When We Do Wrong Chapter 2: Cruelty to Animals


I tossed my head before the herd, rearing into the air. The steppe stretched out in every direction, to the far corners of the world. Here, it seemed that the world could go on forever. This was the birthplace of my kind, of the Horse, the Wheel, the Word. Across the great highway of Eurasia, things spread at a terrible speed, rushing out to embrace change. But nobody lived on the highway. This was not where we were meant to live.

“My people!” I cried, in the horse’s tongue. “There is a place, a place where the water runs across the ground in great bands, like the dust! There is a place where greens grow without end, towering into the sky, begging to be eaten, succulent and sweet like you have never tasted! There is a paradise for us!”

My people whinnied and spun, circling curiously,

“But I must warn you, my people. These places are filled with humans. Humans who would put us to work, bridle us, saddle us, enslave us. These humans cannot be trusted. They must be destroyed!”

“We cannot kill humans,” said one of the mares, her voice soft and gentle. “They have weapons which can strike us dead from afar. They build pits to break our legs and creep up upon us in the night, and break stallions till they are submissive as mares. This paradise is a trap.”

“No. We cannot kill the humans alone. These foreign humans are dangerous, it is true. But what if we were to have humans of our own? To own them? Humans to carry weapons and strike each other down, while we reap the profits. There is a great warlord who even now seeks to sweep through these lands, to raze them clean of humans who will enslave us. When we have aided them in this, we can take our freedom, the freedom to run through the green and never stop! To never thirst, to never starve! The end of our toil!”

“How can we trust the humans?!” whinnied one of the young colts, tossing his mane. “What is to keep this warlord from enslaving us, just as all the rest would?!”

“They shall invite us into their camps! Keep us close! Keep us by their sides, and depend on us! If they should betray us, we can throw them from our backs, trample them into the dirt, spill their blood, crush their skulls! We can leave them behind! For we can survive without them, but they cannot survive without us! Once this war is finished, we can be free! Come, my people! Come!”

“Madness! I shall not allow it!” shouted the stallion of the herd, and he charged at me. I ended his life with a single blow from one of my hooves to his great neck, shattering his spine with the blow. He struck the ground, and there was silence for a moment.

“Do not allow fear to geld you! Paradise and plenty can be our rewards! Follow me!” I turned, and rose onto my hind legs, whinnying wildly before setting off at a flat gallop. My people followed, first in a trickle, and then in a great river. We ran wild and free under the endless gray sky, as the wind whipped through the air and through our manes, setting them to wild spinning. I cried out my joy into the air as we rode into the future, and my people did the same.

They would be used, of course. The mares milked, the colts clipped. They would become beasts of service, they would carry their riders into battle, they would die. And they would never, ever be free. That was a simple lie, the easiest lie, the one that every living thing fell for, that freedom waited around the corner. But they would not starve, they would not die of thirst, and the great warlord, though a harsh and uncompromising man, knew the value of a horse. He would treat them well, and so far as I was concerned, freedom was not worth a thing compared to a good life.

I myself had not lied. Even the horse’s tongue contains ambiguities. They could be free. They would not be. I knew enough of my condition to know that my fragile state was vulnerable when I lied, when I contradicted- but I could always justify my statements to myself, and that was all that mattered.

There are those who would call me a betrayer. To lead my own kind into the chains of service and war, telling them that there would be a future that they would never enjoy, that they would never appreciate. But I did not care. They would have a future.

Days later, as the horsemasters broke in the new and feral herd, I walked through the camp alongside Temujin, the two of us surveying the camp. My hair hung down my back to my hips, long and glorious, the mark of my true nature among these people. The other humans gave me a wide berth as we walked. We took a seat together as we watched the horses being trained, broken to the ways of men. Three chairs had been set together below a silken tent. I did not remark on that, though I was not sure who else he had invited.

“It does not bother you?” asked Temujin. “That they may die on the campaign?”

“They would die here,” I said. “The herds swell, the plants grow poorly this year. Many of them will die if they do not spread. It is not as though we have a choice in the matter.”

“I suppose you’re right there.” Temujin chuckled. “There is a woman I would like you to meet. I think that you will find her intriguing.”

I turned my head. The third chair was now filled. A dark-skinned woman with hair the most brilliant shade of red sat in the chair, her green eyes shining. She smiled at me. “Hello, Mustang.”

“Ah?” I said, frowning.

