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This journal is just a random rant because I have too much time on my hands. It’s really to help me put my mind in order, so feel free to ignore it if you want. I won’t be offended.

I’ve been thinking about the writing process and the part that really stumps me is finding my genre/audience for my book.

The genre bit, in particular, bewilders me, especially since every genre can be broken down into smaller genres. It’s like splitting the atom-all of sudden all this crap comes out and there are so many things you don’t even know what to call them anymore (honestly who the hell came up with muon and gluon?!)  Let’s take the current book I am working on right: Hurrah for the Next Killer that Dies which is part of my larger series, the Nothing but Glory series.
Hurrah for the Next Killer that Dies is a fake memoir written by a fake revolutionary about a fake revolution in a fake country. The main character is an Ilkhatal, also known as a Killer (Killer being a slang word the race adopted out of spite), a humanoid reptile with a broad snout, short horns on the side of its head, and long, soft, furry ears. It’s basically what would happen if a cow, human, and iguana decided to have a mutated child. The Killers are the oppressed citizens of a country known as Shiva. The fake memoir chronicles their attempts to break free from the Shivians-artistic and snooty humans. Although I do not like comparing my creatures with any particular movement/race/country/event in history, the Killer Liberation Army (KLA) could be classified as a separatist movement similar to the IRA or the Irgun. I even have a prison break in the book (which seemed to have been one of Irgun’s favorite pastimes when they were not assassinating British officers and fighting amongst themselves).
The world is very similar to the Victorian Era, but not dependent on steam (thus making it hard to justify it as a steampunk novel-especially since there are no dirigibles, men with large muttonchops wearing monocles, or bionic limbs in my first book, although I will admit that one character will sport muttonchops later in the series and the tank, airplane, and flamethrower will become a popular weapon as the series progresses). The series could be labeled as a fantasy series because it has fantastical characters such as Minotaurs, Phoenixes, Demons, and Gargoyles, but the mythology is more Greco-Roman than Arthurian/Norse and the world is more akin to the twentieth century than the thirteenth or fourteenth century. And it’s not modern or contemporary fantasy because it is set in the past.
The series is also hard to catalog because it is not a fable or mythological study of right and wrong or good and evil, it is a socio-political and historical examination of a world in the midst of change. Hurrah for the Next Killer that Dies takes place between two world wars-the First and Second Shadow War-and is a microcosm study of a minority using the turmoil of one war to seize control of its own destinies while preparing for the coming of a second war. It has more in common with a political science book than an Arthurian fable.

So where does it belong? It is not fantasy, because fantasy is usually associated with knights, damsels in distress, petty squabbles over small kingdoms that haven’t quite reach nation state status, and usually has some connection with magic. Fantasy is also heavily entrenched in the Arthurian/Norse mythology and as I mentioned before my story is not. It follows the Greek mythology where the gods don’t give a fuck about humanity, they’re really just a set of squabbling family members,  when the gods do intercede it usually doesn’t work out for our hero because it’s just a petty fight between one god and two or three other gods, and man is his own worst enemy. It also does not start with the premise of a feudal system and there is no hidden king or prophesized hero to save the world. It is a world full of nation states and an international order similar to the Westphalia system found in today’s world and there are no destined heroes, only accidental ones. So, no, it’s not fantasy.

And it is not science fiction because science fiction is usually associated with futuristic societies, the evils of technology, the downfall of man, and some kind of alien or robotic intervention. While technology is an issue in my world, the series praises technology than it damns it. Actually, it damns man more for using technology to further greed and pride than it actually damns the technology itself, if that makes any sense. In many ways it is closer to the science fiction of Verne and Wells and the only reason they were considered science fiction was because they wrote about things that had not yet been created.  Obviously everyone is familiar with electricity and telegraph. Also, hate to disappoint any potential readers, but there will be no robots or aliens visiting my world. Sorry.
I thought about classifying it as science fantasy, but then grew annoyed with myself because that term makes as much sense as the term muon.

But, for argument’s sake, say I decide to label it as a science fantasy novel, who is my audience? It’s not squealing teenager boys and girls because there is an idiotic industry assumption that teenagers are only interested in books about teenagers, just as girls are only interested in books that are solely about girls and romance and boys are only interested in books solely about boys and action and adventure. Seeing as Hurrah for the Next Killer that Dies starts with Kingsley as 16 but ends with him in his forties, it would probably be hard to argue that this book is meant for young adults. I also doubt parents would want their teenagers reading about assassinations, prison breaks, and blowing up buildings. I do not think my target audiences are the fantasy or science fiction gurus for the same reasons the book is not a fantasy or science fiction book. I could potentially try and sell it steampunk lovers, but I feel that they would quickly sense that my book does not quite gel with their philosophy. It seems to be that they are in awe in the Victorian era and the world of steam, and while I am certainly a fan and consider myself a semi-steampunker myself, my series does not praise that world, it condemns it.

In many ways the series is a fantastical condemnation of the latter half of the 19th and most of the 20th century. It is my attempt to try and justify a century spent killing each other and forcing ideologues down people’s throats while praising the high ideals of democracy. But how to convince political scientists and historians to read a fictional account of two world wars and their aftermaths simply because I was too lazy to conduct the research necessary to write a series about the actual world wars?
  • Mood: Rant
  • Listening to: Sweet Thing by David Bowie
  • Drinking: green tea
Here are the three amazing and wonderful winners of the Author's Club Contest: Cicadas, Coconuts, and Commitments. We had a ton of amazing pieces submitted and it was really hard to choice a winner. These pieces are amazing and I encourage you guys to not only read these pieces, but also check out these author's galleries:

First Place

Hook, Line and SinkerI dreamt of a girl beyond the water. Above the green glass sea, she dangled her feet, threw out her gaze to ripple along the surface, and waited. Her words fell like fishing lines, diving and cutting through the mosaics of blues and greens, slipping under my skin as hooks. Her tongue was a reel, tugging me faintly upwards, flying through fluid blurs and crashing into a planisphere of ivory laced clouds, golden sands, a pair of mahogany eyes. It’s funny, how falling in love with her was just like drowning in air, feeling gills shiver and water drip, the distant cries of seagulls reminding me how vulnerable I am this side of the glass. Falling in love with her was just like leaping upstream, tumbling into the dark branches of mangrove trees and seeing their roots, my branches, splinter through the horizon.
And she embraced me like a fishing net, fingers coarse as rope. Between her tightly circled arms, I saw squares of the night sky, slivers of stars and somehow I could almost conv


I cannot say how much I love this piece by :iconxXI-Feel-InifiniteXx:. It is a really interesting concept that can be read multiple ways, the style is engaging, and it was a great twist on our prompt.

Second Place

Beach Ball with a BubbleBeach Ball with a Bubble
13-8-14
Butterflies spin out of cruise control as they hover above the flowers marking the end of the path. The odd lazy monarch spirals dizzily over the heated sand catching a wave or two before coming back to the flowered shore.
Out on the beach the ants get lost among the grains until their ticklish feet touch tired toes. Mainly they are ignored; left to do their own business and go about their way, lost to any world but their own.
Close to the shore where the air mixes a boy blows bubbles; soap spiralling sluggishly from the wand. Surfing monarchs mingle with whimsical bubbly balls that drift out of control on the heat only to pop when pushed against air pressure. Those closer to the ground gently touch ant-feet before lifting towards the sky again.
Bubbles spiral forth from the wishing wand as waves suck the earth from beneath the boy’s feet. Butterflies bounce off the glistening balls, ants waving them lazily along.
In the war of the w


I think that this piece by :iconmagicaljoey: captures the fun and spontaneity of summer incredibly well. I love the counter-intuitiveness (yes that's a word) of this piece, the style is engaging and fun as hell, and I think it is highly entertaining.

Third Place
The NecklaceI rested my arms and head on the boat railing, trying not to get sick. The waves were rougher than an offroad drive.
Keep your eye on land, dad said. But God tilted the horizon back and forth, as if a pinball game was being played. Puerto Vallarta lit up and distant cars turned on their headlights. I could see club and bar signs from here.
We were going back to tourist central. A few jet skis were still out and a couple passed by. I watched some muscleman smiling in his moment of rented freedom. Then the cornrowed American girl behind him opened her vest and flashed me.
Covering my blushed face, I got up and walked over to the helm. The orange sky marked the end of our fishing run and we were on our way back with a full haul. My dad chuckled, “Get a free show did you?”
I looked down at the half-dry floor, “You saw that?”
“Those were fake.”
“Dad!”
“What? Summer is like a 3-month spring break here. Besides, I only like the real


I personally love this piece. It might be one of my favorite pieces submitted (shhhhh don't tell anyone I said that. I'm supposed to be impartial. ;)) I love the dialogue and the imagery, but what really stands out for me is the relationship between the father and son. I think it is incredibly sweet and wonderfully captures how fathers and sons interact.

Seriously check these guys out! They're awesome! *fails arms in the air like Kermit*
  • Mood: Artistic
  • Watching: Great Food Truck Race
  • Drinking: green tea

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Delta-13
Sam
Artist | Hobbyist | Literature
Hi I’m Sam and I’m a recent escapee from the Virginia Military Institute (VMI). I am a goof who pretends to be driven and organized. Currently my sister :iconinprismed: and I are working on seven major projects:

The first project is my nine book science fantasy series: Nothing but Glory:

“Everyone has a reason to die. It is history that determines if it was worth dying for.”-Kingsley Montivelo.
Everyone in my book has a reason to die and the Nothing but Glory series follows thirteen leaders and what they fight and die for. The series starts with the thirteen leaders rising to power, how they handle a world war that is catastrophic in scope, and watches as some are overtaken by their sins-both intentional and unintentional-and some rise to lead a stronger, but dying world into an uncertain future.

My second project is a companion book to the Nothing but Glory series: Hurrah for the Next Killer Who Dies: Selected memories of a Revolutionary:

Killers never forget, they never forgive, and they never apologize, but sometimes they explain.
This is Kingsley Montivelo's memoirs on his time as a member of the Killer Liberation Army (KLA). It starts with the moment he decides to be a KLA member and ends with Siegfried's Day, a tragic and history making day that no one in Terra ever forgets.

My third project is a collection of short stories that lay the groundwork for my series that has been published on Kindle. These stories follow the rise of Timothy Murphy (my world’s pope) and Ethan Hertz (a Druid king), David Farin (a Shadow Prince), Hugo Urbs (a fierce warrior), and Robert Phillips and Henry Banks, two humans struggling to find their place in a world dominated by fantastical creatures. These stories are published on Kindle and are support with historical information and illustrations drawn by my sister :iconinprismed:. They can found here: [link]

My fourth project is Heroes: a dystopian novel about Singularity gone wrong.

“We offer you Peace, Security, and Prosperity. We ask for your Privacy and your Obedience.”-Turing
Heroes is a world where there is no death, no war, no disease, and no crime. It is a perfect world as long as everyone follows the rules and does not mind being observed by the four guardians at all times. There is a small movement known as the Time Keepers who are desperately fighting the Guardians and bringing freedom back to the world.

My fifth project is Stairway to Heaven and is about a former druggie and asshole who decides to help struggling teens because he needs community service hours.

My sixth project is an angel and demon story which is about an angel and demon...yeah that one needs more work before I even know what it's about.

My seventh and final project is Dangerously Delusional. It is a comic about super heroes and super villains who have no idea what the hell they’re doing.

