There is so much now I wish I could tell you, my friend. If only I had time, if only I were not such a coward- ah, but there you would interrupt me, I know! But I am, you know. A coward. I should have taken care of things so long ago, taken some sort of action, and I did not, fearing too much for my own blasted safety. A coward indeed. But now I am losing my train of thought- it is so hard to stay focused on anything for more than a moment, you see. Allow me to try again.

There is so much I should have told you long ago, but I am now prevented from doing so. There is, of course, the small matter of my impending death hanging over any sort of final conversation I might attempt, though you are unaware of it. That is as I wish it. And that which has held my silence all this time still has its grip on me. I have lost everything else, everything, d'you see? I had hope once, I had honor and maybe an overly generous person, such as your kind self, would say that I had promise. You know I would beg to disagree with you, of course. But for everything else that I have lost, I still hold this one small scrap, the ability to carry some of these secrets to my grave. I never wished you to know them, and if you did, it would be worse than holding them to myself. There are things that you should never know; they have all but destroyed me. You would not understand, I think; you are too inclined to see only the good in others. There are things so dark and evil in this world that to be touched by them leaves a mark. You cannot run through fire without being burned. I have been corrupted, tainted in a way that I hope you will never understand. This secret will die with me, and so I will preserve this one piece of honor, the little pretense of dignity that I cling to. I know you would not take that from me.

Perhaps I should have told you, at some point, how it was, growing up. Or did I tell you? I don't know- it is hard to tell what is real anymore, to tell which memories are true and which are delusions. I have never sought pity, from you or anyone else, you know- it has seemed to come to me unbidden. I have turned it away; I cannot bear to be an object of anyone's pity, most especially yours. I have done my duty in all things- Oh! How I have come to hate that word! Is duty meant to be nothing but pain? Is there ever a point where we may say "Duty be hanged"? No. Of course not. I have always known my duty, and done it as well as I could. I have failed, of course, so very often- it seems to me, more times than I have succeeded. I have considered this decision in my mind so many times- what I do now, is it my duty, or a contradiction of duty? What a pity it would be to have given my life to duty if I failed it in my death. Honor, I no longer bother about. I know I shall never receive it, have not hoped for it in a very long time, but I do wish to do my duty. I cannot be quite clear with myself on this issue, so I suppose that the votes of my head and heart must make the decision to err on the side of.of this way that I have chosen.

What, am I now afraid? No! No, not now, no panic now. I know what I am doing, have known from the beginning, chose this way- I will not swerve now, so close. Ah, now I have strayed from my topic again- I am very thankful I am not trying to tell you this aloud! I am sure that between my rambling and your constant need to interrupt when you disagree with me, we would get nowhere. What was I trying to say? Ah yes- childhood. Bear with me- remember, I am dying here! Surely I have the right to reminisce? I hated my childhood. A distant, cold father, a manipulative uncaring mother; perhaps I should be glad that I turned out as well as I did, considering. I was a child, of course, frightened by their coldness and- and anger. I can recall, one of my earliest memories in fact, hiding in a dark corner, praying he'd overlook me, hoping that maybe, just maybe, I would escape a beating. I never seemed to, though. A life of fear is no life for a child, you know. I wish that I could do something, keep another from suffering as I have, but I do not imagine now that I will ever get the chance.

I thought, once upon a time, that I had escaped it, but I had not. I had merely transferred from one section of Purgatory to another, and then began the darkest of days. You know how they were, surely you know! You were not there, not always with me, but I know you must know. It was pain, torment, constant and unremitting. He.he.it's no good. I will never, even in the darkest confines of my own mind ever be free of him. Nor do I deserve to! Everything bad that has ever happened to me, I know I deserve, and much worse! What kind of coward would live beneath that for years and not ever make any effort to escape, or, failing that, to even help another escape! I suppose there was one who I did help, but was it enough? No. Nothing I could ever do would be enough. But that is the past now- almost past. Not long now.

It's not hard, this dying, when I come to think of it. Not much different from the times when I would merely close off my mind, shut down from the inside. I felt almost safe there inside my head. No one could reach my heart or mind, no matter what they did to me physically. This is not so different. I have ceased to feel any of the pains that the years have brought in such great numbers.

I know you would not approve, if you knew. I am surprised that you have not seen, had anticipated having to fight much harder to make this sacrifice, but you have seen nothing. I admit, it is a relief. You have always had a way of persuading me to do things I would rather not- I cannot allow you to make me live! You wouldn't understand, I know you wouldn't, but this is not for me. Despite how black and evil my life has been, I do not desire to end it like this. But what choice have I anymore?

I know you would save me if you could, save me from myself, save me from the demons of my past, but that isn't an option. I wish I could tell you that, but I don't seem very able to speak anymore. And I know you do not really understand. I will say this here as plainly as I would say it to your face if I could; you do not know what I am. I am a complete failure. I have nothing, am no one, have no hope of ever being more than I am, and am entirely detestable besides all of these. Again, you would be interrupting me, but here I can cut you off, for once. That is what I am, and have always known myself to be. I don't understand you, you know. Why should someone such as you, you who have everything, you who are whole and happy, be my friend? It is beyond the reach of reason, certain sure! I have never done anything to deserve such friendship, but now, maybe, now at the end, perhaps I can. I always hoped to do one thing, just one, worthy of some kind of praise. I know you will curse me for this, but that is because you are more ruled by your heart than your head, however you may deny it my friend! I am removing this albatross from around your neck, once and for all, and in doing so, I hope to set you free. Tell me you will be free? Do not mourn me, for I was never worth it. I can think of nothing else to give you, nothing else I can say. I would offer my hand in friendship, this one last time, did I but think I could do so without losing my composure.

I know I am yet young, and will never live to be older, but I have seen so much. I have seen many atrocities I would give anything to have removed from my memory. But I also have seen friendship, in you. I have seen the span, the expanse, the chasm between good and evil, and the extremes of both.

"And there is nothing left remarkable/ Beneath the visiting moon"