Name: Michael A Tate
Title: Bleed Well
Fredrick dipped his clothes into the stream, letting the clean glacial water cleanse them of all traces of his deed. Next to him, a bloody rock sat immersed half-way into the mud, and Fredrick ran his hand gently over it. Touching the rock seemed to command him to look through the trees and into the distance where he saw, lying on the ground, a small corpse. Downstream, the water turned a light pink, a silent witness to his crime.
The words ‘Evil’, ‘Destruction’, and ‘Sacrifice’ still echoed through his mind. Once more, he looked around to see if anybody followed him, but he was alone.
“Evil...Destruction...Sacrifice...” Fredrick muttered in a gentle whisper, mimicking the phantom voices. As he looked down, his hands began shaking again. He clasped them together and thrust them into the icy water as he looked back up towards the corpse; his eyes locked onto it. Pulling his shirt out of the water, Fredrick threw it over his head and shivered as the wind whipped through the wet cloth. With the cold freeing his eyes from their frozen state, Fredrick turned around and ran down the mountain towards his home.
A white plume of smoke drifted and danced above the kitchen as Fredrick arrived back in his village. The sun lit up the valley, and the smell of the fresh baked bread wafted into the huts lining the river. As if led by the smell, people began to make their way outside.