Current Projects (Starting July 17, 2014):
Shadow Country bio: 35% Completed
Rewrite Kingsley Story: 10% Completed
Charles Bio: 0% Completed
Rin Bio: 0% Completed
Zana Bio: 0% Completed
Galian Bio: 0% Completed
Enjorlas Bio: 0% Completed
plot for pre-book/"hobbit book": 0% Completed
Rewrite plot for the third book....again: 0% Completed

Word Count (Starting August 1st):
Daily:
Weekly:
Monthly:

Nothing but Glory Website: skamenn.wordpress.com/
My pinterest: www.pinterest.com/pepperdaphoe…
My sister introduced me to stamps:

Arbitrary Titles Stamp by WetWithRain Comments Stamp by WetWithRain The Ori-Chin Of Whisker by PsychoMonkeyShogun Fallopian tube by SirvanaRachana Ray Bradbury Stamp by justdacat Grafstein's Growth by SirvanaRachana Meissner's corpuscle by SirvanaRachana Natural Selection by draco-dragon84 Krause's end-bulbs by SirvanaRachana Being human stamp 1 by dawn-of-stamps Despicable Me by RuthlessDreams Go Go Godzilla Stamp by Aazari-Resources Fawlty Towers by Shantella Go Gadget GO by Shantella Monty Python + the Holy Grail 'I got better' Stamp by TwilightProwler MARVEL X-Men First Class Stamp by TwilightProwler Wolfsbane X-Force Stamp by dA--bogeyman Some Motivation Required by RuthlessDreams I know everything by postmortumm I wanna move things with my mind by prosaix Hufflepuffs don't give a shit by kittykat01 Stamp: Bananas! by TheSaltyMonster YGOTAS: Steves :Stamp: by Circe-Baka YGOTAS: Screwed Rules :Stamp: by Circe-Baka Kaiba Screwed Stamp by D-WTF Kaiba stamp by Yami-YugiohFangirl Stamp: Hans Landa: Inglorious by ASSKISSER gor-LAH-me by deerstalkerpress I'm the dude... by Kiyamasho I love Led Zeppelin by mep92 Bob Dylan stamp by 5-3-10-4 Animated Flogging Molly Stamp by Voltaireon Drunken Lullabies 001 by Dametora Drunken Lullabies 004 by Dametora Alice Cooper stamp by starchild-rocks Gargoyles Stamp - Puck by KatWithKnives Gargoyles Stamp - David Xanatos by KatWithKnives Fringe Stamp by KristalStittle Watchmen Stamp Comedian by IngwellRitter Rorschach Stamp by picklelova Vendetta Stamp by Dianitica Ideas are bulletproof - stamp by HtB-stamps Stamp V of Vendetta by Iluvendure With Love From Valerie by RavenGaleSpencer Seinfeld stamp by cool-slayer Stamp: seinquote 1 by imgoingtothemoon Arrested Development Stamp by minami Lord of the Rings stamp 4 by Chrysalislover Lord of the Rings stamp 3 by Chrysalislover Treebeard Stamp by Captain-Savvy Boromir stamp by purgatori Theoden Poem Stamp by Parabuteo78 LOTR - Wander by Jenna-Rose B.P.R.D. Stamp by AsliBayrak Hellboy stamp by AprilMcGuire Ectoplasmic fun stamp by Violette-Aner Guillermo del Toro Stamp by Violette-Aner Ron Perlman stamp by C-Puff Stamp Johann Kraus by theEyZmaster History by black-cat16-stamps i support villains by iago-rotten Deviant Stamp: Erik Lehnsherr by beekay84 Abe Stamp by eERIechan Les Miserables Stamp by sratt Elbonian Motivation by Stock7000 Pearls Before Swine Stamp by Zetas The Mummy stamp by BaB-Jane Jurassic Park Stamp by ZZsStamps Thee Stoopid One :Stamp: by Circe-Baka Freaky Fred by Cathines-Stamps Cheese stamp by GalacticSun Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends Stamp by shadowleigh Foster's Home: Potatoes by Galialay "Heroes" Bowie stamp by TheStampQueen David Bowie Labyrinth Stamp by RebelOreo Labyrinth by Songficcer Bad ideas look Good -stamp by Sysirauta Warrior Stamp by PhoenixKnght86 Cloud Atlas Stamp by Lady-AnnJoanne YGOTAS: SSA :Stamp: by Circe-Baka Dan Green Stamp by erikagrace303 Craig's Cat by Rodentruler Craig Ferguson Fan Stamp by SonKitty I'll pray for you, Satan-chan by Haters-Gonna-Hate-Me We love Phoenix by BlackRayser
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JeffreyRebowlski Literature
60 deviations
To my wonderful watchers, sorry for deluging your inbox, but at least now you can't say I haven't been busy. ;)
Chapter Twenty-Two
Meeting the President

I suppose something must be said about Siegfried’s Day. I refrained from recording my thoughts previously because it did not seem right to interrupt the events just to share what little insight I could offer years after our sacrifice. Now, however, it seems proper to pause and take a moment to provide a few words, especially since the very nature of my tales changes from here on end. The first half dealt with striking a blow at a tyrannical government. The second half will deal with trying to pick up the pieces and redefine our organization and our cause after Siegfried’s Day.

Siegfried’s Day was an unspeakable tragedy. I watched many of my friends die and I nearly died. It was a desperate gamble and it was our last gamble. We had blown up buildings, we had assassinated officials, and we had attacked and killed policemen, a suicidal protest was the only option we had left. We knew that if we failed, we were sacrificing the KLA and our people’s freedom, but we had faith in Siegfried that it would work, that we could break the Shivians. I do not regret what we did. I regret that I did not die with my friends as there is nothing more painful than being the last of your kind, but I do not regret what we did, even now, even after knowing what would follow, I do not regret Siegfried’s Day. It may be hard to understand now when so much is taken for granted, but there are some things worth dying for, some things worth sacrificing for. I have lost a lot in my life…I know we did many things that now seem unforgivable and I know the Shivian historians have attempted to degrade Siegfried’s Day, but that is because they cannot bear to deal with their own guilt. We were fighting to be free. We have nothing to apologize for, nothing to regret. If I had to, I would do it all over again. I would watch them die again if it meant that my people could enjoy the freedom they have now. It is funny how an intangible ideal can come to mean more than a life or a number of lives, but what would we be without our ideals? Without the precious ideal of freedom, Siegfried would have just been another Killer. Now he is a hero. Am I romanticizing their deaths? Some might say yes, but I disagree. If a soldier can be praised for fighting for his country then why can’t a revolutionary? Besides the death of my friends is not on my head, but on the Shivian’s. They forced us to protest that day, just as they forced us to blow up the Archives, and assassinate the chief of police. If they had stayed true to the democratic principles they purportedly worshipped, none of the events narrated in this memoir would have happened, but it should be known that democratic hypocrisy can only be uprooted by the gun and the sacrifice of people who deserve of a better world.

Immediately after the demonstration, the Shivians declared that it had destroyed the KLA and was a victory for democracy. Even now that statement makes me laugh. It was not a victory for democracy, it was a challenge for democracy. It forced Shiva and Ferdern to look at their governments and ask what responsibility did a democracy had to its minorities, whether they were racial, religious, or political? At what point did a demonstration become a violent attack against the state? And if that minority was denied the ability to contribute and shape its own government, what other recourse did that minority have to let its grievances be known?

Siegfried’s Day itself, was not a victory for democracy. It’s relation to democracy-whether beneficial or harmful would be determined by how the Shivians decided to respond to the Killer question. They knew this and they were painfully aware that the world was watching.

It was three days after our last meeting and I was lying on my back, staring at the ceiling, and listening to Devin snore. I had slept since Siegfried’s Day. We were in a smaller room than our previous room, about the size of an outhouse, but we somehow managed to squeeze Devin, Aimee, Pip, and myself into the room. Pip was lying next to me, cuddling deep into Aimee’s arms, his sniffs occasionally joining Devin’s snores, Aimee, I could not help but notice, was sleeping next to Dev. I am sorry to say I could hardly bring myself to care. I sighed as a rat crawled between Pip and myself, looking for warmth. Devin had adopted a cat during my absence and she was crawling around my feet, looking for a midnight snack. Smoke blew into my nostrils as Gary offered me his hand. If he had left me for dead Pip would have a father, now he simply had me and Dev, and I suppose Aimee. Maybe I should send them to Ferdern. It was the least I could do for Gary, Gary who offered me his hand. He fell into my arms. I left behind. I rose with a start and scared both the rat and the cat. He would have hated the cat. I sighed as I rested my head in my hands for a few minutes before rising. I was not allowed to walk outside because of curfew, but I could pace the stairs. I was a step away from the door when I heard someone whisper my name. I turned around and watched Pip wiggle out of Aimee’s arms.
“I want ta go with ya,” he whispered, standing by my side.
“I’m just going to sit on the steps.”
“All right.”
I sighed as we crept out of the room and tried to step on the poor Killers who had to sleep in the hallway as we walked towards the stairs. We walked down to the six step before sitting down and sighing simultaneously.
“I haven’t been able ta sleep either,” he said, rubbing his nose, “Aimee and Dev try ta help, but…it was hard, especially when she thought yas was dead.”
I nodded my head.
“I guess she has Dev now.”
“I guess.”
Pip stared at me as I held my hand and rubbed my thumb up and down my palm.
“Dev says it’s not right turning people away, people that we love, but I say it’s easier.”
I nodded my head.
“They also say it’s going ta be all right, it’s not is it? It’s never gonna be all right.”
“Probably not.”
“So why do they say that? Why do they lie? I’m not dumb. I know he’s not coming back. I know they’re not coming back.”
“They don’t think you’re dumb, Pip, they’re trying to make you feel better.”
Pip took a second to think it over before stomping his right foot and scaring a rat crawling up the stairs.
“Well…I wish they would just tell me the truth, instead of asking me ta pretend I’m gonna forget him.”
“Pip, how would you feel about going to Ferdern with Aimee?”
Pip looked up at him aghast.
“Ya mean leave ya and Dev?”
“Yes, I suppose so.”
“I’d rather die,” he said, folding his arms across his chest.
“You’d be safer there and maybe even happier.”
“Pop’s dead, Kingsley, it’s not about being happy anymore. It’s about making sure his death wasn’t useless, ya know that.”
I nodded my head and sighed. At least I tried harder than I did with Asia, Asia who died pinned to Shivian hypocrisy.
“Aimee and I were thinking of creating a small group of women and children who have lost brothers and fathers ta the cause. We would start a collection and help each other out. Dev’s excited about the idea.”
“I think it’s a good idea.”
Pip looked up at me again.
“Kings, ya won’t let go, right?”
I furrowed my eyeridges as I turned to face the young Killer.
“What do you mean?”
“Well, Aimee says I should let go of Pop, ya know let him rest in peace, but I don’t wanna. I don’t want him ta be forgotten and ya were the last person with him. If ya let go…Just don’t forget about him, ok?”
“I don’t think I can.”
Pip nodded his head and ran his sleeve across his snout. We both jumped as someone crept up the stairs.
“Who’s there?”
“Heron?” I gasped.
“Kingsley, who’s with you?”
“Me!”
“Pip? What the hell are you doing awake?”
“Could ask ya the same question.”
“What’s wrong, Heron?” I asked, dreading the answer.
“It’s the Shivians. I just received a message from their president. They want to talk.”

