Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Page 1523

((Double Wednesday -- Page 2 of 2))
Jercash stopped in front of the largest remaining structure in town, seemingly. A clock tower. It looked like it had been struck by lightning a few dozen times, and its bottom floor was completely filled with rubble. The actual clock face was on the ground, charred black and bent, and Jercash prodded it with the toe of his boot.

That was a couple hundred years of history down the drain, some of which had been his own. He recalled stealing a kiss while standing in this very spot.

He felt empty.

A very familiar feeling.

“Are you alright, sir?” came Zenia’s voice.

Jercash looked at her. She seemed concerned about him. Of course she did. She was still young. And as far as secretaries went, she was probably the most doting one he’d ever had.

She was attractive, to his eyes, despite the scar. Perhaps even because of it. She was wounded, both inside and out. It complemented her, as a person, he felt.

All things considered, he might’ve married her by now, if he didn’t like her so much.

He patted her gently on the head. “I’m fine,” he said.

That seemed to appease her, and she relaxed.

What expression had been on his face to cause her to worry about him, he wondered? It wasn’t the first time she’d noticed something like that.

He’d have to be more conscious of such things in the future. It wouldn’t do to cause his cute little Zenia to be any more concerned about him than necessary. She already had plenty of reason to be worried that the Vanguard would kill him next.

He noticed Koh approaching from the right, and he had someone on his back. A little girl with frayed pigtails and ashes all over her. She was clinging to the Man-Eater’s silvery fur as if her life depended on it, and the look on her tiny, tear-stricken face was one Jercash had seen many times before.

Abject horror.

It was no surprise. The safe assumption was that she’d grown up in this town and seen it torn to pieces, perhaps even seen her own family slaughtered in front of her.

Jercash had no sympathy for her, old and callous as he knew himself to be, but he did understand what she was going through, at least.

She’d seen Hell. The Hell that humanity makes for itself. And in all likelihood, Abolish had shown it to her. Perhaps now, her eyes could be opened to the truth. Or maybe she’d simply direct all her hate at Abolish and grow up to take revenge on them one day.

It could go either way, at this point.

Heh, or she could alternatively take comfort in some pacifistic mindset. That was technically possible, though Jercash had yet to witness such a transformation with his own eyes. Pacifists had always interested him. They were like alien lifeforms--all but impossible for him to understand, but fascinating nonetheless.

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