Chapter 9:

An Interlude

City of Flowers

He does not remember his name, nor is he entirely sure of his assigned gender at birth, but he does remember one thing. He remembers the war.

He remembers winning the war as well. And everybody knows you don’t win wars; you parlay, you swap land and the rich get paid and in the end, it is the poor who have lost the war. But he remembers winning the war.

No, he does not remember how it feels to hold a gun that has slaughtered many children. What he does remember is the way in which bodies give way so easily, like a sack of beans sliced violently open, spilling, spilling. He remembers the way he’d torn into them like a crazed animal with his fangs and claws and all manner of body parts that do not—should not—belong on a human.

He is a crazed animal, yes. Or at the very least, no better than.

Now they keep him behind reinforced glass and in a three-by-three enclosure. They feed him a slab of raw meat everyday at noon, and he screams, he roars. But he is a crazed animal, and crazed animals know not the language of the civilised.

He’d lost that right a long, long time ago. To be human.