“Where did you learn how to tie a tie?” snapped Heron, straightening my tie for me as we waited in the large and overwhelmingly white lobby of Janus Hall.
“My father was one handed you remember?” I smirked, the bandage around my wounded eye irritating me.
“I don’t know why you asked me to come,” said Devin, pacing the lobby with the grand high and arched ceiling specked with gold, “I’m no good at things like this.”
“We need you to record everything,” said Heron, sharing a glance with the nervous Killer.
I frowned as Devin looked down. I knew what Heron really wanted Devin around, but I didn’t say anything. He was right off course. I was a liability with the state I was in. I jumped as the secretary’s heels echoed throughout the hallway and I tried to push Asia out of my mind.
“Mr. Montivelo, Mr. Massie, the president is ready to see you.”
“Thank you,” said Heron curtly nodding his head before shooting us a glance and walking through the great oak doors.
Devin and I took a breath before following him into the great unknown. The office was just as large as the lobby, we could have fit three tenement rooms in there. It was arched and heavily decorated with furniture carved from the Magnium trees found in Rubicon and mosaics, paintings, and sculptures designed by the best artists in all of Shiva lined the desk and walls. There was a large bay window that overlooked Goya’s Garden and a small coffee table with a chess board was placed in front of the window. President Patrick McAlister was sitting at his grand and ornate desk, opposite of the window. There were three stiff, but cushioned chairs arranged, I assumed, just for us. McAlister rose, but refused to offer his hand. I am afraid that the presidency had not been kind to him. His hair was thinning and deep wrinkles created caverns in his face. In all honesty, he reminded me of a shriveled up potato with a thick and curly brown moustache. To McAlister’s left was a bull of man with a bulbous red nose and had a horrible habit of splattering people with spittle every time he talked. To McAlister’s left was a short and quiet man with an assassin’s glare and a crocodile’s smile.
“Welcome, this is Chief of Police Dennis Leery,” said the president pointing to his right, “And this is Sebastian Wallace, the newly elected Party Leader.”
Yes, dear reader, that Sebastian Wallace. Even in his youth, he was Terra’s most dangerous politician-more so than even the Shadow Ambassador Damon Glasgow I would argue.
We nodded our heads.
“And you’ll have to forgive me, but I am only familiar with Mr. Massie.”
“This is the leader of the KLA, Kingsley Montivelo.”
Daniel’s eyes lingered on my wounded eye and he frowned.
“And this is Devin Tossier, our secretary.”
“Secretary?” asked Sebastian, raising an eyebrow, his voice like honey.
“We want this meeting to be well documented,” replied Heron, “It’s too important to leave to our collective memory.”
McAlister shared a glance with the two Shivians before sighing and sitting down.
“Please, have a seat,” he said, returning to his own seat.
We exchanged glances before sitting down.
“I am to understand, Mr. Montivelo, that you were there on September 28th.”
“Siegfried’s Day,” corrected Devin as Daniel took out a cigar.
“Excuse me?”
“It’s known as Siegfried’s Day.”
Daniel gritted his teeth together, tearing the end of his cigar into pieces as McAlister looked like he was trying to swallow a frog.
“Very well,” he croaked, “Were you there on…Siegfried’s Day?”
“Yes, I was,” I nodded my head.
“Any other KLA survivors?”
“I fail to see how that is relevant to this conversation,” I answered curtly.
McAlister’s moustache twisted and Daniel continued to chew on the remains of his cigar while Sebastian seemed content to sit and watch the duel that was about to take place.
“And what about the attack in the Shivian Hills on the 30th? Is that relevant?” blustered Daniel, causing me to flinch as he sprayed me with spittle.
“We were under the impression you wanted to discuss a peace,” said Heron, handing me a handkerchief.
“Yes, we do,” said McAlister shooting Daniel a warning glance, “But it has to be a mutual peace, Mr. Massie. There is a lot that has to be answered for.”
“Mostly by you and the DRCs,” said Devin.
“DRCs?” asked McAlisters.
“Shivian police,” Heron quickly interceded before Devin explained.
“We are trying to restore law and order,” thundered Daniel, leaning over McAlister’s desk, drenching Devin in spittle.
“This is getting us nowhere,” said McAlister, pushing Daniel back, “We are not here to point fingers or pick as fresh wounds. We are here to try and bring the hostilities to an end.”
“We will only consider peace if we Killers are granted full freedom,” I said.
“The Chamber is not going to approve a bill that allows the Shivian Hills to leave Shiva,” said McAlister exasperated.
“Then there is nothing to discuss,” I said, preparing to rise.
“You’re broken,” snapped Daniel, “You could not handle continuing the war. This peace is the only option you have.”
“Excuse me, Mr. Leery,” I sneered as I rose, “But it is you who are broken. You called this meeting, not us.”
“Mr. Massie, you are a moderate. Surely you can see that negotiating a peace is beneficial to both sides,” McAlister pleaded.
“68 of our people were murdered on Siegfried’s Day, Mr. McAlister,” said Heron, rising and motioning for Devin to do the same thing, “Only total freedom can make up for that.”
I shared a glance with Heron before we turned and walked towards the door. I held my breath as the seconds crawled by and prayed that this gamble worked.
“Kings,” Devin whispered as we were mere inches away from the door.
“Just keep walking, Dev,” I whispered back, my hand wrapping itself around the doorknob.
“Wait, please!” called McAlister, rising from his chair, “Surely we can come to some kind of agreement. A compromise of sort.”
I turned to face the president, but kept my hand on the doorknob.
“The only compromise I’d consider is one that leads to Killer freedom.”
McAlister licked his lips as Daniel continued to chew on the mangled stub of his cigar and Sebastian suppressed a smile.
“Please, let’s at least talk it over.”
I shared a glance with Heron who nodded his head, so I slipped my hand from the doorknob and lead Heron and Devin back to our chairs. We sat down and stared at McAlister expectantly.
“Let me make something very clear,” said McAlister, folding his hands together on the desk, “I cannot go to the Chamber and ask the honorable members to pass a bill that is going to tear our empire apart, not when we’re fighting a war in the desert to expand that empire.”
“And I cannot go to my people and tell them that our brothers and sisters died for anything less than total freedom.”
“You are in no position to turn down any kind of peace offering,” spat Daniel, “Siegfried’s Day broke you. We counted at least eighteen KLA members dead. You three could be the only survivors for all we know.”
“Siegfried’s Day only strengthened us,” I hissed, “We didn’t organize it, the people did. We only joined the protests after you opened fire on them.”
Daniel’s face grew read, but McAlister placed a hand on his arm.
“The Killer people are angry, Mr. President, and I can’t control them all.”
“We are willing to offer full wages to Killers in agricultural and hospitality career field and we are willing to offer Shivian Chamber members to represent the Killer district.”
“Of course you’d offer full wages, because ninety-five percent of it will go to Shivian landlords and overseers,” snapped Devin, “Most Killer farmers are practically slaves, returning at least half their wages to the landlord for their lodging and food and anything else the paintsniffers feel like charging and it’s the same way for Killer maids and butlers.”
“And Shivian representation is what we have now. It does not solve any of our problems,” I added.
“Well what is your offer?” snapped McAlister, his moustache twitching.
“I’ve already told you our terms.”
“We cannot do that!”
“Then there is nothing to talk about,” I snapped, edging forward in my chair.
Daniel threw his chewed up cigar onto the ground pulling out another cigar and lighting it this time.
“I can see if we can regulate what employers are charging their employees, but some of those costs such as food and lodging are necessary. We can’t have our farmer’s putting up Killers for free.”
As Daniel’s smoke floated towards my nostrils I saw Sean fall as Sandie ran towards Asia, bullets hitting him every second on the second. I watched him fall and reach out towards Asia, desperate for one last moment with his daughter before the end. Crack, crack crack! Had to get Sean to safety. Had to escape…Asia’s scream piercing my very soul.
“Kingsley!”
I jumped as Heron rested his hand on my arm. I noticed that everyone was staring at me as Daniel’s damn smoke continued to surround me and my ears still rang with Asia’s smoke.
“Are you all right, Mr. Montivelo?” asked Sebastian, his words like honey.
“What?”
“Are you all right?” asked McAlister, an inscrutable look on his face.
“Y-Y-Yes, it’s just…the smoke.”
I rose and walked towards his large bay window and opened it.
“Heron, please.”
The old Killer nodded his head as I stuck my head out of the window, closed my eyes, and took a deep breath of fresh air. I dropped Sean and killed the police officer. Gary offered me his hand and fell into my arms. Don’t forget him. That’s the problem, Pip, I can’t. I took two more breaths before pulling myself back into the office to discover Heron standing and arguing with a standing McAlister.
“When you are willing to truly negotiate a peace treaty, then you may contact us again, but this is an insult and a waste of time!”
Heron left in a huff and we followed.
“God damn…malfrats!” Heron shouted as he stomped through the lobby.
“Kings, you all right?” Devin asked, lowering his ears in concern.
“Fine,” I said far more brusquely than I intended as I sped away from my friend so I didn’t have to see the concern and fear in his eyes.

