The Beginning of the Slippery Slope
Vincent sat. Posed on the rock bench in the Chamber of the Falls much like Rodin’s The Thinker. He came after sending Catherine away post fight, or post massacre more like it, with that band of evil invaders into their tunnels. Vincent knew when he sent Catherine away that she would not be pleased. Indeed, he felt her dejection growing with every step closer to her building. He left Father’s chamber shortly after to come to this place to settle his mind and mend his heart.
Never in his experience had he encountered such soulless beings intent on nothing but evil. Father tried reason and generosity, and Vincent knew it was futile. Evil takes no quarter. Vincent knew his skills would be required; even more, he feared it would take the totality of the Beast in him to meet the challenge evil would throw at him. And he was right.
Vincent knew every killing cost him. Death became all the more easy to administer the next time after every kill. When would he feel only numbness in mind and heart and approach the task with chilling efficiency? It was a price worth paying for protection of those he loved, wasn’t it? What else had he to contribute to earn his place in their world, the only place of safety for him to exist? Yet never had he felt the cost as he did now.
By all that’s holy, he had nearly killed a child! Had killed a woman. Vanquished others, including the strong man of the bunch. But the true cost may well lay in how lost he felt in the doing. His rage had surpassed what he had ever felt before. His body had thrummed with the adrenalin surging throughout, making light work of such a dreadful task. And the feelings, oh, the feelings he recalled now, laying weight upon his shoulders like Atlas’ world. A haze had come over him and he saw naught but the evil and the gladdening in his mind at every successful blow. He was mightier than evil! A savage giddiness had filled him, and Catherine barely reached him to pull him back.
What would Catherine understand of this? That for a moment he had felt truly the alpha male of his pride? That he truly was an animal when it came to protecting those he loved? That he was capable of reveling in the death he caused when pressed to such limits? What words could he use that could soften the blow of seeing him as he truly was, as a beast? For how could you love such a beast? Unless you were like him, shared similar abilities to know what it took to kill as he killed, and do it with a compliant human mind. And he knew that was not Catherine.
She says she loves all of me. She has seen me kill. She saw me as I battled this evil in our presence. But she did not see inside me. And that is what I cannot explain, cannot share with her. For it would drive her away. Away from me, from the love we share. And that would kill me, surer than any evil I may confront. So I sit here. Thinking. She must know me, for fairness to her, and liberation for me in the telling. But to tell her is to lose her; yet to continue as we are grows less possible and is also not fair to her or to us. I will always protect her. And with each occurrence, with each killing, if it comes to that, I fear to lose her across the chasm that stands between Beast and man. So do I continue to say nothing in hopes that I can shore up that distance so that she won’t see it?
Has Father been right all this time? Are Catherine and I an impossibility? There is no one who can counsel me who understands. I am alone in this. As much as Catherine wants to, she cannot do it. As much as Father tries, he cannot know what I confront in their names. I am afraid, have been for some time, and it is getting worse. I must hold on to myself, the man inside me. Bring him to my mind and heart. So that I will be Vincent again, and can alight upon Catherine’s balcony with a contrite heart for sending her away because I am, in truth, a coward. Showing her, sharing with her, only what I want her to see and understand.
Vincent stood. Slowly, and with effort, he became the countenance most others saw. With weariness and pain as his companions, he began the trip to his chamber. Maybe rest would help his confusion. It was the only curative measure he could grasp. At least it would stop him from thinking.