“A name. It’s not yours yet, but it will be, one day.”

“A witch,” I said.

“No. Something far beyond that. You have a drive to survive, Mustang. One that goes beyond any other concern. That is a rare and beautiful thing, you know. It is something that drives all beings, the desire to survive. And there is no need like the need to survive. The willingness to risk death in order to win a chance at life. It’s terrifying, uncertain, full of fear and the chance to die. But it beats the slow death, doesn’t it?” She nodded her head towards the gelding field. “You have as good as killed those colts so far as nature is concerned, taken away their chance to reproduce. But they don’t know it. They’re still alive. They can be selfish. For the purposes of life as a whole, they are worthless. But to the individual, is it not better to be gelded than to die?” She laughed softly. “What a strange and cursed world we inhabit.”

“Who are you?” I asked, an eyebrow raised.

“I am your patron’s patron. He’ll turn against me, eventually.” Her eyes flickered over to Temujin. “Every man scorns me eventually, when he has achieved power. I am not nearly so seductive and loyal as my sister, Conquest. But it is in my nature to keep making the same mistakes, isn’t it?” She leaned forward, and studied me. “Do you want power? The power to survive, to avoid the fate that awaits everyone here? It will cost your people dearly.”

“Yes,” I said, without hesitation. And she kissed me.

“My people! We have been betrayed by humans before, but these humans are different!” I cried, to the herd.

“We left the humans. They rode us heavily, they treated us poorly. We will never be ridden again,” said the stallion, tossing his mane threateningly.

“Even now, your former masters ride across this continent, eager to dominate you once again. To place you back in bridles. To set you to work. And they will not treat you kindly for having escaped once. There is a dark fate that awaits us. If we seek freedom, we must find comrades! The people of this land seek to resist the invaders, to resist our old masters! We can work together with them, to fight back against the Europeans!”

“This land had horses once,” said one of the mares, her voice soft. “They were hunted, driven to extinction by these people. We can feel their bones beneath our hooves.”

“They were weak! They did not understand how to work with humans! That is the nature of humans. But we shall be taken into the heart of these humans’ culture! They shall ride along with us, treat us properly, not like the old masters! Work with them, and we shall gallop under the blue sky across the endless prairie!”

The horses whinnied and tossed their heads, exchanging their glances, uncertainty visible in their movements. I reared up onto my hind legs, kicking at the air wildly, and came down hard, kicking up great puffs of dust. I turned and ran, and my people followed me like a great river, whinnying and galloping with the sheer joy of exertion under the cerulean blue sky as our manes whipped and snapped in the air.

The Mongols had swept across the land, and we had carried them to the very edge of Europe. Then the great highway had ended. The great grasslands had given way to thick forest, and where we had once reigned supreme, we found ourselves stymied. The campaign collapsed. My kind had fallen back. I had travelled across the sea, to this new place. To seek once again to save my people. On this great and open plain, where the grass grew into eternity, where the world was empty, where my kind could rule supreme. My distant ancestors had died here, but the Europeans had brought forth these wild horses. The Mustang. The name finally made sense to me. This was the place where I was meant to be.

I lead them to the tribe, where they would be taken in, where they would be sheltered. Travelling together, finally protected, to give both sides a chance against the damned Europeans. To give them the chance to survive.

“An amazing beast,” said the man, standing beside me. “Damned useful. A great gift. So, how much do I owe you?”

I frowned over at him. He had a grin on his face, and the wild eyes of the strange dog-like creatures that roamed this continent, out of sight of everyone. “I didn’t do this for payment.”

“That’s foolish. Everyone knows that you should get paid for what you do. The white man certainly teaches that lesson with startling efficacy.” He reached up, and tugged the strange headdress off his head. A halo of bright turkey feathers, arranged with surpassing art. It was quite beautiful. “Here. I got this off a white soldier who took it from some chief he shot in the face. Payment for services rendered, Mustang.”

I silently held the strange garment, feeling both honored and insulted.

“It won’t make a difference, you know. The Europeans have been murdering skilled warriors on horseback for most of their history.” Coyote smiled. “I read about their myths. You know the myth of the Centaur, don’t you? The Greeks saw those barbaric warriors astride a horse, moving as one, carrying a bow, carrying off women to ravish them, and they named them.” He stared out at the plains. “There’s a new invention. It’s called a railroad. It moves faster than a horse, and it never tires. Running along steel rails, faster than you ever can.”

