The yellow badge of cowardice

My idea was that Dale would go to his old black mage friendship squad and beg them to take him back. His offering to get back into their good graces would delivering me up to them.   I wasn’t sure if it was a good plan, but Dale said that it was exactly the kind of power trip shit they would eat up without a second thought.

Adelaide and his new best friend Thor, he’s the space Viking in those dumb movies right, suggested the tactic of shooting them from ambush, trying not to kill anyone, and then healing them after the fact.  It was an appealing idea. 

Very appealing. 

There was no way someone wouldn’t die doing that though.  Someone would get shot in the chest or head or it would be too much for Ellie and I to handle and they would die.  I said no. 

I had doubts about that later.  Serious doubts.  When I saw the bloody noose hanging against the wall off their new torture place I doubted myself.  I doubted myself when I saw the messages that had been scratched into the concrete. 

“My name is Mary Bruce.  Please tell my parents Melinda and Albert in San Bernadino California”

“His real name is Keith, 5’8, very pale, long black hair, tattoos on both arms.”

“Please help me – Christine”

Most of the words were smeared with dried blood.  The people that had gouged into the wall had used their fingernails.  Or the bones of their fingers. 

I was doubting my decision not to shoot everyone when I got my hands on UBM.  Keith is his real name.  When I actually physically touched him I thought why not kill him?  Why not?  If he even a person?  If a machine was built only to cause pain and I could destroy it I would.  How would killing this man be any different?

Huddie was glad to throw fuel on the fire.  He said that this man was a broken record, skipping the same beats over and over and over, and would go on hurting people forever even without magic.  There was no path to redemption for him, nor was he even capable of pretending that he wanted redemption.  Just sadism made flesh. 

They all said it, all of them, killing him would be a mercy. 

I thought about a scrap of paper I found in Royale’s trunk.  It was something a blood mage had written that he saved.  The writer said that the people he killed did nothing with their lives, that they weren’t really people.  They were wasting energy by existing.  He could take that energy and do something with it.  There’s so much and it’s so easy to get and there’s no downside.

Not only was he not ashamed of what he did he said it would have been selfish for him not to murder people and “free” their energy.  


We weren’t going to kill anyone.  I have no reason other than Royale and Obaluaiye told me not to.  I didn’t come up with a reason myself.  I didn’t act like a free-thinking adult.  I just clung to the rules like a baby.  I took the coward’s way. 

The worst part is that I wanted them not to listen to me.  I wanted Adelaide to ignore me and blow Keith’s fucking head off.  I wouldn’t have stopped him. 

Because allowing murder is fine right?  As long as you’re not the one pulling the trigger your hands are completely clean right?  That’s what we’ve all decided haven’t we? 

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