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The end of the world

Tearing off branches studded with thorns. Twisting them together, a crude handle and tails. Tying knots. Testing it. A whistle in the air.

He looks down at his notebook, his map of the territory. He stole so much from her house, heedless and headlong: his sin is marked with ink on ink. Only blood will out the stain.

“All humans can draw,” she said once. He’ll draw something, all right, here in this forest at the end of the world.

He raises the whip and lets it fall. One. Two. Three.

By a hundred and one, he’s long since lost count.