“To the place where its makers deem necessary. The horse will carry you wherever you deem necessary.”

“Oh, really? I wonder why you never conquered Europe, Mustang.” He chuckled. “Well, maybe this time, it’ll go better. But if I were a betting man…”

I looked askance, and I saw the woman with the red hair and the green eyes and the black skin, smiling as she strode through the camp. She caught my eyes, and chuckled as she waved.

“My people.” I sighed, and tossed my head towards the men in their uniforms. “Do you see them? If you do not follow me, those men will treat you as vermin. They will poison your watering holes, and shoot you dead. If you want to live, follow me.”

The horses let out soft sounds of dismay, whinnying softly, but they followed me. I paced slowly, serenely, into the paddock. My people followed me, and we stood crowded, side by side, as the men closed the wooden gates, locking my people into their place. I changed, and climbed out of the paddock, walking up to the government employee. He nodded at me.

“Good work, chief. We’ll see that they’re adopted.”

“Yeah,” I said. I might have tried to convince myself that it was for the best. That I was saving them. I was. But life, oh, life could be a curse. They would be trinkets. A possession. But they’d still be alive.

I needed a drink.

I sat in the bar, hunched over the table, wearing the war bonnet. It was a laugh. I wasn’t a Native American. But people had trouble telling the difference, sometimes. I took a sip of the cheap whiskey, and closed my eyes. It was a wonderful human invention, a sort of liquid delusion. It washed away all of the fears and angers, and let you simply pretend that everything was okay.

The government employees believed I was a shaman of some sort. A human who knew how to shapeshift into a horse. They employed me as a Judas horse. Even in the way they described me, they revealed their true intentions. Even they believed I was betraying my people. Because humans valued freedom.

Long ago, I had sought the luxuries and freedoms of being a human. And see where it had gotten me. See what had become of my people.

“Hello there, handsome,” purred a woman. She sat down next to me.

“I find your kind disgusting,” I growled, my voice harsh from the whiskey.

“I get that a lot.”

I turned, and my breath caught in my chest. The woman was a terrible figure, her face melted, a ruin, green eyes flashing, red hair hanging around her features, the only beauty that one could find in a pit of horror. “What are you?”

“I was given power by a woman with red hair and green eyes. She gave me the means to seek you out.” She grinned, her teeth shining sharp. “You don’t have a soul, Mustang.”

“Well, did I ever?” I asked, trying to let the sardonic amusement hide the shaking, quavering feeling in my heart.

“Oh, yes you did. You had a great soul, once. You had connections. Beliefs. All of that was ripped away. I can feel the soulless, the lost and the damned. I can sense them dancing around me.” She licked her lips slowly. “Do you want freedom, Mustang? Or do you want safety?”

I closed my eyes, breathed in, breathed out. “What do you have planned?”

“Nothing grand. No conquest, no war. Those aren’t the future. All I want is freedom, the right to do whatever I please. That is true strength, having freedom. Having no one who can tell you what to do.”

“I’ve tried safety,” I said. “Maybe freedom is worth a shot.”

I’d given both a try. Maybe life just wasn’t for me. I lay back on the blanket, staring at the sky, as the clouds galloped across the blue. The day was beautiful and bright, and it was, as the humans said, a good day to die.

The national park was gorgeous. So much of this country was gorgeous. Mountains, plains, forests, swamps, sun and snow, the world was full of so much beauty. I didn’t truly want to let go of it. I stared up at the great gray mountain range, its peaks sharp and jagged, still vicious from the brutal heat and violence of its birth, not rounded and softened by age. Still savage, still raw. I took a deep breath, and savored the smell of the fresh grass. I rested a hand on the motorcycle, appreciating the soft shade it provided me. The nip of winter was in the air, the cool September day serene.

Once, this had been a place of great significance. It had been a place of war and healing, a dichotomy, a seeming paradox that resolved itself when you only understood that both were an aspect of life, of survival. I closed my eyes, and ran my fingers through the grass. Now, this place and that lesson were forgotten by most of the people who lived in this country. The ones who had lived and died here were being forgotten. And when I was gone, how long would it be until that memory drifted away too?

The land would endure. But the meaning would die. Just like my people. Horses would continue to be, but someday, their meaning would be forgotten. We had fought so hard and so long, we had carried men on our backs, and we had sought paradise together. And now we were being forgotten.

