• "Ready."

    Professor McAllister.


    The Ace of Diamonds.

    There is what I am, and what I am called. They call me murderer. Insurgent. Revolutionary. I am all of these things. But I should be more than that. I have to be. A man is more than the sum of his parts, and beyond the sum of his actions. It is here that I have failed. My actions served my words, my existence served my actions. I am no more than what I am called by others because of this.

    But I wish to be.

    I wish to be a father, growing old with my hand clasped with that of another, watching children that bear my name grow, and maybe one day fix this terrible world. I want to pass my life into the hands of someone too innocent to understand.

    I wish to be a lover. Little could please me more than having my body and soul entwined with another, sharing in a splendor that words fail to even grasp.

    I wish to be a great brother, great uncle, cousin. Enjoy the trials and tribulations of family arrivals and departures.

    I'm not selfish, at least I don't think so. For a man as dominated by his belief as I why don't I deserve to have something I wish for? I don't know, and I never will.

    Six rifles stared me down from ten feet away. My fingers entwined around each other, bound behind my back. The blindfold offered is at my feet, mucus and spit on the white cotton cloth.

    "Any last words, Mr. McAllister?"

    My eyes closed and I swallowed a lump in my throat, but not by choice. Dying with dignity was beyond me. The lamentations of a half-life festered in my brain. My mouth gaped open like a fish out of water as I tried to formulate the statement with which I could leave this world. And perhaps be that much better because of it.

    I tried so hard to do better.

    But the words wouldn't come out. The Sergeant at Arms locked eyes with my mute face, wild with horror, and he smiled.