CHAPTER 12 – I
Upstate New York
Growing up on a farm, Stievo was no stranger to death. Whether by slaughter or sickness, animals were dying all the time. Even so, he never quite got used to it. When he butchered his first pig as a young child, he initially felt a great sense of strength – domination. But as time went by and he forged relationships with the animals – even knowing that their entire life’s purpose was to provide meat for humans – he never shook the feeling that something was a little off about the whole setup. He lived with this low-level cognitive dissonance for some time; it was manageable.
The Vicars Salamander seldom came by the house these days. They would drop off books and basic necessities, then collect the sundry farm products to be sold in town. One day, in Stievo’s sixteenth year, Victor and Victoria showed up to inform him that one of his few human friends, a fellow VS, had been stabbed to death during a robbery in town the previous evening. Red and blinding, an all-encompassing anger took over Stievo. He demanded revenge. Justice.
Stievo begged Victor for the name and whereabouts of the murderer. Victor refused, saying he already had plans to take care of the matter himself, but after much protestation (and persuasion from his daughter) he relented. Stievo was too focused on his next moves to show any gratitude. He immediately set off down the road to town.
Observation/interrogation/intuition. It did not take long for him to track down his target. With him cornered in a dark and damp alley, Stievo passed judgment on the accused and allowed for their last words. Pleas of “Please…” were muffled by hyperventilation and Stievo unsheathed the same knife he used on the farm to butcher pigs and stepped toward this filthier type of swine. As knife was thrust into flesh, the executioner was filled with a sense of righteousness. A wrong had been set right, a murderer taken off of the streets. It wasn’t until days later that he realized he had yet to feel sadness, either for the slain friend or the slain fiend. What did creep into his psyche, slowly, was fear…fear at the amount of pleasure the murder had brought him.
Arguments coming from both sides
In search of the point where truth resides
Or at least an attempt to wade through fiction
Concluding with acquittal or conviction