“I was thinking of getting some potatoes and a scrap of meat and making stew,” said Aimee, throwing on her tattered and thin coat.
“Ah, I’m tired of stew,” moaned Pip.
Devin shared an amused glance with me as I paced the room, waiting for Heron and Marcus to arrive.
“Well it’s either stew or stew, Pip,” sighed Aimee.
“Yesterday, Thomas has a shepherd’s pie.”
“Well you can go eat with Thomas then.”
“Actually,” said Devin, rising from his bed, “A shepherd’s pie sounds good.”
Aimee put her hands on her hips and glared at him.
“What do ya think, Kings?” chirped Pip, causing me to flinch.
“I don’t care,” I said, gesturing dismissively.
“Thanks for your support, Kingsley,” said Aimee dryly.
I swallowed as my ears twitched.
“If you buy the ingredients, I’ll make it.”
“Do you even know what goes into a shepherd’s pie?” asked Aimee, staring at Devin skeptically.
“…Things…edible things.”
“Oh, edible things. That’s comforting.”
I frowned as I glance at Devin and Aimee inching closer and closer to each other as they argued, Devin being his usual charming self, his hands resting on her hips, and Aimee trying hard not to smile, and I thought about poor Ernest, the only KLA member with a proper grave, and Asia pinned to the wall, her blood splattered against the mosaics.
“Please, Aimee,” begged Pip, pulling at her hand.
Gary had given me his hand.
“Are you all right with shepherd’s pie, Kingsley?” sighed Aimee, looking at me.
I stared at her for a few minutes and their faces slowly fell as my world started to spin. I stopped pacing and swallowed and gasped for air. My body tightened and I was painful aware of how small and insignificant I was, we all were, and I watched Sandie fall reaching his daughter and I saw Ernest’s grave disappearing into the dirt and I heard Asia’s scream and I smelt smoke and burnt flesh.
“I can’t do this,” I whispered, “I can’t.”
“What are ya talking about, Kings?” asked Pip, furrowing his eyeridges.
“I can’t! I just can’t! God damn it! Leave me alone!” I shouted before retreating into a corner where I rested against the wall and slid to the floor.
They all stood there and stared at me, bewildered. It was such a simple question, such a stupid simple question. I flinched as I heard someone with heels walking out the stairs and I smelt the smoke as the armored squad pushed our left flank, Asia and Gary running away, Asia falling down…down…down. I drew my knees to my chest and rested my head in my hands as the others watched-helpless and astonished. It was too much. I could not do this. I was not Siegfried or my father. I didn’t know what to do and I was so tired, so very, very tired. Sandie stumbled as he ran towards Asia. I should have said something. Who was I to ask her to die? Who was I?
“Hey, Kings, it’s me, Dev.”
I slowly looked up and noticed that Asia and Pip were gone, it was only me and a crouching Devin.
“You gave us quite a scare.”
“I can’t do it, Dev.”
“Devin took his cap and scratched the top of his head before sighing.
“Oh, Kings, I know.”
My eyes widened and I almost disappeared into myself again. Devin rested a hand on my arm and I swat it away without realizing it. I stared at him as my face and ears fell and I drew even further into my corner.
“Look, Kings, I know you’re hurting. I know. Heron didn’t want you to…Listen, Kings, I know things aren’t all right. I know. They were my friends too.”
I flinched.
“And I’m not going to tell you that there is no one else because there are plenty of other Killers willing to step up if you, if you want to step down. But…you survived for a reason, Kings.”
“Oh, don’t give me that Barisian bullshit. Where, in our time together, can you honestly tell me we’ve seen proof of a divine plan?!”
“No, that’s not what I meant. I meant…look, Kings, you fought to survive, for whatever reason, you weren’t content to die that day. You wanted to survive.”
I looked down as I dropped Sean. I just left him. I didn’t even look back. And Gary…
“Kingsley.”
I stared at him.
“You are a survivor. Siegfried and the others they know…they knew how to hate, but you know how to survive and this right now, this is just a rough patch, but you can beat it. I know you can. I’ve seen you do it before. We’ve all done it. Things aren’t all right,” said Devin, wringing his cap in his scaly hands, “But we can make them better. Just one step at a time.”
“I don’t think I can do that.”
“We have to try, Kings, otherwise…what did they die for?”
I blinked and looked away, my shaking hands clasped my knees as if my life depended on it.
“Come on, Kings,” said Devin, putting his cap on and rising, “Just one step at a time.”
I stared up at him, my snout quivering.
“Just get up. That’s all I’m asking of you,” said Devin, offering me his hand.
Gary offered me his hand. Smoke overwhelmed my nostrils and my ears echoed with screams and gunfire as my right eye twitched. Gary was dead. They were all dead, but not me. And not Dev.
“Come on, Kings,” said Devin, trying to keep his voice steady, but I could hear the crack, the fear.
What if I didn’t rise? What would he do? Everyone else was gone. It was just us…just us. I licked my lips before grabbing his hand and slowly rising. He smiled before grabbing our on tea cup and pouring me a cup of tea.
“All right, now drink this and relax. Take a second to catch your breath.”
I wrapped my shaking hands around the warm cup and tried to keep it steady. I took a sip and closed my eyes as the warm liquid slid down my throat. I felt Sean’s hot breath on the back of my neck and his murmurs of pain as the Shivians fired at us. Why did I leave him? I took another sip of tea and looked at Dev.
“Thank you.”
“Like you haven’t helped me a hundred times,” he smiled, the fear not quite gone.
“I’m sorry. I guess…I haven’t been sleeping. I’m just tired.”
I took another sip of tea as Devin rubbed the back of his neck.
“Maybe you should talk to Heron. Maybe he could give you something to help you sleep.”
My face darkened.
“Just until you’re sleeping on your own again. I thinking of asking him to help Pip. I mean Aimee and I are doing our best but…he’s not sleeping and he’s not eating. Well, neither are you.”
I took another sip of tea as Devin sighed.
“Listen, Kings, about Aimee-”
“It’s fine,” me voice like a whip.
Devin flinched, but scrunched his snout up determinately.
“No, it’s not. I didn’t mean to…She thought you were dead, so she came to me and I helped, that’s all. You had just died and I’m not that crude. But when you came back…”
“It’s all right, Dev, honestly,” I said, placing a hand on his shoulder.
“No, it’s not because you didn’t come back. You’re still there,” said Devin, looking me in the eyes, “And I told Aimee to help, to bring you back, but-”
“She can’t,” I smiled bitter sweetly, “It’s fine, Dev. You’re better for her.”
Ernest blushed and Asia grinned as they walked onto the dance floor and twirled, the band playing a beautiful waltz and we all cheered. It was supposed to be a long and happy marriage. It was supposed to be what we were fighting for.
“You have to take her to Ferdern, Dev, her and Pip. Don’t make Ernest’s mistake.”
“I can’t leave!”
“You have to.”
“No, Kings, I…I can’t.”
My face fell as Devin’s eyes softened and his ear fell.
“I didn’t make it back either.”
I placed the cup of the stove and slowly sat down on my sad excuse for a bed. Devin sat down next to me and took off his head to run his hand over his bald head.
“I’m sorry, Dev.”
“It’s a small price to pay for freedom, right?”
“You’re right,” I said, leaning my head against the wall, “We should have gone to Ferdern with my parents.”
“How could we do that?” asked Devin turning to face me, “It’s like Heron always says, how can we turn our backs on our people?”
“My father did it.”
“He left you to the cause, Kings. He had nothing greater to give.”
I stared at Devin.
“We’re close, Kings, we just need to hold on a little longer.”
I nodded my head as I thought Aimee’s question. What was I going to do after the war? We both jumped as Heron and Marcus strode into the room. Marcus stared at us with disdain as Heron’s face fell.
“Dear God who’s dead now?!”

“I told you the meeting would be a waste of time,” said Marcus, dressed in his usually priest disguise.
Everyone except Heron was sitting on the floor and we had just informed Marcus about the result of our meeting with McAlister.
“It was insulting, but it wasn’t a waste,” said Heron, “We learned that the Shivians are close to breaking. The fact that we were able to meet with them at all is a huge victory, especially since they were the ones who called the meeting.”
“That’s only happened once before, right, Heron?” asked Devin.
“Yes, back when Rory and I led the KLA,” said Heron.
“And that resulted in the Killers being sent to the front lines and betrayed by the Shivians,” scoffed Marcus.
“Oh, I wouldn’t survive five seconds in the Ignis,” said Devin, his ears falling and his eyes widening at the thought, “I barely survived prison, the army will be the death of me.”
“We’re not being sent to the Ignis,” I snapped, “Besides, it’s more of a Ferdarian affair now, then a Shivian.”
“Tell the Shivian government,” said Heron dryly.
“Their colonial impulse is disgusting,” sniffed Marcus.
“Yeah, well, our race is semi-suicidal so I don’t know if we’re in a place to judge,” said Devin flinching at the damning glare Marcus shot him.
“The problem is that McAlister and Leery think we were broken by Siegfried’s Day. He thinks we don’t have the stamina or resources to resist Shivian might.”
“He has a point,” said Devin.
“No, we’re not broken,” said Heron, “In fact, we have a number of new members and it’s spreading to other parts of Shiva. Protests are taking place without our guidance, which can be dangerous if they continue to be unsupervised, but we’re not broken. We just need time to regroup and reorganize.”
“If you turned McAlister down, then he’s going to tell Leery to clean you out. He’s going to try and crush you while you’re weak,” said Marcus, “He is already sending additional troops to the Shivian Hills to crush us.”
“But you killed all of his spies, so they’re blind,” said Devin.
“Doesn’t mean they’re not dangerous,” said Marcus.
I rose and started pacing before pausing and scratching behind my ear.
“We need something that will buy us time to rebuild while convincing McAlister that we’re far from breaking.”
“We could always try to blow up the Archives again,” said Devin, “You and I know the sewers pretty well now.”
“I’m sure they have cops swarming the sewers for that very reason,” said Heron.
“Well if compromised,” I said, absentmindedly playing with my long ear.
“God never compromises,” thundered Marcus.
“But mortals do,” said Heron dryly, “Explain, Kingsley.”
“They’re not going to give us our freedom, not right away, but what if we were able to chip at the laws that enslave the Shivian Hills and our people? What if we continue a mixture of diplomacy and terror campaigns? For every victory we gain, we lay low but use Dev’s propaganda and Heron’s connections to anger the people. Marcus, I know the Shivian Hills is a powder keg waiting to explode, can you hold that explosion back until it’s the most beneficial for us?”
“Yes, but what’s the purpose? If they are weak, we should gave everything we can from them.”
“That’s how you win wars, but that’s now how you win a political war,” I said, “And that’s what this is now. It’s a political war.”
Devin and Marcus stared at me skeptically.
“The Shivians risking showing weakness that has to mean that Siegfried’s Day did more than even Siegfried imagined. Ferdern, at the very least, has to have said something and the Conference of Risina is in three months. Maybe the Shivians already know it will be an item on the agenda and McAlister just won re-election. He is going to want to list ending the KLA as one of his presidential achievements. We’ve scared them and we have some leverage here. Before we were a small and secretive movement because we had to be, but this time, this time Siegfried has given us legitimacy and we can use it to create something bigger, something better. We could be an actual army and a political movement. We could be destroying their system on the one hand while simultaneously using it to destroy them. We just need time and a compromise could buy us that time.”
“If we ask for a compromise now it will look like we’re acknowledging that we’re broken and we’ll lose our legitimacy,” said Devin.
“Which is why we need to do something big before we ask for another meeting,” said Heron, “But neither you or Devin can do it. They know what you look like and seeing you anywhere will just draw the police towards us. Marcus, do they know what you look like?”
“No.”
“Are you willing to launch an attack in Shiva?”
“Can the IFM take credit for it?”
“We’ll call it a joint KLA and IFM attack, final proof that the Shivian race is strong and determined to pry their freedom from the Shivians,” said Heron, rising, a dark fire in his eyes that I had never seen before.
“Great, but what are we going to do?” asked Devin, rising simply because we were all standing now, “Do you have any members we need to bust out of jail, Marcus?”
“Dozens,” said Marcus, his ears twitching as he thought things over, “But, if we are trying to prove how strong we are, I think we’re going to need to do something bigger.”
He turned to face me and a shiver skated down my spine as I met his eyes that shone with a righteous fury, “If I arrange everything can I bomb Janus Hall?”
An eerie silence descended upon the room as we tried to register Marcus’ request.
“I was only joking when I said our race was semi-suicidal,” gasped Devin with a weak smirk.
“Can you do it?” I asked, my eyes hardened.
“Easily.”
“Wait a minute,” said Devin, his eyes widening, “We were just talking about how we’ve won legitimacy and now we’re going to throw it away just because McAlister and Leery are pricks?”
“It could be an IFM attack only, the IFM has no legitimacy,” said Marcus.
“Then it defeats the purpose,” said Heron, “We want to prove that the KLA is still strong and active.”
I folded my hands behind my back and started pacing again.
“Our people are dead,” I said slowly, Siegfried raising his revolver and coughing up blood as he was pinned to the statue, “And the Shivians responded by denying us and their families the opportunity to properly bury them and insulted us by offering to keep us pent up in the dilapidated Killer district and to continue to deny us representation within the Chambers. We offered a compromise and they refused. They have left us no choice but to continue our long fight for freedom. Dev, write it up and give it to Quentin after Marcus’ blows up Janus Hall. It may not save our legitimacy completely, but it may be enough to tug at the Ferdarian heart strings and will hopefully work against the Shivians at the Risina Conference.”
“I’ll type it up, but I can’t give it to Quentin. He’s been banned from Shiva.”
I paused in my pacing and whirled around.
“What? When?”
“After he published your op-ed. He send it to his publisher under his name to ensure its publication and the Shivians arrested him. I don’t know what he told them before he was sent back to Ferdern.”
I blinked as I tried to process this surprising bit of information.
“It may be time to start our own newspaper, or find a friendly Ilkhatal willing to start one for us,” said Heron.
“I think I can find one or two Killers who might be interested,” said Devin.
“I’ll start gathering the supplies and I’ll need three strong and brave Killers,” said Marcus.
“That won’t be hard to find,” said Heron.
For the Next Killer Who Dies Chapter 22
And here we meet the wonderfully corrupt Sebastian Wallace. He will not be an incredibly important character in this book, but he will become a devilishly slippery fellow later in the series and I couldn't resist introducing him here (especially since we have already met Scott Williams, Virgo's father, in a previous chapter.)

I like this chapter even though it is rough and there are things I need to fix. I like how Kingsley is progressing and I LOVE Dev! He's my favorite although don't tell the others that, they'll get jealous.