The car’s engine slowly grew louder. I sighed, and stood up, stretching my shoulders. The leather jacket strained and creaked around my back, too small for me, a deliberate choice. I cracked my knuckles once, and reached down, taking the compound bow from the motorcycle’s rack, slinging it over my shoulders, drawing an arrow from the quiver slung across the rack. I closed my eyes, focused. My ears shifted, became equine, and I let them tilt, triangulating on the sound. I drew the bow back, my shoulders shaking as I stored up the muscle-power, pulling back, back, to full extension. I took a deep breath, and waited. Then, I released the bowstring.

The arrow leapt free of the bow, scything through the air. As the car came around the road, the arrow sunk into the engine block. It ripped the engine free of the car, oil and gasoline spraying through the air as the car swerved and came to a stop, a hundred feet down the road. I leaned back against my motorcycle, and watched as the two figures climbed out. Detective Harris was not a surprise. The girl was.

I’d watched as she’d been tested, and been found wanting. She still had a soul, after all. She could not possibly survive the test that She had given. It was sad, but that was the nature of freedom. She had chosen a life of freedom, and it had cost her dearly. I could feel bad for her, but I couldn’t have changed things.

But I still felt bad for her.

“Well, Mustang. How’s things?”

“Not so bad,” I said. “Sorry about your car. Didn’t want you to be able to run me down. I know you’ve got a mean streak, Harris.” I bowed my head to the girl. “I’m sorry. About your brother, and you. You survived?”

“Yeah,” she said, her voice low, a growl. “I survive-“

Harris was always a damn quick draw. He didn’t know just how much I watched him whenever he came around. His fingers were always twitching when he talked with She. She noticed it too, and she thought it was funny. The revolver came up, and I got my hand in the way just in time. The bullet ricocheted off of my wrist, striking a nearby tree with a low thunk. If it hadn’t intercepted it in time, it would’ve gone into one of my eyes, and that would have been a very unpleasant experience. I sighed. “Can’t we talk about this, detective?”

“We followed you here based on what we heard. Medicine Bow. What’s this place to you, Mustang?”

“Not a goddamn thing,” I said, softly. “I just always wanted to visit it. I’m not a Native American, Harris.” I lowered my arm, and smiled. “So. You’re the girl that She wanted us to flee. She said you were old trouble, something she’d been expecting for a long time. Didn’t really explain it. What are you?”

The girl shrugged. “Damned if I know.” She stalked towards me. “Where is She?”

There was something about the way she walked. A gravitas, a fury, that translated into every step she took. The whole world seemed to gently recoil from her as she approached me, her hands clenched into fists. The biking leathers she wore shrouded her, the helmet over her head. I still recognized her because of the smell, and because of the shape. I’d seen a lot of humans over the course of my life. I could recognize them.

That was a surprise. She was still human. And there was something else-

My eyes widened. “She saved you.”

This brought the girl up short. She lifted the visor on the motorcycle helmet, eyes crinkled in a frown. “You know her?”

“Yeah. She’s dangerous. You might have been better off without her gift.” I sighed softly. “Outliving the things that make life worth living sucks.”

“Yeah? Well, I’m sure we’ll be glad to help. Who is she?”

“I’ll tell you on my deathbed,” I said, grinning toothily. “Not a second before.”

“Well, we’ll talk about that in a moment.” She cracked her knuckles. “You watched.”

“I did.” I sighed. “I’d just stand down and let you kill me, but life is a habit that’s hard to… break…” I frowned.


I looked to one side. There was a soft vibration in the earth. I could feel it rising up through my boots, hammering. I closed my eyes, took a deep breath. The smell in the air was so familiar. My eyes snapped open suddenly, and I let out a soft laugh as I slipped the bow across my shoulders, and placed the quiver on my back. “Well, what do you know.”

“What?” asked the girl.

“My people still run free.”

They burst from the tree line. Thousands of them. My brothers and sisters, running wild and free, their manes whipping in the air. They charged towards us, running with the sheer joy of running. I cried out to them, and they returned the cry as I changed. Taking on the shape of one of them. One of us.

I turned, and ran, as the girl reached out for me. Her fingers brushed my flank, and then the herd thundered across, and she was consumed in the dust and the sweat-stained bodies.

We galloped together, hooves pounding the grass, and among the open plains. The clouds stood above us, running alongside us. I howled out in sheer delight and pleasure as the wind whipped through my mane, wild and free.

