My ‘husband’ was filling the tank with gasoline, so I was left to myself, alone in the car. I took the time, as I often will, to reflect on how I had gotten to where I am today: a killer of boars amongst people, transforming, denaturing, into a murderer of real, decent human people - into a killer of children.
It reminded me of the kill that began everything, brought my choices crashing down to fall upon my head.
The weapon I held first was a rock. It was gray, unintelligent looking and now tucked away in my home. It is still covered in the dried blood of Wilhelm, my brother’s cat. I had liked that cat, but not my brother. One of these emotions ended up being stronger than the other.
I could not identify when I stopped thinking of that rock as a rock, when I started thinking of it as a weapon, but I can come very close. I would say that it happened between the first second, where I picked the rock up, and about the third, the moment when my arm courageously brought it down. Though nominal, this shift is important to me; it did not happen during the second repetition, even the seventh. It occurred when I chose to make my brother suffer - to smash his cat. It occurred as I made death a weapon by which I could lash out, a death itself a weapon to make an even greater, blood to bring tears, my brother’s tears. The target of the suffering I created was not some stupid cat. It was my brother.
His name was also Wilhelm. ‘Was’ since he is dead now - it was not me.
That blood did draw out my brother’s tears. This is without a doubt. But after father finished telling him that these things happen in life, that sometimes cats like Wilhelm walk into streets, that my father had run over my brother’s cat by accident, Wilhelm fell asleep and dreamed a child’s dreams.
Then, once all was calm and dark, father looked over at me and simply asked “why,” ever so quietly. It was strange; he is not a quiet man, but he was then, with his only son sleeping in his lap, the tears I summoned up staining his paints. Then just as I had used the weapon of death, Wilhelm’s death, against my brother, I became aware that father had turned it on me, and exactly what I had done, came to me. Then I cried too, but there were no words of comfort for me, no lap. There was only guilt.
When I heard a click, I opened my eyes and looked over at the driver’s side door. I had not realized I had closed them. B. looked at me strangely and held out his hand. He spoke. “Brought you a water bottle, will this be all right, dearest fraulein?” I nodded my head.
“That was very thoughtful of you, dearest englishman,” I replied, but I was very thirsty. I forced the memories out of my mind, and decided to concentrate on the path ahead of me. I had walked the path for a long time now, and it was paved with blood.
Boris entered our car and said “On to London then!” He handed me the bottle and the engine roared.
In England, our England, a legend is told about a great and goodly king. The court of Arthur Pendragon, the Knights of the Round Table, and the Wizard Merlin are common knowledge. It has proliferated in cinema, progressed in literature, and vaulted itself onto the constellation-like Mythos of the West. Any child of a few years will tell you that “He who pulls this sword from this stone is the true and rightful King of England.” Any child would also jump at the chance to pull such a sword from such a stone - which demonstrates how incredibly dull children are. Worse, I fear that many of adults would do much the same. In any case, it matters little. There is one, and only one, Arthur Pendragon. All that Mythos, all that rot about the knights and things, is just a legend. Well, sort of. I should say: It will be a legend.
You see, a few generations back a man named sir Thomas Malory wrote Le Morte D’Arthur, and may I say - as a fellow of the Order myself - he was balls at being a prophet. He told what is now considered the legend of Arthur. It’s wrong. We, rather I am aware of the truth. Sorry, I sometimes forget that I am the only one left. I will always be the only one left.
Little. Old. Me…A tad frightful, but that’s alright. I’m not completely unhappy.
When it rains and I look out my window into the alleyway across the street - it is said (by me) that his journey begins on a rainy day - I pour myself the last drops of cold tea from previous night’s pot. It’s Earl Grey, usually. I sip down as much of it as I can in a single go and then try to catch my reflection in the leftover residue. I can usually make out a beard, eyes, and maybe a few distinguished wrinkles. You may laugh, but this little ritual reminds me who I am. It reassures me that I am not mad; I am Merlin, the man meant to carry the weight of the truth.
It’s far less elegant than Malory would have you believe. The truth, I don’t mean being Merlin - that is fairly elegant. It is this: A University student named Arthur is going to run into that very alleyway, tug loose a screwdriver embedded in the concrete sidewalk, and go home. Shortly thereafter, people, ultimately people anyway, will begin trying to assassinate him. This is natural. I have never heard of a king who didn’t have to worry about attempts to take his crown. Ah, the point, sorry again.
Legends start as prophecies - most things do. A legend, in my experience, is a prophecy that has been carried out. Malory was writing a very poor analogy for a prophecy. The true Legend of King Arthur will not exist for many centuries. People have to confuse reality with a story first - and that is what it is, for now: a story.
Every story, even the worst ones, needs to start with an event. This one begins with a young man, a younger woman, that younger woman’s father, an accident, a screwdriver, and, of course, a rainy day.