don’t I deserve to have an explanation for the sudden savagery of my dearest husband?”

“Yes, but…” “Then say it: at this point, the half obstructed truths are more painful than the full picture.”

“Please, I don’t want to pollute your conscious any further—“ 

“Can it be polluted any further?! You think anything can hurt me any more than knowing that the love of my life is a serial murderer who hides himself from me?”

“…Esther, I am so sorry, but the only reason I told you any of this…was just to explain the current predicaments…” He swallowed hard, allowing himself to fall into the chair by the bedside and twist his hands together. “…if you must know, if this appeases your conscious of my character, then I suppose I can only say that…it is very unlikely that the medicine of our time is so effective. I had to…find something that could actually save you…”

She released a shaky breath that she forgot she was holding, “You…so it’s all because of me…”

“No, absolutely not, it is my curse and my decision to bear: you weren’t conscious enough to agree to anything anyway…no, please do not blame yourself —“

“— I made you dirty your hands, our name, our future, everything…what of our children? What of…what of…” it was her turn to collapse, and he reacted in time to catch her though she involuntarily flinched at his touch: the same look of hurt that she remembered from a distant memory passed by his façade briefly and it only made her hate herself more. 

“It has nothing to do with you, Esther, it was my own irrationality and carelessness…”

“…Yet I am the impetus, though I never asked to be saved, their blood is on my hands.”

“I am sorry.”

“…Fourteen, fourteen…they all died just because some supernatural entity favored me…”

“I am sorry.”

“…I would have gladly died had I known the price of my life…I would have…” She wanted to repeat it for conviction, though she couldn’t since she had enough of lies for a lifetime. At this she pushed against him and found herself at a more comfortable angle seated at the foot of their bed while he retreated to his chair, leaving him out of her direct sight in fear of betraying the slightest disbelief and disgust in the fact that he was a killer.

“I…am so, so sorry, Esther, please stop blaming yourself for something that you clearly did not take part of…Besides, they were voluntary…”


“I made…deals with each one of them…the payments were exactly what they demanded…” Right, so he bought their lives with their permission: that certainly made everything justified. “Then, somehow the authorities found out, now…” He drifted off, and she was too much engulfed in turmoil to decipher that as a warning that his wound had been mostly ignored.

“Right, and I am assuming that they were the ones who delayed your so-called business trip and put you in this current state…I still don’t understand why you didn’t confer with me earlier?”


“And, why…is there just absolutely no way for you to utilize this ability without the expense of innocent’s lives?”


“How on earth is all this happening…Sirius?”

She finally noticed that he was faint and for a moment the insanity of the current situation ebbed past her as she rushed to his side. The hazel of his eyes were half closed, his skin cold with sweat, his breath haggard. Perhaps she was too selfish in her anger to ignore the bleeding gash across his side, she still managed to chastise herself as she hurriedly attempted to bandage his injury with the bits and pieces of knowledge she collected over the years of living in her father’s library. Why and what were all these things happening? Did her current action condemn her guilty by association? Why did he think it wise to kill just to save her life…? She knew the answer to the last, though she would much rather pretend that he was too rational for such inhumane atrocity. “Ugh…” He groaned as she pressed against the broken skin with much more pressure than necessary. She made a decision which she felt she would learn to regret, and immediately her natural reactions in putting his safety before carrying out this decisions proved that she lacked the conviction to even proceed to remorse: she was going to inform Corah, call the servants, to…to turn her beloved in. It was the only chance at both of them not having to live the rest of their lives in infamy and guilt and shame and tainting the lives of their children with it. Let him have the sweet release of the guillotine, she shall bear the blunt of his murders and the weight of life.

She found her cheeks soaked with two streams that she wasn’t aware that existed, so she took a shaky breath and fell back onto the floor. What did she just contemplate? He was her love, her life: how did she dare to think of betraying him? He was made desperate by their deep bonds and was driven to his actions. Yet, for her. For HER. Just imagine the weight of the trigger, or the downward stroke of a blade. No, no, no, perhaps they could all escape this somehow. With his ability, the four of them could…just maybe, find a different niche in the entirety of human existence to blind themselves of the blood upon their hands. They could move on, laugh the nightmares away, blame the Crisiotas for having cursed their descendants with such ungodly powers to begin with. But, but, how…

“Love,” he came about drowsily. “Please forgive me for having overwhelmed you with this unnecessarily belated revelation…I…”

She shushed him, tying an unreliable knot upon his makeshift bandages as gently as she could manage, “We must leave, I know, we can discuss this at a later time.”

He was evidently taken off guard by the sudden firmness in her tone, but pursed his lips to hide the surprise, “Right.”

They concocted a plan of taking the four of them two decades into the future while staging it all as an accident of sorts. By fire, she said, that they should purposely set the manor alight and leave it all to burn. “By then, no one would have bothered with past trifles and would assume us gone from existence.” Though she saw him flinch evidently at the idea and her willingness to conjure such a thought, he acquiesced under the impression that this was all for the best. She, too, choked at the very notion of this plan despite the fact that she was the chief orchestrator. When he looked up at her, meeting her glassy eyes, he started.



“…I suppose it’s only right,” he ran a hand through his matted hair, a slight smile disturbing his otherwise deep-set frown. “I suppose it is only right that way.”


A film passed over the depth of his eye briefly, “Oh, actually nothing.”

