Apology

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It was cold and wet, and for once, Skall didn't care. A crack of thunder roused him from a half drunken doze and he raised his head in a stupid, exhaustion weighing his whole body down with lethargy. He hadn't slept in weeks, if not months. He couldn't. Not after what he'd done. He'd betrayed his only family, driven away his sons, and he'd proven what a monster he himself was.

The empty bottle slipped from his hands and rolled under a chair. Skall's eyes cracked open again at the noise and for a moment he hesitated, cracking his dry lips as yellowed eyes searched the eerie darkness of the house.

"S-Stormy?" he whispered in a weak voice, starting to draw his haggard frame from the chair. His eyes searched the place for a moment before he suddenly wheeled on himself, kicking another bottle across the floor.

"Shut up, you fool! He won't come back here, you betrayed him! You hurt him, you worthless pierce of Kriff!" He snapped, snarling at his emaciated, sick-looking image in the window. He bared his teeth, staring down the old man with grey hair, sallow skin, yellowed eyes, and hollowed cheeks that he knew to be himself.

"You good for nothing bloody old man," he hissed at himself, a sour lethargy settling back into his haggard frame. He could smell the alcohol on his breath, knew he'd drank too much, and hated himself for it. Hated himself to trying o numb a pain he knew he'd inflicted. Hated himself for trying o forget the monster that he was.

"You drove them out. You betrayed them. You're the monster," he growled at his reflection, then broke off the snarl as he suddenly sank to his knees, coughing. His lungs burned. His threat burned. Everything hurt. He spat blood tinged phlegm onto the floor and dropped back, slumping against the wall. Leaning his head back he tried to close his eyes, but he already knew that sleep was far from him. Monsters didn't sleep.

He lay there coughing, his chest burning until finally the fit passed, but he didn't have the strength or the will to get up. So he lay there, trying to remind himself of the monster he'd become, but after several long minutes he glanced back at his image in the broken mirror across the room. The distorted image was a pitiful old man, a sick old man, who'd driven away his only family. His chest began to ache again, a knot choking him off as he tried to whisper their names. But he couldn't get them out before he screwed his eyes shut and broke out into bawling, weakly throwing his hands over his face.

"I-I'm Sorry...I-I'm Sorry..." He wailed in a thin voice, tears streaming down his face.

He couldn't fix this, he didn't know how. He didn't deserve their forgiveness anyway. He had destroyed their lives by ever thinking he could help. It seemed to be all he knew.

He choked up on sobs, struggling to wheeze for air as he cried. "I-I'm Sorry...I-I'm sorry I betrayed you..."

He broke into a convulse of coughing and crying, blood and tears spattering the floor. After several long minutes it all calmed down, but Skall was exhausted and too weak to get off the floor. He stared down at his hands, stained with coughed up blood and wet with tears. His dull eyes blurred his vision as he closed them once more.

"I-I'm Sorry...I was the m-monster a-all along..."

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