Karlen’s rough fingers idly traced out the familiar nooks and crannies of his dagger, as he stared at the still form before him. The dead man’s face was blank – no shock, no horror. Nothing. Crimson blood was already spilling down the man’s chest and soaking his sackcloth shirt. The dark stain was in stark contrast against the pale, pallid skin.
Suddenly, Karlen’s finger slipped on a patch of blood on the dagger, the sharp edge slicing open his thumb. Karlen swore as the dagger dropped to the grass, and began sucking on his finger. In a fit of anger, he kicked at the body, causing it to roll over. He paused as if a thought had come to him.
“It’s your own fault, you know,” he said accusingly to the corpse, “No one should be wandering these woods at dark.”
The corpse gave no indication it heard him.
“Hey, you listening?” he muttered, prodding the man. The skin was cold to touch.
Karlen sat in silence, waiting for a reply. The silence dragged on as the sun disappeared behind the distant mountains. Owls and other nocturnal creatures began to surface from their nests and dens, but Karlen paid them no mind; he was intent upon the corpse.
“Why ain’t you replyin’?” Karlen finally snarled, spinning the cadaver over to face him. The head lolled, the eyes coming to rest on Karlen’s face. Accusing him, judging him.
“I’m sorry,” gasped Karlen, falling backwards away from the condemnatory eyes, “I didn’t mean to, honest!” Sobs racked his body as he stared into the dead eyes, unable to tear himself away from them.
Why? The eyes seemed to ask, Why?
“Ye scared me,” Karlen whimpered, “Ye looked ready to attack; I was jus’ defending myself!” He screamed the last part, his utterance echoing through the thick forestry surrounding him. An insane cry broke from Karlen’s lips as he dived towards the corpse.
“YOU ATTACKED ME!” he screamed, driving his fist into the stiff face, “DON’T YE DARE BLAME ME!”
Blood ran thickly down the man’s face, his nose broken. But the eyes continued to bore into Karlen’s.
“I’LL FIX YOU!”
Karlen snatched his dagger from the grass and drove it into the man’s left eye. Blood and liquid exploded from the wound, drenching Karlen. Paying no mind to his tatters of clothing, he tore the dagger out and delivered another stab to the remaining eye. Karlen fell backwards, tearing at the grass around him. And then, as suddenly as he started, he stopped. Sanity reappeared back into his eyes as he lay there, still.
“What have I done?” he whispered, a tear trailing down his face. It passed his cheekbone before the blood in his hair absorbed the small liquid.
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