Had it been possible, I would have cut from my flesh the very life you needed to survive. But it could not be done.
I held you closely and wished for the miracle that I already knew would never happen. I could see how badly you had been hurt, how terrible the pain inflicted upon you truly was, yet even still I pondered what nature might accomplish given the chance.
So when sleep beset me, I carried you with the utmost love to a safe place hidden from predators and the sun, an isolated plot of space where I knew you could breathe fresh air, hunt if you were so inclined, escape if the will and energy burgeoned within your small frame.
And when I arose the next morning, some five hours later, what did I discover?
You had not moved aside from turning in a circle. Even then I knew, yet even then I denied the truth of what had to be done.
After checking upon you several times during my morning routine, I wished you health and recovery before leaving for the day. I ensured no harsh sunlight would attack you, that no predator could find you. It was all I could do save what I did not wish to do.
Why should it be my responsibility? It required of me an action I abhor, a moment of brutal strength and cold compassion that I did not feel myself capable of. How could anyone ask this of me? Why would they?
And so I pondered your fate throughout the day, cursory glances into a mental room wherein stood the dark specter of what I already knew. I hated him, that ghoulish figure, constantly beckoning to me to practice what I hate most in humans. But he also showed me it encompassed the best of our species. Ah, the dichotomy of humanity.
Hellish heat notwithstanding, I bathed in my own sweat later in the day while standing above your still living body. Why hadn’t you moved from that place? Why?
Already I knew what was required of me. No doubt existed in my mind or heart. I despised them for that, for knowing and feeling that way. And I resented you.
What nature had not completed in its first attempt I was forced to finish. The inhumanity of being humane!
I dared not wait any longer. How scared you must have been, unable to run or hide, to hunt or eat. How terrified you must have been not understanding why things had changed so dramatically, and why your hunger and fear continued to grow as your body grew weaker.
I cared not to play witness to your demise in such atrocious ways, to starve, to be too exposed, to slowly feel your life ebbing away with every inhalation, every exhalation, and to never understand what lay in store because your mind had already been wounded too deeply.
My own tears made the task all the more difficult. I had no doubts it was the right thing to do. No doubts at all.
What an ugly place to dwell in when a life is at stake, to have no uncertainty when killing.
And so I chose an implement that would be final, one that would be unforeseen to you, one that would allow me a single motion to complete the most unpleasant of tasks.
What despair you suffered is now over. What dreadful fate stood before you is now dispatched and forgotten.
At my hands, though, and that is what troubles me. Doing the right thing often does not equal doing the easy thing, or the thing that feels good, or the thing that we want to do.
Will you ever forgive me? Can I ever forgive myself?