"Cleave."

W. A. Monaghan.

***

Although I asked, the boy would not tell me his name, and so I kept him chained in one of the more intimate gardens behind the palace. A centerpiece among the greenery, if you will. I bade him call me master and kept him underfed just enough to have a clear view of fragile bone beneath his skin. I would come into the gardens with bowls of fruit and feed him as he would sit by my feet, head downcast in silent defeat. When asked for his name, he would refuse to tell, and I would leave with my rising anger, day after day. He looked far too innocent for a boy his age, I decided. And so I made it my duty to take that from him. It would have been a crime for anyone else to have seen his beauty but my person, ergo I cut away his eyes, lest he see his reflection in the fountain's water. For every day that passed, my fury grew stronger. I came to him at night, demanding that he tell me his name. When he did not, I slashed a tear across his chest with a blade acquired from the kitchens, and then adding a second, from neck to abdomen. I burrowed my hands deep and raped him of his heart. It sits on my mantel, encased in glass.