Wednesday, February 28, 2007

not alone

his breathing never really slowed. he thought that by walking through the rain he would cool down, that his tension would ease. but his anger was too great, too determined to let him go. his fists were clenched, his nails digging deep into his palms. his breathing was calculated. and heavy. like an iron pendulum it raised his chest and lowered it. his walk nearly matched his breathing. with determined steps he pushed the way behind him, every step taken to restate his anger. his frustration. he didn't walk quickly, or slowly, but with the intentional steps of rage barely under control. with every step his sandals hit the wet ground his body got ready for the next one, raising his foot to relink it with the ground a few feet further. the rain flowing down his hair, face, clothes, eyes, nose, ears and toes didn't slow him down. he was drenched but didn't notice. he didn't notice the dark either. he was shaking with rage, not cold.

when he approached the other he didn't see him at first. not because of the dark, but because he didn't see him. the other was slightly slower, walking with a casual stride, his sugegasa shielding him from most of the rain. when he saw him his first thought was sheep. sheep, cattle, all to the slaughter. he felt his breathing slow a bit. he was gaining on him. he felt his breathing slow and he heard the rain less and less, his footsteps further and further away. his breathing slowed, his hearing lowered and all he could see was the other. his sugegasa, his casual stride, the sound of his footsteps. to the slaughter. sheep. he was gaining on him. he grasped his katana's tsuka. all he could see was the other, all he could hear was his footsteps, with his heartbeat faintly in the background. his training had taken over. when he was but an arm's length from him, his katana left its saya, in a round motion that went from bottom to top, from kidney to shoulder, both his hands precisely gripping the tsuka, a matter that took a blink beginning to end.

sheep to the slaughter.

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