Anyway all comments/suggestions are encouraged.

(c) me

Chapter Twenty-One: For the Next Killer Who Dies Chapter 21
Chapter Twenty-Three
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Chapter Twenty-One
Hurrah, for the Next Killer Who Dies

I hid in the old woman’s basement for three days until I felt that it was safe to leave. I did not tell her out of fear that she would run to the police-if she hadn’t already. Instead, I waited until nightfall on the third day and pulled myself up and through the window. I hid in the shadows and peered around the corner and was relieved to see that no one was there. I ran across the street and threw myself into another alleyway. I had no idea where I was and I knew I could not hid in alleyways the entire time. I briefly considered using the sewers, but decided otherwise. I didn’t know where I was and the last time I was down there with Siegfried and Devin, it took us hours to find our way out. I doubted I would be as lucky this time. Siegfried…not now. Had to focus. I took a deep breath before running down the street and taking a sharp turn to the left before hiding in the dark doorway of a closed shop. I held my breath as I heard heels clicking against the mosaicked street. I had my revolver on me but I only had two shots left and if I fired it now I could attract all the police in Bearcaska to my location. I turned to face the door of the closed shop and threw my arm over my head, hoping I had efficiently covered my head and ears. I stood there for an eternity until I heard the soft laughter of two young girls and their infernal clicking. It reminded me of an empty chamber being fired, my empty chamber as the Shivians flanked us left and right and Asia ran and fell, her blood splattered across the cobbled road. I waited until the sound of heels faded before running up the street. I nearly died from a heart attack as a carriage turned the corner and threw myself into a damp alleyway, hurting my wrist as I did so. I painfully rose and walked towards the other end of the alleyway, double checking the street before running across the road. So far so good, but my luck would not last. It never did. Wait, this looked familiar, yes 10th and Clements, I was close. Thank God. Just three more blocks and I would reach our district. But where did I go after that? I knew the tenements would have been searched after our demonstration and there was no guarantee that they were safe or that Devin wasn’t in another jail cell. I thought about Kerry’s safe house, but that was on the other side of the district and there was no guarantee that they would still be there. Just get to the district. I could figure everything else out when I got there. As I hopped from alleyway to alleyway, I flinched at every shadow and jumped at every noise. My eye was still pounding with pain and my joints ached and screamed and my legs burned. There were moments when I had to take a break and hid in the shadows as my body prepared itself for one more sprint, one more alleyway and safety. But my body was tired and I was lost and I knew it wasn’t one more sprint. It was a hundred more sprints and each step did not bring me to freedom, but closer and closer to the noose. I should have died with them. Why did I try to escape? I should have died by Gary’s side. Better to die with friends than alone…but I hadn’t died and I needed to get home. I needed to…just one more sprint. Come on. Just one more. And so I continued, evading phantoms and footsteps, praying for the luck that abandoned us at Monet Square.

I grinned as I reached Atlee’s street. Just around the corner and I would entering the Killer district. Wait! How was I supposed to get passed the guards? Even if I had had my fake ID on my, there was no excuse for a Killer to be in the Shivian district at this time of night, especially since I was sure they had raised the curfew after our demonstration. I hid behind a building and peered around the corner at one of the four entrances into the Killer district. Well at least the Shivians still hadn’t put up walls, but they would most likely notice if I tried to sneak in. I needed a distraction. I thought about my revolver, but if I fired shots I would only succeeded in drawing more police to this side of the district and that was the last thing I needed. Maybe I should just charge the entrance. The Shivians would raise their rifles and fire and I would die. The last KLA member…but they wouldn’t kill me. No, they would wound me at most and then take me to headquarters for interrogation and maybe a public hanging. That was no way to die. But what could I do? I leant my head against the brick building and looked down and furrowed my eyeridges as it landed on a rock. How it had gotten there I did not know, but it was all I needed. I picked it up and tried to aim it at the second story window across the street, but relieved with dismay that my one good eye was hardly enough to aim properly. I had no other choice. I had to try.
Clashck
All right so it was the first story window, but it did the trick. The two Shivian guards abandoned their posts and ran towards the house, their rifles raised, and shouting. I sprinted down the street, not pausing to look behind me, praying they would not notice me and threw myself into an alleyway on the other side of the invisible line-cutting up my right elbow as I did so. I sat on the ground and rested my head against the building as I caught my breath. I had made it. I was home.

I jumped as I heard heavy boots and muttering. I slid further into the dark and watched as Shivian police member ran down the street. Of course the Shivians would be patrolling our streets as well. God damn it! I pounded the back of my head against the brick building, wondering what I could do now. I looked to my right and saw that the alleyway lead to another street. Did I continue my journey? Fleeing from shadows and bootsteps, jumping from alleyway to alleyway? How far would I get before the police caught me. I flinched as I heard more bootsteps. They were out in droves tonight. There was no escape. I would be caught. My only hope was to try and get into the building I was leaning against, but were they friendly? Would a Killer betray his own kind after Siegfried’s Day? Only one way to find out.

