The thief watched as Tzedekiel’s arms lowered, talons flashing in the reflected light from the interrogation lamp. The detective flashed another nervous look at the massive gargoyle. The angel had been on the verge of gutting the constable after the thug had struck her. Tzedekiel didn’t even seem to realize it, his eyes flashing as they moved from the detective, to her, to the constable, and back again.
The noblest of intentions do not excuse a crime
There is an art to a proper beating. Damaging enough to hurt, not so damaging that it kills the victim. The parade of padded knuckles and body blows that can leave a victim brutalized without giving a hint of how badly they’ve been beaten. The nose unbroken, the body free of bruises, the skin not contused. The art of the abusive husband. The art of the secret bully. The art of the police officer. The sequence practiced by those who must maintain an image of moral fortitude, in spite of all their deeds. If a martial art was named for that which inspired it, then surely this panoply of beatings and soul-breaking torment would be called the Upright Constable Style.
As I raced across the glacier, my mind seemed to be stuck in first gear. I’d rejected her when she’d tried to open up to me, when she’d gotten intimate with me. She had wanted to offer me everything, and I’d freaked out. I’d hurt her.
I woke up when there was a knock on the door. “Lucky!” said one of the Vladmirs. “Get up! Otto woke up! The commissar wants everyone to hear what he’s got to say!”
I spent a very long time outside the Commissar’s small office, trying to figure out the right path.
The world is full of extreme environments. Places where human life is impossible. Places where no sane people go.