And In the End.
by Eppie Black
Disclaimer: I make no money off this. The characters belong to Martin
Scorsese and a bunch of other people. Including, of course, themselves.
I think that I was unconscious for some time laying there in the middle
of Paradise Square, but I hadn't clue as to how long for the smoke of a
thousand fires separated New York City from the sun. Then the haze began to
part for a figure silhouetted against it. Next thing I knew I was in
Jenny's arms and we cried together.
Presently though, she began to get practical again.
"Are you hurt bad?" she asked fearfully.
"No." I replied, voice hoarse from the all the dust, "you're just gonna
have to patch me up again."
I tried to smile for her benefit. She began to look me over some and we
discovered that I could still put weight on one of my legs, a definite
mercy considering what Bill had done to my knees. It suddenly occurred to
me that he could have just as easily slit my throat.
She was thinking on Bill too. I saw her glance quickly over at his still
form several times.
"Yes, he's actually gone." I said. "I saw him die."
She made a short high-pitched strangled noise as if a sigh of relief and a
keening wail had got caught up in her throat together and neither would let
the other out. Finally she settled for saying, "I can't believe anything
could actually kill him."
I sympathized with this sentiment.
All my senses, physical and otherwise, settling into a numb haze I
continued to sit in the middle of the street trying to not think about what
the other small groups of injured-bleeding-grieving-dying people which must
certainly have been nearby were doing. Jenny knelt now beside Bill
Cutting's body. She put a hand on his chest to feel that his heart had
indeed stilled then composed his limbs, carefully crossing his arms over
Then she did something very startling. She brought her own hand to her
mouth and licked her first two fingers. Then, drawing the sign of the cross
with these fingers on Bill's forehead she said, "If there's any spark of
life left in you, William Cutting, I baptize you in the name of the Father
and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost."
This struck me as being wrong on a multitude of levels. But what wasn't
wrong about that day?
"O my Jesus, forgive us our sins,
Save us from the fires of Hell,
Lead all of us souls into Heaven.
ESPECIALLY, those MOST in need of Thy Mercy.
Nomine Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto.
Amen." She finished.
Then she helped me up and we hobbled away together. Leaning on her brave
comforting weight to hold me steady I said to her, "You know Jen, it's a
sin to baptize a dead thing and he wouldn't have wanted it anyway."
"What harm could there be in hoping for the peace of any soul?" she asked
"None, I suppose." I said.
I then crossed myself and united my prayers with hers, not just for Bill
but for the other dead and injured of the 5 Points. Including myself.
It was the worst fight Bill Cutting could ever remember being in. Out of
the smoke and haze came a multitude of people. Screaming, moaning, wraith-
like, they clawed him and grabbed at him. He took the knife in his hand and
slashed out at the figures emerging from the haze. He slashed and punched
at kicked and fought until he could no longer remember to feel the weight
of the knife in his hand or the fall of his own footsteps or the sweat
pouring down his back. He didn't realize that he himself was crying out now
Then suddenly someone grabbed a hold of him. He struggled but this was no
wraith of the fog and his struggling was to no account. Then he became
aware of a voice, calm, strong. A litany of questions. "Do you remember
your name? Do you know who you are?"
Still he struggled against this new enemy. He struggled in his mind to
remember the answers to the questions. He struggled to remember who the
owner of the voice was, so familiar. Then he remembered, himself anyway.
"William Cutting. I'm William Cutting." he proclaimed himself.
"Good. Good." said the voice, a touch of relief audible in the foreign
inflection of the vowels. "Now look at me. Who am I?"
William Cutting looked up at the being holding on to him and found himself
looking into the intense blue eyes of...
"Priest Vallon." he murmured, remembering. In his head his life ran
backwards from the last ghostly floating feeling of the son's, Amsterdam's,
hand grabbing his own as he fell into dust of Paradise Square for the last
time, backward, backward all the way till he came to the first moment his
eyes ever met those of a man not willing to back down, the father.
"Right." said Vallon again. "Now you're going to have to pull yourself
together, you contentious Yankee bastard. Welcome to Purgatory. You and I
need to find somewheres to talk.