I crawled towards the edge of the building and peered both ways. There was a crowd of Shivian officers a block away muttering to each other. They must have been discussing my rock through the window. I looked to my right-nothing. Well…it was now or never. I sprinted around the corner and ran up the stone steps. Wait…this house was nicer than most…different from the tenement buildings…why did I know this house? Didn’t matter. No time. I gently pounded on the doors, my heart in my throat, pounding in my ears, as I held my breath, my body on edge, waiting for the bullet in the back. My eyes widened at a female gasp.
“Step-mother?!”
“Oh my God, Kingsley,” she said throwing her arms around my neck, “You’re alive!”
“Who is it, Cat? Who’s there?”
“Father?!”
“Kingsley! Oh My God…well bring him inside, Cat, we can’t let the police see him.”
My step-mother grabbed my arm and pulled me inside as my father slammed the door shut and locked it. Of course, this was one of Heron’s houses. Somehow he had managed to ensure that it was within the Killer district. I blinked as I stared at my father, my snout open and my good eye just about ready to pop out of its socket. He had aged considerably since the last time I had seen him. His scales were paler and there were wrinkles around his eyes and the hairs on his ears were graying. My step-mother looked just as young as the day they met, except her golden hair was starting to grey as well.
“Oh, thank God you’re alive,” she gushed as she led me into Heron’s small and warmly furnished dining room.
“What are you two doing here?” I asked as Caterina forced me to sit down.
“It can’t be.”
I turned around and saw Heron standing in the doorway that led to the kitchen.
“What happened to your eye?” asked my father as Caterina hovered over me
“It was the Shivian police,” I said brushing Caterina away, “But would one of you please tell me what is going on? Why are you here? You two are supposed to be in Ferdern.”
“We were traveling across the continent and we were making a short stop at Shiva to see you when we heard…,” started Caterina.
“We thought you had died,” explained my father, putting an arm around his wife, “At least the papers had said that you had died.”
“Died?”
“Yes, it was reported that you and Siegfried had died on Siegfried’s Day,” said Heron, placing a bowl of stew in front of me.
“Siegfried’s Day?”
“That is what Devin has been calling it. He figured that Monet Square Massacre was too defeatist and weak while Siegfried’s Day sounded strong and noble.”
Oh God Dev…he was still alive and not in a jail cell. Thank God.
“When we heard what happened we came here to beg the Shivians for your body, so we could give you a proper burial,” said Rory sitting down.
“But they said no,” said Caterina, standing behind her husband, “They said it was impossible as they had already taken care of the bodies.”
“What did they do to them?” I asked, Sandie’s outstretched body tumbled to the cobbled road, he was shot so many times he resembled a pincushion.
“They burnt them in the cathedral’s courtyard.”
“They didn’t even bother to try and identify the bodies,” said Rory, “They just burnt them.”
“So we didn’t even know who’s truly dead and who’s just hiding,” said Heron.
I blinked. We couldn’t even give them proper burials…Asia would not rest next to Ernest. Not fair. Not fair…
“Siegfried is dead,” I said, truly noticing the stew for the first time, my stomach so hungry it could eat itself, “So is Sandie and Gary. I don’t know about Sean.”
“Sean is dead,” said Heron.
I looked up aghast.
“Are you sure?”
“Yes, Margaret is trying to gain permission to leave. She is going to Ferdern.”
I faintly nodded my head and let my spoon fall into the stew. I folded my hands together and rested my head against them. Siegfried, Sandie, Gary, Asia…Sean…gone, all gone…all gone.
“Kingsley, darling,” said my step-mother, walking towards me and placing a hand on my shoulder, “What happened to your eye?”
I looked up and paused as I tried to collect my thoughts.
“It uh…It happened during Siegfried’s Day. I was fighting when a Shivian…”
His knife flashed before my eyes.
“He um he took out his knife and cut me across the eye.”
“How bad is the damage?”
I thought about Gary giving me his hand to help me up. He should have left me. He would still be alive if he left me.
“Kingsley?”
I looked at my step-mother.
“Sorry.”
“How bad is the damage, dear?”
“Oh, I uh think I’m going to be permanently blind in my left eye.”
“Well...maybe Heron can look at it,” said my step-mother looking at Heron, “Maybe he’ll be able to help.”
“I don’t think so, Cat,” said my father reading my face.
“We have to try!”
I nodded my head before facing Heron.
“What have we been doing since Siegfried’s Day?”
“Laying low and trying to deal with the Marcus’ cleanse,” said Heron pinching the bridge of his nose.
“He went through with it?”
“Oh, yes.”
“What have the Shivians done in retaliation?”
“Strangely nothing,” said Heron brushing some crumbs off his table, “Their papers are having a field day, but the government itself isn’t doing anything about it, which is odd.”
“But you don’t have to worry about that,” said my step-mother, sharing a glance with my father, “You need to worry about your own safety.”
I stared at her as I thought of Siegfried pinned to the statue, his revolver in his hand…the first to fall. My safety…We are all dead. We were dead the moment we joined the cause.
“My safety is the KLA’s safety,” I said, looking down at the floor.
“Heron, talk some sense into him!” said my step-mother.
Heron stared at me for a few minutes before looking at my parents.
“I think we are overwhelming him. He needs rest and food.”
“I’m fine!” I snapped, looking up at Heron.
I inhaled before returning to my stew and said, “I’m fine.”
“Heron is right, darling, and, I’m sorry, I didn’t even think of it, but you were just part of a massacre,” said my step-mother, hovering over me, “You need rest and then we can talk.”
I tightened my grip on the spoon and said, “There’s nothing to talk about, I’m fine.”
“Kingsley,” said my step-mother, kneeling and grabbing my hand as she used her other hand to force me to face her, “I know it must hurt so much, but your part is done, darling. You don’t need to sacrifice anymore. Let another Killer take the mantle. No one ever begrudged your father for leaving the KLA and they won’t begrudge you, not after Siegfried’s Day or whatever they’re calling it. Come to Ferdern with us, come home.”
I tried to look away and she tightened her grip on my hand, “Come to Ferdern and stay with us for a few months. That way this thing will be settled and it will be safer to return.”
I sighed and pulled away from my step-mother. She frowned, but continued to kneel before me.
“They died for us, Mom,” I said as my step-mother’s face softened, “They trusted me and Siegfried to gain their freedom and they died for that cause. I watched them die, every single one of them. How can I run away now when they are leaderless and scared? They need me to continue the fight, to ensure that their sacrifice wasn’t in vain. It’s the least I can do for them.”
“But what will it accomplish?” asked my step-mother, tears forming in her eyes, “You are no good to the movement dead and, if the Shivians find you, they will kill you.”
“I’m already dead.”
My step-mother turned to face my father.
“Rory, say something!”
My father looked up and said, “He’s right, Cat.”
My step-mother’s mouth dropped open as she stared at him.
“What?!”
“They need him here. He is the only survivor of Siegfried’s Day and he is more rational than Siegfried was so the Shivians might feel inclined to negotiate with him.”
“Don’t give him false hope!” snapped my step-mother, rising, “They never negotiate and they never will! The Shivians are better organized and equipped then you will ever be! There is no hope, especially now!”
“Normally I would agree with you, Cat,” said Heron, “But the fact remains that they has been no retaliation either here or in the Shivian Hills and that says something.”
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“Back in the day, if your father and I had done what Siegfried and Marcus did, we would have been lined up and shot before the sunset.”
“Do you think they’re just waiting?” I asked.
“Waiting for what is the question,” said Heron.
I furrowed my eye ridges as I thought it over.
“Listen to you three!” said Caterina walking away from my father and putting her hands on her hips, “We nearly lost Kingsley and now you’re trying to figure out another way to get him killed? Rory, this isn’t your fight anymore. You left it behind when we moved to Ferdern and, Heron, when was the last time the KLA seriously asked for your opinion? Kingsley, darling, I know you want to honor your friends, but you’ve done your part and you’ve given the Killer cause your time. You nearly gave it your life! Now you have to start living for yourself. Start a family. Be happy. Come with us to Ferdern. Let someone else finish the work for you.”
I thought about Asia pinned to the wall and I thought about Ernest being lowered into his grave and I thought about Sean. I left him behind. Maybe if I had gone back…if I hadn’t dropped him, maybe he would still be alive. Maybe he and Margaret would have been able to start a family. Gary fell into my arms all over again and I thought about Pip….Pip! Oh, God, poor Pip.
“Kingsley.”
I looked at my father and realized that my eye was starting to water.
Heron rose and said, “Cat, I think we should leave him alone. He is exhausted.”
My step-mother stared at Heron before turning to look at me. I slowly nodded my head and rose.
“I will lead you to a spare bedroom,” said Heron.
My step-mother grabbed my arm and whimpered, “Promise me you’ll think about it. I can’t…I can’t bear to lose you again.”
I patted her hand and said, “I’ll think about it.”
She faintly smiled and I followed Heron out of the dining room and up the ornate stairs. We walked down a dark hallway and he unlocked a white door.
“I keep them lock that way I know if someone has been tampering with them or not,” he explained when he saw my inquisitive look.
He opened the door and revealed a dusty, dark room. The only pieces of furniture in the room were a simplistic twin sized bed and a rocking chair. The large bay window was covered in thick curtains and there was a miniature fireplace on the right side of the room.
“If you wait a minute I can get you a change of clothes.”
I nodded my head and slowly walked towards the bed. I ran my hands across the dusty blanket and smirked. It was Heaven compared to where I had been sleeping the past few nights. I slowly turned and wearily sat down. Heron was right. I was exhausted.
“I hope these fit,” he said laying clothes beside me.
“I’m sure it will be fine,” I said.
“Now, before you pass out I would like to look at your eye,” he said pulling out a candle and a box of matches out from his pocket, “Even if you are forever blind in that eye, it still needs to be cleaned out before it becomes infected.”
I wearily nodded my head as he handed me the candle.
“I’m going to need you to hold that up as I look at your eye,” he said taking out a box of matches.
He lit the candle and I held it up as he searched through his medical bag.
“I felt so bad when I ran into Marcus,” he said, pulling out bandages and napkins, “I had completely run out of supplies when he came to me so I really couldn’t help him with his broken leg.”
“I’m sure he appreciated everything you did for him.”
“Damn, I’ll be right back,” he said, “I forgot the bowl of water.”
I sighed as he left the room. I used the candle to look around, but it was a rather boring room. I looked at the rocking chair and wondered who it originally belonged to. Siegfried’s Day. I couldn’t help but sniff at the thought. I wondered if my cousin would have approved, although it was fitting. It was his plan, his day. I frowned as I watched his body jerked with each bullet. What were we to do without him? Was there such a thing as the KLA, now that everyone was dead? Were Dev, Heron, and I all that was left?
“Now, let’s get on with this, otherwise you’re never going to go to bed,” said Heron.
I looked at him with a start and Heron’s face softened. He gently untied the strips of cloth around my eye and raised my hand a little.
“Hold it right there.”
He tilted my head to the right and examined my eye.
“They died for what they believed in, Kingsley,” said Heron, “You can’t ask for much more.”
“I know.”
Heron grabbed a napkin and dipped it in the bowl of water.
“Besides you all knew the risks.”
I hissed as he washed my wound. I thought of Sean and his bloody knee. Maybe I should have left him. Maybe he would have found a way to escape like I did. No, not with that knee. He would have been caught and he would have been publicly executed. Crack! Crack! Crack! Sandie tumbled to the ground, trying to reach his daughter for one last embrace. I smelt the smoke and heard Asia’s scream. She had almost made it…so close, so damn close. Gary offered me his hand. Why didn’t he leave me? Why didn’t I leave Sean? Because we were going to die together. That was the oath. Live together and die together and somehow freedom would be won.
“I think I can sew up most of the wound, but you’re right. Your sight will be lost.”
I woke with a start and stared at Heron.
“Right, yes, do what you have to.”
Heron took a needle and thread out of his bag. He thread the needle and held it over the candle.
“What is going to happen to Pip?”
Heron sighed, “I don’t know. I’m sure someone in the KLA would be more than willing to adopt him.”
“And Margaret?”
“I told you, she’s going to Ferdern.”
“Right.”
Heron held my face and said, “Don’t move.”
I hissed as he jabbed the needle into my skin and pulled.
“I watched him die.”
“You’re going to have to be more specific.”
“All of them….Gary. I watched Gary die.”
“There’s no crime in that,” said Heron weaving the needle across my wound.
“He was one of the last to die. I watched it happen.”
Heron pulled the needle before cutting the thread. He stared at me and said, “There is nothing you could have done. It was a choice you all made when you decided to enact Siegfried’s Day.”
“They trusted us.”
“They trusted you to win their children their freedom, which you can still do.”
I nodded my head as Heron put his needle away and pulled out a bandage.
“We’ll need to change this regularly.”
“I can’t run to Ferdern. You know that.”
“I know,” said Heron wrapping the bandage over my eye.
“They need me.”
“They need someone they can trust and who still has faith in the cause.”
I looked at him as he wrapped the bandage around my head.
“The question is: do you still believe?”
“Of course.”
He wrapped the bandage around my eye one more time before cutting the bandage. He placed his tools on the bed and looked me in the eye.
“And are you willing to order a hundred more Killers to their death?”
Sandie’s bloody corpse flashed before my eyes. We were all dead.
“Yes.”
“Then they need you and soon,” said Heron, putting his tools away, “The Shivian silence scares me. It means they’re planning something gruesome.”
I nodded my head and said, “Heron, would you be willing to be my second in command?”
Heron stared at me and frowned.
“You should pick someone younger. Someone who can take over just in case something happens to you. A revolutionary.”
“There’s no one left,” I said, tears forming in my eye, “We killed them all.”
Heron’s frowned grew.
“Besides I don’t think we need revolutionaries anymore,” I said, rubbing the back of my neck as I watched Siegfried gasp for the last time, “I think we need peace makers now.”
“Do you really think the Shivians have broken?”
“Even if they haven’t, I think we need peace.”
Heron’s face softened.
“Or, at the very least, time to rebuild,” I said as I stared at Asia’s body thrown against the wall.
Heron placed a hand on my shoulder and I gave a start.
“I will help, but you need to pull yourself together. Let the dead rest in peace, Kingsley. They have done their part and now we must do ours.”
I nodded my head as he left me with my friends.

We held a meeting in Heron’s basement a week after I stumbled onto his doorstep. He had not told anyone I was still alive in fear that the Shivians would somehow find out and I was half tempted not to attend. I could not face them, and yet why had I stayed if I was not willing to lead them? My parents had left four days prior to the meeting, my step-mother refusing to say goodbye after she heard my decision to stay. My father though, he understood and even though we said nothing more than goodbye, we both knew we were never going to see each other again. I wish I had told him I loved him one last time, but at the same time it seemed kind of pointless. He knew.

I stumbled down the stairs after I was sure everyone who was attending had arrived. Heron was in the middle of the room, waiting for my arrival. As I slowly trembled through the crowd I saw Kerry sitting in a corner hardly talking to anyone and Devin, in a proper cast, turning around to see what was the commotion was about. Aimee, who had also been sitting down and ran towards me, but was beaten but Devin, crutches and all.
“My God, Kings, you’re alive!” he cried, throwing his arms around my neck.
My eyes widened as I nearly fell over.
“Good to see you too, Dev,” I muttered.
My friend pulled away and whirled around to face Heron.
“Why didn’t you tell us?!”
“We didn’t want the Shivians to find out.”
Aimee took a step towards me, but I grabbed her arms before she could hug me and shook my head. Her face softened, but I simply walked away.
“Kingsley,” said Heron, watching me closely, “Do you want to start?”
“No,” I croaked, hiding my shaking hands in my pants pockets, “You can start.”
Heron stared at me for a few minutes before nodding his head.
“We’ve received the surprising news that non-KLA organized protests have sprung all over Shiva…”
I will be honest and admit I do not remember what we talked about that night. I spent most of the meeting sitting in a corner, avoiding everyone’s gaze, and letting Heron do what needed to be done. I tried to ignore my cousin muttering at everything Heron said and Asia in a corner whispering to Ernest while Sandie chewed on his toothpick, his scar growing and shrinking depending on his mood and the tattoo of the broken chain around his neck fluttering with each breath he took.
“Kingsley?”
I jumped and saw Pip standing before me. Heron was in the background talking about the Shivians and the fact that the Ferdarians had sent another delegation to Shiva. I stared at Pip and I instantly saw Gary giving me his hand.
“I hope I’m not bothering ya,” said Pip, wringing his hat in his hand.
“No,” I choked, “Of course not.”
“I’m just….I’m not in the mood ta listen,” he sniffed, wiping his nose, “And ya didn’t seem ta be in the mood either.”
I smiled faintly and looked down.
“It’s that obvious, huh?”
“They say ya were with Dad when he died.”
Crack! Gary fell into my arms and I left him. I didn’t even stop to see if he was still alive. I dropped him and ran and now Pip was standing in front of me.
“Is that true?” Pip pressed.
I continued to look at my feet and nodded my head.
“I was just wondering…was it quick?”
I looked up at Pip with a start and saw his eyes were beginning to water.
“Because it’s better that way,” he said, stubbornly fighting his tears, “Betta be quick.”
“Come here, Pip,” I said, pulling the young Killer on my lap, “It’s all right. It’s all right.”
He rested his head against my chest and played with the cross Gary had given him and sniffed, “I had just gotten him ta agree ta raise chickens and pigs ta.”
I smiled and scratched behind one of Pip’s long ears.
“Kingsley…how did he die?”
I frowned. Crack! Crack! and Gary choked up blood.
“It’s ok,” said Pip, wiping his tears away, “I can take it.”
I watched Heron speak to the group and I could see Gary, his arms folded across his chest as Asia laughed at his typical gruff remark and Siegfried rolled his eyes, desperately trying to restore order.
“Kingsley?”
I swallowed and said, “He died saving my life.”
Pip looked up at me and his young face softened.
“I can live with that.”
I looked down and smiled. Pip rested his head against my chest and wiped his nose as I held him close.
“Do you have a place to stay?”
“Yeah, Dev’s taking me in.”
I looked over at Devin and noticed that the Killer was watching me and Pip closely.
“Marcus reports no activity within the Shivian Hills,” said Heron, “Until we are certain about the Shivian’s intentions, we are to remain low. We do not want to risk making things worse than they already are. The war is not over, but I think we are on the cusp of a ceasefire, a ceasefire we desperately need. I know all of you want revenge for what happened. So do I, but the cause is more important is any individual member. Siegfried understood that and he understood the value of martyrs. We have forced the Shivians on the offensive. Let them decide if this will be the beginning of a new peace or a continuation of the fighting we’ve seen the past few years. That’s all I have. Kingsley?”
I looked up with a start and realized the others were staring at me as well.
Pip pulled my sleeve and muttered, “Let’s sing Kerry’s Lament ta honor the dead.”
I nodded my head and looked at Heron.
“Very well,” he sighed, “Would you do us the honor of starting, Pip?”
The young Killer hopped off my knee and clasped his cross before singing:

“Raise your glasses and stand steady
For now we bid goodbye
To the ones who are dead already
And hurrah for the next Killer who dies


Devin and Aimee joined in and shamed us all to sing along the rest of the song:

Sing with me, my dear friends
Of memories I can barely recall
And drink with me, my dear friends
Before our great fall

Raise your glasses and stand steady
For now we bid goodbye
To the ones who are dead already
And hurrah for the next Killer who dies

Betrayed by those we trusted
Our dear ones all shed tears
Our best have gone before us
And only the worst have survived the years.