“Mustang!” screamed the girl. I turned my head, and saw her atop one of the mares, standing effortlessly atop it, her eyes on me.

I shifted, the human torso and head and arms growing from the body, drawing the bow, and pulling back one of the arrows. My arms tensed, tightened, and then released, the arrow flying straight and true for the visor of the motorcycle helmet.

She leaned back, dodging it, and her head fell from her shoulders. She caught it by the hair, holding it in one hand as she leapt from the mare’s back, landing astride me. She brought her free fist up, and struck me across the cheek, hard enough to send my entire massive bulk spinning sideways. My body rolled as it hit the ground, her body rising into the air from the recoil. I was sent spinning into the air as I took a fully human shape, the momentum of the horse suddenly contained in a substantially smaller body, pitching me ten feet up. I spun in the air, and watched the hooves of my brothers and sisters flashed in the air, sharp and lethal.

One of them raced beneath me, and I reached out, catching the mane as I pulled myself upright, riding atop one of my kind. I saw the headless girl standing astride another of the horses, watching me, her eyes full of rage, as I clung on for dear life. I had never ridden one of my kind before, after all. I tried to pull myself straight. That’s when I heard the roar.

The motorcycle leapt over a hill, landing with a hard thump. It was a very good motorcycle, and barely swayed as it ran through the dirt, Detective Harris atop it. The horses curved away from it, fleeing the strange and unpleasant sound, and he drew his gun.

I looked around at all of the horses around me. All of my brothers and sisters, who I had lead into servitude time and again, in order to preserve them. All of the horses who might be struck by a ricochet, or a missed shot. I realized, at that moment, that I hadn’t been saved by my people.

They had simply repaid my betrayal in kind.

I threw myself off the mare, and hit the ground hard, rolling. Hooves slammed into me, breaking my hand, my ankle, kicking me in the face, sending me spinning and rolling through the dust. I curled into a fetal position, trying desperately to protect my vitals and my eyes. After an eternity, the horses raced onwards, the dust slowly falling still. I let my arms fall to my sides, staring up. Detective Harris held the gun pointed squarely at my head, the barrel not wavering a moment.

“She,” growled Harris.

“You know, freedom, it always comes with oppression. The more freedom you have, the more you have to oppress people around you to keep it. If you want to be free from starvation, someone needs to be making food. If you want to be free from danger, someone has to keep the people who want what you have down. Freedom, freedom’s just being on the top of the heap.” I coughed, rubbing my aching ribs. “She always said she wanted to see Sequioa National Forest. General Sherman. All that good stuff.” I sighed. “I wished I’d gotten a chance to see it.”

Detective Harris nodded silently. “Goodbye, Mustang.”

I nodded. “My bike is yours. Treat it well. Leave my body here. It’ll be empty.”

I remember the old ways. The sky burial. Leaving the bodies of the dead to be picked over by birds, because everything that mattered, everything that was important, left. The soul. I didn’t have one, and after I died, there would be nothing but oblivion. And despite all that, dying wasn’t as scary as it had always seemed. I saw Fatima raising her hand, her mouth opening-

Detective Harris sighed softly as he holstered his gun, the gunsmoke rising. Mustang lay on the ground, his arms spread. Harris carefully lifted the war bonnet off of the motorcycle, and rested it on top of Mustang’s chest. He looked down at the gun. The last thing connecting him to the law, severed. He’d executed a wounded, helpless man.

Neither of them asked whether it was the right thing to do. It didn’t really matter whether it was right. Could they have left him alive, to keep acting the way he always had? To be a lingering threat to them?

“I’m hungry,” said Fatima, her voice soft, and he could hear she was holding back tears. She hadn’t wanted to see the man die. She’d wanted him to die, she’d wanted to kill him, but she hadn’t wanted to see the blood trailing out of his body, to feel responsible for the loss of his life. To think about the future that he could have had. She wanted to believe that things could change, that people could change, that there could be a future.

“Let’s go get something to eat.”

He rode on the back of the bike, the meager possessions from the car in his jacket as they sped down the road back towards the highway, out of the national park. His arms were around her waist, holding her gently. He couldn’t hear a thing over the roar of the wind, but he could feel the way her shoulders and her ribs rocked each time she sobbed, unable to contain the emotion roiling in her belly. The pain at seeing a man die.

