Isobel Vatiliotis, Grade 10, Marist Sisters College
“Don’t make me,” I said, bending to retrieve my dagger from where it had fallen.
He turned back to me with a sneer. “Make you what?” he said, blood spitting out of his mouth with the last word.
“Hurt you,” my voice came out in a whisper and I cursed myself inwardly for showing any sign of weakness. “Don’t make me hurt you,” I steadied my voice, my eyes locking with his. His eyes searched mine, and I saw some of the sureness leave his eyes, his hand reaching up to wipe the trail of blood from his chin.
“And you know that I can.”
My arm went up and the dagger flew from my hand, lodging itself in the wall where his face had been seconds before. He had ducked to the side, and as I pulled dagger after dagger out of my weapons belt and let them fly, he continued to spin around the room, my eyes following him as he ducked out of the way of the flying weapons. I finally threw a knife that stopped him in his tracks, lodging itself in the wall where he would have ended up if he hadn't stopped. I advanced towards him as he turned his face toward me, and the fear in his eyes almost broke me. It wasn’t supposed to be like this.
I drew a final knife from my belt, advancing on him until he was forced against the wall, the knife pressed against his throat. My breaths were shaky, and I tried to hide the struggle it took to balance them, my eyes dropping to the ground. The arm that wasn't trapped behind his back came up now, lifting my head and forcing me to meet his eyes.
“Why?” he whispered, and I froze, considering the question. ‘Funny,’ I thought, ‘this war is one that I’m fighting by myself, and I’ve still managed to come out on the winning side. He’s the only one that understands why am doing it, why everyone even remotely connected to her murder had to die. So why is he questioning me now?’
“You know why,” was my answer. “You know I can’t let you go. Not after what happened.”
And yet I couldn’t bring myself to move the knife. My muscles were frozen, and there was nothing I could do.
“We were all connected to it.” His hand brushed fresh tears away from my eyes. “Intentionally or unintentionally. If you look deeply enough, you were too. For us it was unintentional. For others, it wasn’t.”
My body tensed as he said that. I knew it was true. I would never be able to bring myself to kill him, I realised, not as long as it remained that way. His body relaxed as he realised it too, and my arm fell to my side, releasing him. I fell to the ground, him barely moving fast enough to catch me before I hit the floor. That was when I broke.