Raise your glasses and stand steady
For now we bid goodbye
To the ones who are dead already
And hurrah for the next Killer who dies

I passed by your home
Saw your beloved waiting for your return
Tipped my hat and continued to roam
She understood and turned.

Raise your glasses and stand steady
For now we bid goodbye
To the ones who are dead already
And hurrah for the next Killer who dies

Forgive me, dear comrades, that I should rise
And you should fall
Farewell, oh brave ones
And know we love you all.

“Raise your glasses and stand steady
For now we bid goodbye
To the ones who are dead already
And hurrah for the next Killer who dies
Hurrah for the next Killer who dies”
For the Next Killer Who Dies Chapter 21
So I like this chapter more than the previous chapter. I like how I handle Kingsley's state of mind better in this chapter and I like how his parents react-especially Caterina. She's really such a sweet person. XD I also like the interaction between Pip and Kingsley.

Anyway, all comments/suggestions are encouraged.

Enjoy!

(c) me

Chapter Twenty: For the Next Killer Who Dies Chapter 20
Chapter Twenty-Two: For the Next Killer Who Dies Chapter 22
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Chapter Twenty
Aftermath

I woke with a start and grabbed my revolver as something dark leant over me.
“Oh, no, it’s all right,” said a voice that sounded like parchment, “It’s all right.”
I kept my revolver at my sided as I tried to make out who was standing before me. There was a small candle on the floor, but the light was barely enough for me to see my own hand, let alone three feet in front of me. I jumped as something soft rubbed against my right hand.
“It’s all right, that’s just Max.”
“M-M-Max?” I sputtered.
“My cat.”
I blinked and stared at what appeared to be an old Shivian woman. Winks had taken over her face so she looked like a shriveled up potato and her grey curly locks cascaded down her back. She was wearing a nightgown and dirty slippers. I jumped again as her cat rubbed against my hand. God damn thing.
“Listen, it’s all right. I’m not going to hurt you,” she said, “I just want to look at your eye. Can I do that?”
“What?”
A knife sank lower and lower towards my face.
“Your eye.”
I brought a shaking hand to my bloodying face and shuddered as I felt the blade sink into my eye. Gary…Gary had been there. Should have left me. He would have been alive if he left me.
“Are you still with me?”
I gave a start and jerkily nodded my head.
“F-F-Fine.”
I placed my revolver on the ground as she gently scooted closer, moving the candle with her so she could get a better look at my face. Her cat purred as it jumped into my lap and I awkwardly rested my hand on its small head, occasionally and absentmindedly scratching behind its ears.
“Aw, your face!” she frowned before looking down at a bowl of water and linen I did not even notice. She grabbed a piece of linen and dipped it into the water before gently dabbling it on my face. I hissed.
“You were at Monet Square, weren’t you?”
Siegfried’s body jerked as it was filled with lead, each bullet pinning him to the statue-a grotesque marionette with its strings cut. The first to fall…
“Yes.”
“I had two sons,” she said, “One was killed by the bomb planted in the archives in 1927 and the other was killed leading a raid in the Shivian Hills.”
I frowned and my hand inched towards the revolver.
“But I don’t hate,” she said, throwing the bloody napkin to the floor and grabbing a fresh one, “And I don’t blame. I understand. What we did and do to your kind is wrong, but your kind is just as wrong. You cannot expect to win your freedom if you slaughter our sons.”
I winced as she cleaned out my eye. I had abandoned Sean. We could have made it together, but I had dropped him. I didn’t even look back, not for Sean, not for Gary, not for Sandie, or Asia. She shouldn’t have come. She should have stayed. Now no one was left. Gone…all gone.
“I don’t know much of course. I’m an old woman whose only friend is a cat, but I know right and I know wrong and I like to think that there will be a day when young men won’t have to die just so others can breathe as free men-or Killers.”
Gary’s stunned face flashed before my eyes as he fell into my arms. I left him there. I didn’t even check to see if he was still alive. I just ran…She tilted my head up so she could get a better look at my injury.
“They got you bad. And I don’t think there is much else I can do. I’m not a doctor.”
“I…ok,” I muttered.
The old woman frowned as she grabbed a clean napkin and pressed it against my cut, causing me to groan.
“I’m sorry, but I have to stop the bleeding.”
I barely nodded my head as Max rubbed his head against my hand.
The woman continued to put pressure on the wound as I stared passed her. I saw Asia pinned to the wall, her blood splattered across the painted cherry blossoms and Sandie mere feet away, reaching, always reaching, always will be reaching. I should have sent her away. I should have said something.
“There is something I want you to tell your boys when you return to them to plan another protest. Not all Shivians are cruel. Can you remember that?”
“Yes.”
“Good. You tell them that, all right? It probably doesn’t matter, but…they should know that.”
I thought about Margaret and their baby…Sean was gone…Gary was gone. Who would look after Pip? Not all Shivians were cruel? No, just most.
“Ah, there we go,” she said, removing the linen, “Now I don’t have bandages, but I have mixed linen that I don’t need anymore. If you could help me tear it I can tie it around your eye.”
I took the linen and tore it into strips as the old woman rested
I looked down at Max and scratched the cat behind the ears as she wrapped the linen three times around my head before tying it. Devin had wanted a cat for our room…Gary was allergic.
“It’s not great, but it will have to do.”
“Thank you.”
“I can get a doctor-”
“No!” I said, tightening my grip on my revolver again, “No!”
“All right, all right,” she said, her voice softening.
I loosened my grip, but I kept my hand on the revolver.
“Are you hungry? I have a few scraps left over from dinner.”
I painfully nodded my head and the old woman gingerly rose.
“I’ll be right back.”
I stroked Max’s head and sighed as I dropped Sean again. All my friends were gone, all gone.

Up until this moment I have been content with leaving the Shivian Hills out of my narrative. I did not have a hand in any events that took place there until long after Siegfried’s Day, so it made no sense for me to include it, until now. Now, I must spend a moment and discuss Marcus’ Bloody Cleanse. Since I was not there, I will reprint an excerpt from his diary describing the attack:

The mist that God had blessed us with was slowly burnt away by the rising sun. The sky was starting to lighten and the sun casted the city in a pale, blue light. There was a sharp chill in the air and the only people on the streets were Shivian police officers, condemned prostitutes, and the few early risers who were opening their shops and cooking breakfast for their guests. Everything seemed normal except for the group of two, dark figures I was leading towards Martha’s Motel. We wore long, black trench coats, black fedoras pulled down over our faces, and we had our hands in our pockets. I was constantly scanning the streets as we used the dim morning shadows to camouflage our movements. I knew our God would not prevent us from performing out sacred duty, but cautious only makes victory easier. I had groups of Killers all over town killing traitors and a number of Shivians officers stationed in the Shivian Hills. News of what happened at Monet Square had quickly spread and I was not going to sit by and let such atrocities go unanswered. I knew it was what Siegfried and Kingsley would have wanted and I could not let their sacrifice be in vain.

My companions were named Warren Kingfisher and Travis Dunaway. Warren was a dedicated member with a strong taste for blood will Travis was slower, calmer and had a sister in Delberry. They were new to the cause and untested, but I could not be picky at the moment. Besides God was sure to protect them or reward them with an early visit to Heaven. We carefully walked up the wooden steps and knocked on the door. I glanced up and down the street one more time as a female Killer opened the door. Her eyes widened and I grabbed her snout and brought a finger to my snout.
“Shhhhhh.”
The female whitened as I pushed her into the hotel and one of my companions closed the door. I pushed her into the wall and held her in place before jerking my head towards the staircase. Warren and Travis nodded their heads and carefully climbed up the stairs.
“Stay down here,” I told her before following my comrades.
I crawled down the hallway and saw Warren and Travis standing next to a door. I met eyes with Warren and he nodded his head. Travis knocked on the door and we held our breaths as we heard someone stumble out of bed and fumble with the lock. We drew our revolvers and Travis cocked his revolver as a young female Killer opened the door.
“What?!”
Her green eyes widened and she whitened as she was eye to eye with three barrels. Shaking, she brought her hand to her mouth. Someone called her name.
“Move,” mouthed Travis.
She tightened her grip on the door.
Someone called her named again. Travis pushed the door open and shoved the woman into the wall. We followed and Warren pointed his revolver at our target-Varius Underwood. He was standing near the wardrobe with his robe half on. The room was dark, but warm and it seemed that the couple had been sleep rather soundly before we interrupted them.
“On your knees,” said Warren, pointing his revolver at Varius.
Varius’ wide, shaking eyes flirted to his wife and his light green skin whitened.
“You heard him,” I said, also pointing my revolver at Varius.
“Please…my wife…”
“On your knees,” said Warren, smacking Varius in the head with the butt of his revolver.
She screamed as Varius stumbled to the ground.
“Quiet or you’ll be joining him,” said Travis, pointing his revolver at her face.
“Please,” she pleaded, tears running down her face, “Don’t hurt us.”
Warren stood behind Varius and rested the barrel of his revolver at the back of Varius’ head.
“Please,” said Varius, shaking, “Not in front of my wife.”
I shared a glance with Travis and Warren and nodded my head. He was a traitor that deserved all of God’s fury, but I knew our Holy Lord would not be pleased if we were barbaric enough to kill a husband in front of his wife. We were cruel, but were not Shivians. Warren pulled Varius up, shoved his revolver into his back, and pushed him outside.
“Stay with her,” I told Travis as I followed Warren out of the room.
Warren shoved Varius down the hallway until we reached a hotel room at the end of the hallway. I traded places with Warren and he kicked the door down. Thankfully it was an empty room. I shoved the tratiro into the center of the room and kicked in his knees, causing Varius to fall to the ground. Warren closed the door and stood beside me. The traitor rose to his knees and looked over his shoulder at us.
“Please,” he pleaded, “You don’t understand.”
“Face the wall,” I said, raising my revolver.
“I had too. I had no choice.”
Warren raised his revolver as well.
“You always have a choice.”
Their traitor started to shake as he faced the wall and muttered a prayer for forgiveness. We pulled the trigger and watched his brains splatter across the wall as his body tumbled to the floor. We pulled back our revolvers and walked out of the room. When we entered the hotel room, the woman was a shaking mess on the floor. She held her head in her hands and tears poured down her scaly cheeks. I met Travis’ eyes and nodded my head. We left her on the floor and rushed towards the staircase, but paused as we heard a group of people creeping up the stairs. Damn it! We ran down the hallway and jumped into an empty room. Warren gently closed the door as we heard footsteps walking down the hallway. We scanned the room as Travis checked the window. He waved us over and pointed outside. Thankfully this room faced the back of the motel. There was a small courtyard and directly below their window was a large tree. I nodded my head as Travis opened the window. Warren stood near the door and cocked his revolver as the sound of footsteps grew louder.
“Hurry,” I said.
Travis carefully placed his leg out of the window and gingerly climbed onto the tree.
“Warren!” I hissed.
Warren shook his head as the doorknob started to turn. I swore. Travis let out a painful damn as he slipped and tumbled through the branches. He grabbed one of the bottom branches and hung from the branch. The door swung open and Warren hit the Shivian in the head with the butt of his revolver, however, the Shivian was not alone. He was followed by three more Shivians, one who tackled Warren and the other two firing their revolvers at me. I threw myself out the window and let out an oooaf as I tumbled through the tree branches. I was only able to stop myself a branch above Travis. My companion’s eyes widened and he almost laughed until the tree was riddled with bullets. Travis let go and tumbled to the ground as I, with a little more grace, joined him. Bullets bounced around us as we ran through the garden. Unfortunately there was no way out as the metal gate was locked and the rest of the gate was made out of bricks. The Shivians pulled away from the window and I knew we only had a few minutes before the Shivians ran down the stairs and run through the backdoor into the courtyard.
“We have to climb up this wall,” I said, looking it over.
“What about Warren?”
“Forget him.”
It pained me, but I knew the Lord would reward him in Heaven. Travis stared at me before nodding his head and cupping his hands. I placed my foot into Travis’ hand and grabbed the top of the wall, pulling myself up and over. Resting on top of the wall, I reached down towards Travis. The door kicked open as the Shivians ran into the courtyard. Travis grabbed my hand and I tried to pull him up. Sharp cracks broke the still morning as Travis choked on his own blood. He slumped over, nearly pulling me over the fence as blood dripped down his back from five bullet holes. I let go of Travis and jumped to the ground, hissing as a sharp pain shot through my leg. I shook my head and I stumbled down the street, pushing through the slowly gathering crowd. I tripped down the street until I reached one of the manholes that lead to the newly built sewers. I pulled it open and jumped down into the slimy and muddy catacombs, disappearing from sight and mind.

