The night has a thousand eyes. They follow me as I walk with the wind. The tears they shed strike my skin, cooling the fever that rages inside. Their haunting light illumines my path, as beside me their sister stream rushes on, its hushed voice urging me to make haste.
Haste: yes, I should make haste for I fear I will come too late. I fear that by the time I arrive there will be nothing left; nothing but a shade-a shadow of the man I have known and loved which will look at me with hate-filled eyes and never forgive, never pardon, but torment me for the rest of my days as it points a bony finger at the ones left behind. The ones it had loved.
The ones I have failed.
I am afraid. That is not a word a warrior uses. And yet I admit it, for in fear, I find my strength. It is fear that drives me forward when fatigue and shame and remorse would bid me die - when the thing I have done lies like a blanket on my heart.
I can still see Israel's eyes. Traitor, he said. Betrayer.
Yes. Betrayed. I have betrayed them all and now it has come to this.
My fingers feel the cold metal of the rifle beneath them. The bullwhip is heavy on my hip. I feel the leather stretched taut across my heaving chest and touch my furrowed brow to wipe away the sweat. The day is hot, but my heart is ice.
Daniel. What have I done?
Continued in Chapter One