Suffer, Unfit and Unyoung

or The Saga of Ishmael's Doom

The kid's name—it's Ishmael; I fight for his remote foe.

I'd kept a rare heart for complexity and injustice. I was but a youth, instructed to abide by Ishmael's orders until time carried me to an age of independence. I felt not sorry for cruelty; I preferred to bear an ox's yoke to a leery cleric's paper.

His letters piled upon food-tables. In spins Ms. Graham, sorting it carefully in algorithms not understood. "Anna, how can one sort mail?" "Access, merest access," said our best ally, "you can't seek fences sans access. Keep focus, love." I felt lost!

I had no access; only Ishmael's cheer begat effective trust in me. "I need to see a letter!" She left; I stood alone under a ton of mail, unsortable, inscrutable. Were I to check, receipt of an evil creep's pinching-dagger torture would be mine. The men move fast, yet I popped a single, top card, peered in. Fate was fixed. I got access, access to pain. Anna wept: "Damned man-maggot!"

A hopeless scramble caved in front, and I could not wed the letter-lots to their original pages. Weak, I fled away, into frontier lands of fiend-kingdoms.

I darted away, beyond Ishmael's land; I sought new lieges. One fought wars; he sent me to die. Hard months of hand-slavery—fishy, fake words in youth, just that day.

The rifle to the riot: it's fire to the cattle. The enemy's fire-cults thronged beyond his expectations. His followers robbed my new lord's bribe-crypt. I got a mission: Trick the errant devil, strangle him in the dead of night. A conscious, covert acceptance passed my wiry lips. I repeated over and over: "Correct, correct, correct, correct...." Truth is but a wartime tool. I never knew that the enemy was Ishmael! And I, his destined assassin!

Britain in 1652 was rainy; no war-criminal could contrive to deny it. I, a lone villain, clamped Ishmael's throat. He gasped for oxygen. The vacuum in his lungs exploded in a red color. No more came of lip or brain—a tiny coot, a dead fool, of no action but to cry. Errant believers rioted, abuzz with the acidic fury of evil.