I spent hours tumbling through the dark and damp sewers, running my hands across the slimy brick walls, and trying hard to avoid falling into the disgusting water. The sewer was pitch black and echoed with rushing water and the occasional squeak as I surprised an unassuming rat. My leg was killing me, but I gritted my teeth and forced myself to continue forward. I needed to get to the previously agreed meeting place and see how everyone else fared. I knew God was going to punish me for losing Warren and Travis. I should not been so careless. We could not afford to lose members like that. Not after Monet’s Square. At least we had gotten rid of all the informers and crippled the Shivian intelligence ring. I swore as I slid in an area of mud and my boots touched the water. I shook my head and let out a sigh of relief as my hand brushed against a metal ladder. I wrapped my scaled, clawed hand around the rung and slowly and painfully climbed up.
I grunted as bumped my head against a manhole. After rubbing my head, I pushed the manhole open and pulled myself into the street. I closed my eyes as I laid in the street and took in a deep breath of fresh air. By all that is holy, fresh air has never tasted so sweet before. I opened my eyes and slowly rose. It was pitch black, well past curfew, and the streets were eerily empty. I needed to move, and fast, before a Shivian police officer saw me. I hissed as I gingerly stepped on my leg and stumbled towards a dark alleyway. I leant against the dark wall and looked at my bent leg. I had decided what must have been six hours ago that it was broken and right now I would give anything to stop the pain. I berated myself. Did Amal give up on His sacred duty when he was in pain? No, so get up. Worry about the leg later. With the Lord providing me the strength I desperately needed, I painfully pushed myself up and peered around the corner. So far so good, now where was I? Cannon street and Abel Ave. I was nowhere near the meeting place, but I was close to a friend…of course I was. God would not abandon me in my time of need. I took in a deep breath and hobbled down the street and took a left before dragging myself up the stone steps of a large and expensive house. I pounded on the door and leant against the doorway. Siegfried had leant me Heron to care for some of my grievously wounded members and I knew he had taken up residence here. I just prayed that he had not yet started his difficult journey back to Bearcaska. I let out a sigh of relief as the door opened and Heron dragged me in. He closed the door with a snap and looked me over.
“What the hell happened to you?”
I could not help but smirk at his red, tattered robe, pinstriped pajamas, and mangy, furry slippers.
“Paintsniffers.”
“What have you done?”
I hissed as I leant against Heron’s light blue walls.
“Didn’t Siegfried tell you?”
“No.”
“We’ve gutted their intelligence ring and we’ve killed a number of their officers.”
Heron’s eyes widened as he whitened.
“What?”
“We found out who the informers were and we’ve taken care of them.”
Heron stared at me before fully understanding my appearance.
“Come into the study. I’ll see if I have anything to help you with your leg.”
I hobbled into the study and collapsed onto Heron’s couch as Heron disappeared into his dark and vast house. The room was large with white wooden walls and a deep fireplace. In the center of the fireplace were light embers, casting dark shadows onto the room. I painfully pulled my leg onto the satin couch and rested my head on the arm of the couch. I wondered how the others fared. Hopefully better than I did. I closed my eyes and sighed. May God damn those Shivians, damn them all to hell. Heron bustling to the study and started to cut my pant leg.
“I brought you a change of clothes,” he said as he cut the cloth, “Sorry if they’re a little tight.”
“It’s better than nothing,” I said scrunching my nose as Heron examining my leg.
“What happened?”
“We were ambushed and I broke my leg during the escape.”
“Were you alone?”
“I had two others with me.”
Heron stared at me.
“I’m sorry.”
“It is the price of freedom.”
Heron shook his head and grabbed a stick and bandages.
“I’ve used all of my supplies on the others. I don’t have the proper materials to make a cast, but this will help it set and hopefully heal correctly.”
“Thank you,” I said as Heron placed the stick against my leg.
“Hold it still.”
I hissed as Heron tightly wrapped a bandage around my leg and the stick. He worked in silence as I tried to focus on his exquisite decorations instead of the throbbing pain.
“All done,” said Heron gently placing the leg on a pillow, “You’re going to have to stay off of it for a while.”
“I understand.”
Heron sat down in a leather chair and I watched the dark shadows flirt over his long and aged face.
“So what’s the plan now?”
“I don’t know.”
Heron paused and cross one leg over the other.
“I do not know if what you did today was wise.”
“They were traitors, besides they butchered our people at Monet Square. Something had to be done,” I said, looking at him incredulously.
“Don’t you think enough blood has been split?”
“This might be enough to break the Shivians. This could be the last event before the Shivians capitulate.”
“And look at the casualties.”
I shrugged.
“They’re worth it if they win the war.”
Heron sighed and rested his head in his hand.
“Do you honestly believe we would be that lucky?”
“I think we might be,” I, grunted as I shifted, “The war has gone on for far too long and both sides are tired. This just might be the push the Shivians need.”
“And what if it’s not?”
“Then it’s just another bloody event in our bid for freedom.”
“We’ve had enough of those.”
“And we’ll have plenty of more if the Shivians don’t see reason,” I said closing my eyes.
“Did you know them well?”
“Who?”
“The Killers you lost today?”
“Not incredibly well. They were new members, had only been with us for two months. It was my fault,” I said opening my eyes and staring at the dark ceiling, “I was careless. I should have known the Shivians would have been there.”
“Do you think they were tipped off?”
“I think one of the employees went to get the police. There was a maid who opened the door, but I didn’t even think to search the rest of the motel. We didn’t have time and I was more concerned about getting our target.”
Heron’s dark form sat in the armchair, a deep, judging shadow in a room of shadows.
“How many targets were there?”
“We had the one, but there thirteen informers and ten police officers on our list, so twenty-three in total.”
“Why the police officers?”
“They were the captains of the ten bully squads stationed here.”
“There will be repercussions.”
“There always are.”
Heron sighed and shifted in his chair.
“Was it Siegfried’s plan to lose those men?”
“I think he was counting on it.”
Heron shook his head.
“I will need to return to Shiva tomorrow. They will need me to deal with the aftermath.”
I nodded my head.
“Will you come with me? It might be wise to stay low for a while.”
“No, I am needed here.”
Heron nodded his head and stared at a dark corner before rising with a start.
“Forgive me, Marcus, you must be exhausted.”
“It’s all right.”
“I left the change of clothes on the armchair and feel free to dry your clothes on the fire. You are welcome to use the house as long as you need to. It is not mine, it the rebellion’s.”
“Thank you.”
“Good night.”
I heard Heron walk out of the room and close the study door with a soft snap. I painfully rose and stumbled to the armchair. I grabbed the soft button down pajama shirt and ran my clawed fingers over the material. It had been a while since I had worn anything this comfortable. I took the revolver out of my coat pocket and ran my claws over the groves. I knew Heron disapproved of all the violence, but we had tried the peaceful way and it had gotten us nothing but scorn. When Shardith had rooted himself in the desert, Amal unleashed the dogs of war to drive him out. This war was no different. The Shivians only understood war and every death that occurred during the struggle was on their heads, not ours. I took off my coat and shirt and threw them over the grating in front of the fire. I had no idea where my hat had gone. Probably in the sewer somewhere….or lying next to Travis’ body. I muttered a quick prayer as I painfully took off my pants and threw them over the grating as well. I grabbed Heron’s pajamas and swore as I tried to put on the pants. Thankfully they were a little loose; it was just difficult trying to get my broken leg to slip into the pant leg. Would Heron kill me if I cut up his trousers? Probably. I grabbed the shirt and slipped it on before resting my hands on the mantelpiece. I took a deep breath as a sharp pain shot up my leg. Oh well, better to be in pain than some of the other alternatives. I stared into the fire and muttered, “Forgive us, Father, of our sins and take today’s martyrs into your peaceful halls. I pray in Amal’s name. God bless us all.”
For the Next Killer Who Dies Chapter 20
So I'm not happy with this chapter. I don't like how I handled Kingsley's state of mind, I'm not sure if Marcus' part is needed or if it just breaks the blow of the story, and I still don't think Marcus is coming out the way I want him too. :/ Oh well, thank god this is a rough draft. Haha

As always comments/suggestions are encouraged.

Enjoy!

(c) me

Chapter Nineteen: For the Next Killer Who Dies Chapter 19
Chapter Twenty-One: For the Next Killer Who Dies Chapter 21
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:iconxxi-feel-infinitexx:
xXI-Feel-InfiniteXx Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Thanks for the fave :heart:
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Tigurus Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2014
I forgot your birthday! D: 
Happy belated birthday! *gives cake*
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Delta-13 Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Haha, thank you! *gobbles up the cake* Mmmmm delicious. ^_^
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Halfloner Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2014  Student Writer
Thank you for your contribution to the Authors-Club contest.

And I wish you a very happy unbirthday tonight !Confettication 
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Delta-13 Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Aw thank you. It was great to read some many wonderful pieces.

Haha, thank you. ^_^
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JawaBoxerEOD Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
:iconrainbowbummiecakeplz::party: Happy Birthday!! :party::iconrainbowbummiecakeplz:
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Delta-13 Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Aw, thank you! :)
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JawaBoxerEOD Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
You're welcome :)
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Kobanaa Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thank you for the fave. :)
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Delta-13 Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
No problem. It was an awesome piece!
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