Then the unbearable silence filled the air between them, squeezing, unrelenting. She cleared her throat with the intention to speak, but had no mastery over her nerves to do so. They then managed to agree on setting off tomorrow night, and she rushed to make the proper preparations with a poorly made excuse for Corah: she was packing under the pretense that Sirius was still on his trip, and that she wanted to surprise him since he said that he missed her immensely. Corah appeared convinced and saw to it that her mistress had all that she asked. With the conflicted conscious of an accomplice, Esther found that her convictions for remaining by his side only grew to be greater with each box her servants filled with her belongings. Perhaps, the entire world didn’t have to know of the atrocities that saved her. Perhaps, they could all just fade into the creases of time and be forgotten. Perhaps, they could one day continue the soft innocent embraces and walks and kisses and surround their children with only love. With this thought she went to bed, putting her thin strings of morality to rest. 

She woke to a general buzz around her, the sky a pale dark grey obscured by half drawn curtains,.”Lady Esther!” A gruff hand shook at her, and she was broken away from sleep.

Before she could rebuke the servant from entering her room despite her instructions against it, the gravity of the voice only made her panic and notice the fact that Sirius was gone, “What is it?” 

“You are finally awake, My Lady.”

“Yes…I believe it’s not even that late just yet, Corah, what was it?”

“No, you have been unconscious since two days before: are you alright?”

“What..” She searched around the room for a proper reaction and explanation, and the first of the latter brought back the mirage of a look of remorse in her mind that made her heart skip a beat with its implications.

As though to answer her inquiry, Corah added, “The constables wait at the door, My Lady. They have already called yesterday…”

“For what reasons?” Her attempt to feign innocence seemed more than forced to her. 

“They wouldn’t say, My Lady.”

So, she was dressed in a mighty hurry and escorted to meet the constables, “Gentlemen, what brought you two at this ungodly hour?”

The two constables, seated at the guest room with perfect uneasiness in their grey coats and shifty eyes, jolted to their feet at her voice and turned to greet her politely while she curtsied in return. “Apologies, Lady Esther, but we have to inform you of some horrible news.” The shorter one spoke with a nervousness that puzzled her very much, and by the constables’ lack of displayed suspicion, she assumed her puzzlement was mistaken for a commonly dull female mind and not that of an accomplice.

They went on to explain that her husband had been arrested on the charges of countless murders and was to be brought to trial in a matter of days. At this point, she could hardly contain her confusion and blurted out a “what?” that was so improper that she didn’t care. 

“It must have confounded you, My Lady,” the taller one spoke now, his beady eyes darting away from contact. “We are very sorry.” Perhaps this was the place for her to faint or beg for their pardon, she wasn’t sure: instead, she merely turned her knuckles white clinging to her gown: under the growing pressure of her nails digging into the palm of her hands, she suddenly remembered. So, was this what he meant by “it’s only right that way”? A fool, a total fool her husband was.

“We understand this revelation must be bizarre and painful for you, but we must ask you several questions, My Lady.”

Their voices droned on, and she folded her hands beneath her chin to hide its tremor. Their speech was but formalities, each syllable gravitating her further away from their triangle of discussion as she puzzled the significance and consequences of Sirius’s decision together to form an ugly picture.

“Lady Esther? Are you alright?”

“…No,” she muttered, rising to her feet to excuse herself. “I am sorry, gentlemen, I…I simply need some time before I could be of any use to you…I am sorry.” With that she ignored the bids of understanding and possible pity and bolted out of the room.

She passed by Corah, who pulled her out of her original trajectory towards utter panic and into the drawing room, “Lady Esther.” There was an absolute resonance about her voice that forced the frequencies of her heart’s flight to regular. “This,” at this she produced a large pile of crumbled letter from her pocket, “His Lordship left it for you.”

“How did you…”

“He told me of it,” and that was enough for Esther to understand and to grasp the leaves of ruffled paper from her servant’s hand.

“Lady Esther…”


“You ought to act more distressed: it’s suspicious that you haven’t fainted or even shed a single tear.”

“Suspicious? Corah, you ought to know that…”

“…Not every constable in the world is an old maid that raised you, Esther. They wouldn’t know your tempers, and your unusual calm only frightens them and gives them ridiculous ideas that would enlarge an already outrageous case along with their careers.”

There was a sound silence audible to both women as another weight crushed Esther’s shoulders. Corah nodded gravely. After reassuring her swear to secrecy, the servant retreated from the picture while her mistress immediately assumed the security of the drawing room to decipher the mess of a script presented before her. She wrinkled her brows furiously to read in detail.

He did not write ill for someone who fainted from blood loss and knew of his ultimate demise, though the stark reality bled through the forceful attempt upon optimism and reassurance. He started with optimism, anyway, When I saw your expression upon hearing the number, I knew that it would not be possible for us to leave this all behind, he wrote. Another thing that I knew, was that I do not deserve your regards, since my choice of being held accountable by the law is only a way for me to avoid an uneasy future ruined by our knowledge of the atrocities that I committed, and a naive hope of clearing my hands, my name, with my self-justified life in hell. Yes, of course. She would do the same if she was now in the dim cell of whichever horrible prison of human depravity he was in now: to sound devilish and abuse her own character just so her loved ones would not miss her.

Yet, little did he know of her knowledge of this device, which took away the effect of it altogether. He called for her to take heart and flight, though requesting her to be present, for the very least, at his execution. This was…uncharacteristic. So, she read the last lines again, and again. And…

…again. The messy scripts did not morph into anything more palatable. So, she supposed, she would just have to force herself to look forward towards meeting him again.

Yet another failed attempt at optimism.


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