Zauriel

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Blood flowed in to the curves and scars of the hungry earth like amorphous tendons acting as the mother body to hosts of insects whom belonged to infinite and undefined origins. The rich breezes that accompanied every Irish spring came calling up from the sea, tearing deaths scent away from the fields and thrusting it back up into the sky, whispering the scent upward as a sacrificial promise of the bloodshed yet to come. Up in the air the scent dissipated and was lost to the untouched heavens, closer to the earth however there was no way you could escape his labored breathing.

My brothers and I were covered from head to toe in the old man's tears; blood arced across our shins and arms in looping formations. Blood is the ink in which we paint our histories in a savage world; Blood belongs to all men, all cultures, and is the product of the primal callings that stir in our mortal flesh. I stumbled blindly through the history of our flock to in order to reach my brothers; to them seeing our field like this was not a shock. This event was just another passage in the average farming year. It was the same as when the flocks would couple and it was the same as when they would give birth. To experienced shepherds death was simply another part of a never ending sacred cycle, which they trespassed upon like a interacting deity.

" Zauriel." I numbly grasped at the knife that Cain was pushing against my palm.

" Take it." Cain smiled easing my fingers into a steady grip around the bloody slicked tool and clenching his hand shut around mine tell he was certain that I wouldn't let go.

" Hang in there El, Your first season is always the hardest." He smiled sympathetically, putting a firm hand against the small of my back.

" I don't think im ready…" I protested meekly as Cain started to lead me forward, my whimpers of protest unheard among the cries of all the other animals being led to slaughter.

" Zauriel, they're animals, they don't even know what's happening to them." Cain reassured calmly as he pulled me toward the flock that had been staked out for slaughter. The sheep where huddling in a circle, jostling and rambling with panic, as my oldest brother leapt into the center of the swarming fray. His presence elicited another series of crazed bleats as all hell broke loose and the sheep broke away from their group in an attempt to get away from their once beloved shepherd. I watched as my brother, Daemon calmly captured one in the shelter of his arms and pulled it to a gate, which Cain leapt forward to swing open.

" Zauriel's going to do this one." Cain declared encouragingly, locking me into the miserable action, as Dameon wrestled the sheep toward my other brother Matthew.

" Really?"

I nodded nauseously as Dameon cast me an encouraging smile and quickly passed the struggling animal into Matthew's arms.

" This is the one we will have to set aside for our own dinner then." He grinned as Cain ushered the sheep back into their wretched formation, they stumbling silently against each other as the dark dampness of the world entered their lungs and blinded them. I watched them silently; their blood-kissed bodies shivering with desperation as they hummed condolences and prayers among themselves, all of them teetering blindly on the edge sorrow and insanity. They stood as a nation united in their mourning and sorrow. The gaze that possessed them was completely soulless and searching their pupils were alight with awe and avid fascination as their nostrils frothed with the blood of their brothers. Their world was crumbling through the breath of the god's that they followed to water, and to sleep, and to life. Destruction and tragedy flowed from the fingers that presented them with beauty and nursed them from their wombs.

" You have to make it fast Zauriel that's what's best for them one quick cut." Matthew instructed me, his eyes meeting mine in attempted reassurance. He was hugging the sheep's trembling body against his own chest, his ripened skin pressed against the animals pulsing neck.

" Are you ready?" Dameon asked as Matt's eyes shrunk to only half moons and he retreated into himself.

When I struck the animal I did it blindly and silently, and instantly fell back as life came screeching out of the animals body in a frightened bleat. The creature's body sagged against Matthews as its cries gurgled into a stream of tiny bleats and then into nothing as life finally whispered out of his lungs and he lay motionless in my brother's arms. Rich blood gathered in the corners of dark wildness that made up the sheep's gums, dripping down the muzzle onto the slaughter ground in aimless floods.

Death was hot on my fingers and filled the air with dampness and poured curses down my throat. This was my first memory of death, the first time id take a creature from earths breast and sentence it to rot in darkness. I watched as the nation cried at the loss of their latest brother, each of them shivering with resignation as they continued to stare at me with an avid fascination that made my stomach claw at my skin in discomfort. Their God was turning on them, and all they could do was stare.

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