Once Upon a Time Eilhu took a deep breath and walked in as the door closed behind him.
The Wild Man sat in the corner of the room. His wet fur scent filled the cell like fog and beneath it Eilhu caught the tang of burned flesh.
‘You’ve lost some of the light in your eyes.’ The Wild Man said.
Eilhu turned the knife over in his hands. He sucked in a deep breath and looked up.
‘You need a bath.’ he said.
The Wild Man laughed and pointed at the knife in Eilhu’s hands.
‘Is it for me?’ he said.
Eilhu looked up, his eyes were hard with feeling. His fingers curled around the hilt of the dagger.
‘I think it’s supposed to be.’ he said.
The Wild Man tilted his head to one side and gave a wistful smile.
‘A gift from your uncle. He’s a cunning man. Was he always like that?’ he said.
Eilhu turned and looked at the cell door before he strode over to the Wild Man and wrapped his arms around his thick neck. He put his mouth to the Wild Man’s ear and whispered as his eyes prickled with tears.
‘He’s done something terrible hasn’t he?’ he said.
The Wild Man nodded and Eilhu squeezed him tighter.
‘What scares me is what he’s done.’ he said.
The Wild Man tried to pat him on the back but the manacles bit into his wrists and a hiss of burning flesh. Eilhu stepped back and wiped his eyes with the knuckle of his left hand.
‘We can’t stay here.’ he said.
The Wild Man turned his hands outwards and sighed as Eilhu saw the silver spirals of scars down the length of his thick forearms from blood and pus. He drew them as far as the chains would allow and got up into a crouch. There was a warm fear in his eyes and it made Eilhu’s heart ache with anger.
‘I ought to walk out and drive this into his fucking chest.’ Eilhu said.
The Wild Man smirked and exhaled, like the rush of an autumn breeze.
‘You’d never make it past the courtyard.’ he said
Eilhu smiled. It was awkward at first because he had gone to the depths of himself through grief.
‘We did when I was eight years old.’ he said.
The Wild Man’s smile softened and he leaned forward.
‘I never took you. Part of me wonders what might have been.’ he said.
Eilhu turned around then glanced back at The Wild Man.
‘I asked you to take me with you. Whatever happened afterwards was my responsibility.’
The Wild Man beamed and nodded his head.
‘There is something of me in you. Now, we won’t do it today.’ he said.
He leaned forward and whispered into Eilhu’s ear. Eilhu listened and remembered. He stood back and snatched a tuft of fur from just behind The Wild Man’s ear. He roared and it made Eilhu stumble back.
Eilhu lifted the knife up and tucked the tuft of fur into the pocket of his tunic. He shook his head but the knife in his hand was steady.
‘Are you sure?’ he said.
The Wild Man nodded.
‘Have I let you down before?’ he said.
Eilhu shook his head. The Wild Man laughed, shaking his fists.
‘Then do it.’
Eilhu lunged forward, bringing the knife upwards, slipping it between the ribs thick as his own arm and feeling the muscles of the heart part beneath its kiss. The Wild Man gritted his teeth, exhaled and did not scream. His eyes locked onto Eilhu and tears fat as babies ran down his furred cheeks.
‘Thank you.’ he said.
Eilhu stepped back as the blade slid out with a wet suckling pop and the first fingers of blood sliding down from the wood. His blood was green like sap and he closed his eyes as though falling asleep before he sagged against his chains.
Eilhu collapsed onto his knees and wept. The door opened behind him and he felt his uncle’s hand on his shoulder. He looked into his uncle’s eyes and thanked him.
‘We have a lot to do.’ Paul said.
Eilhu held his gaze as he pulled his uncle into his embrace and looked past him at the body of The Wild Man.
‘Yes we do, uncle, yes we do.’ he said.
END OF SEASON 2.
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