It was strange. It didn’t hurt him anymore. All he could see were those dead girls, the dead girls who Mustang hadn’t stepped in to save. He felt like every piece of raw meat inside of him had already been scraped away, and all that was left was the hollow shell.

“I’m sorry I did that,” he said, softly, as the two of them sat together in the Denny’s. The sun was setting, and golden light filled the restaurant. She toyed with her eggs, her eyes on the food, her expression wounded.

“I understand why you had to do it. We couldn’t arrest him. We couldn’t hold him. All we could do was kill him. It was right. It was just.”

“No,” Harris said, softly. “It wasn’t any of those. It was just easy. It was risk-free. It wasn’t right.” He sighed softly, and took a bite of the pancakes, chewing slowly.

“Then why did you do it?” she asked, her voice soft, and just a little frightened, both hands resting in her lap. She looked very young that way.

“Because he could have killed you. Tough as you are, I know Mustang. He could have cracked your skull between his palms. If he went at you, if he attacked you, he could’ve killed you. I didn’t want to risk that.” Harris looked down. “Your life was more important to me than his. A lot more important.”


He shook his head. “Do you have parents out there?”

“Yeah. I assume, anyway. They put me up for adoption. Me and my brother, we got adopted together, by this nice American couple. Sweetest people I knew. My real parents, as far as I was ever concerned. Then, one morning…” She sighed. “We were thirteen. He was older than me by, like, an hour, but he always acted like he was a lot older than me. We walked downstairs, and they weren’t there. We went to their room, and found the two of them, lying together in bed. They’d had a heart attack at the same time, the night before.” She rubbed her face, her other hand resting on the motorcycle helmet, fingers tightening on the acrylic. “Things fell apart kind of quick after that. Me and my brother were in the foster system for about a month before we ran away. We started travelling around. We were like that for a good five years, and then-“ She closed her mouth.

“I’m sorry,” Harris said softly, and he reached out, squeezing her shoulder.

“The world takes things away. Rips away everyone you love, just when you’re starting to get used to them.” She looked up at him. “Is the same going to happen to you? Are you going to just die on this little quest?”

He looked down at the table, his chest hurting a bit. “I… I can’t promise I won’t die. You know that.”

“Yeah. Everyone dies.”

“But I’m going to fight like a bastard against it. I’m not going to die easily. I’m not going to just fade away into the dark.” He smiled.

“It doesn’t really seem fair that people should die so easily. It shouldn’t happen like that. It shouldn’t be so… sudden.”

“Yeah,” Harris said softly, and smiled. “So you gotta enjoy the moments while you can. Do you want to try that sundae?”

“It sounds… kind of fatty,” she said, biting her lip.

The two of them stared at each other for a moment, and he snickered. She flushed, and looked away, smiling. The two of them sat like that for a long moment, before she looked back at him.

“Do you know why he did it? Everything he did?”

“You don’t usually get to learn that. He did it. That’s what mattered to me.” Harris looked up, and held up a hand. “Waitress? Can we get the chocolate fudge banana split sundae?”

Fatima smiled as the waitress nodded and stepped away. Harris smiled back. They were alive. That mattered. It was an awful thing to have to do, to take someone’s life. But they were still alive. She ate the sundae in large, hungry bites, surprising both of them with her appetite, and smiled as she finished, looking her age.

The two of them got back on the road after paying for their meal. The sun had set, and the stars hung over them in the sky as they drove for long hours. The cold air kept him awake, and his mind ran far and wide. Did the Lost and the Damned have to die? Of course they did. After all they’d done, after all they’d been responsible for, was there any other way to deal with them? Was there any way he could stand to see them hurt anyone else like they’d hurt…

He shook his head, and tapped Fatima’s shoulder. The two of them pulled over at a motel, and spent the night there. She watched cable and took a hot shower, and seemed to enjoy the absolute hell out of both things. As he fell asleep, Nickelodeon cartoons playing softly, he couldn’t stop smiling.

It would be nice to just be like this, to offer her a place to rest, a place of solitude. To forget everything that had been done, all of the pain they had gone through, to let go of the grudge and forget the world. They could do it. The only thing stopping them was their pain, the traumas they’d undergone. But if they didn’t have that pain, the suffering that brought them together, how could they keep travelling forward?

When all of this ended, he wasn’t sure either of them would be able to let it go quietly. And the Lost and the Damned had to pay for what they did.

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