The Mercy of Apathy

Welcome, welcome. Take a seat. Any will do. Have you come to see the wounded thing? It will not stay together long. We are far below your city of Asinus: no eyes will notice you. None save for the ones of the wounded thing. He came to us– Yes, “he”. We managed to find out that much. After many a poke and prod and… oh, forgive me. My pleasures get away from me occasionally. They melt together and reach for the sun. He, however, came to us quite literally from the night sky. Already wounded, perhaps from the fall. Naturally, we thought it something celestial, but gods do not bleed or recoil from the light as he does.

Oh, forgive me. I have not shared my name. But then… neither have you. I will be the gentleman who introduces himself as Mason Sorrows, chieftain of the Lethargy. We make up what has been known for ages as the Mercy of Apathy. You have passed our tests of status, spectacularly so, which is why you are in that chair. Not intruded upon by my blade. So it does not matter if you reveal your name, for we know where you live. Not a threat, let me assure you. Solely a… reminder. I am always amused with the types who end up coming to my theatre. No two are alike save in one respect. But you do not need me to remind you of your shade.

The wounded thing– I have named him “Endymion”, keeping in theme with his birthplace of sorts. I would gladly have called him whatever he wanted, but he has not said anything since he “arrived”. Stubbornly so. The Mercy of Apathy has woven centuries of decay into Asinus, has crippled the love and thoughts of its denizens, has nursed an entire metropolis into a perpetual prison… surely we can convince Endymion to give something as simple as his name. To tell us what he is.

Sadly, he has proven to be particularly stubborn during his time here. We have perfected every act of torture imaginable. They tell tales that render us vicious and unkind so the mere thought of us will make weighty the trousers of even the burliest man. Even the Dark Lord is on bended knee. Hundreds of years of refinement and legions of flesh affords one a delectable opportunity of pain. Alas, there is boredom in perfection. And his potential flesh is too precious to damage more than it is. But his mind… Endymion may be monstrous, but glimmers of what could be “humanity” can be seen in his eyes. So he can be tormented like any other man.

The first night after I arrived at this realization– Are you comfortable? If you would like a refreshment, you need only ask. Carrying on. That night, I sent a few of the Lethargy out with Endymion, leashed. Hm. I would like to reveal to you a little-known secret about the Mercy of Apathy. My reasons are three: I rarely get to tell a secret; you seem genuinely interested; we know where you sleep. Me and mine, ages ago, happened upon Asinus due to a myth that, to our wonder, proved true. The Wood of Delights. A scarce group of enchanted trees that spoke to those on the wind, if they took the time to listen. They whispered about people in need, and what could be more delightful than the feeling you get after hearing “thank you”? I can see in your eyes that you are curious as to why we would want such a thing. To destroy. If one can not profit from something, why allow it to exist? Oh, how the air screamed while we slaughtered. We did leave one tree alive. The sawdust butcher lost a wager with one of the Lethargy. We bound it in chains and salt, and it grew into a contorted mess due to its shackles. It still whispers pleas… but it is far easier and more fun to destroy than it is to care.

Before my tangent, I began telling you about the first torment of the silent Endymion. Allow me to continue. The Wood of Delights whispered to me through its rusted metal of a building in need of our… services. This world is in dire need of two things: more funds and less conflict. These two things are more connected than one would believe. The only reason conflict exists is because there are funds to fuel it. Paupers fail against kings and queens. At least, that is what I believed until the Wood of Delights brought something to my attention. Supply and demand. If funds can not acquire soldiers because they are nonexistent, the country will have more money than it could ever spend. And who makes the best soldiers than orphans? And who makes the best soldiers than orphans?

I feel that as I continue, I must state that the Mercy of Apathy is not a political creature. We leave politics to the clowns of the court. We do not care what wars are about or what good will come from them. We have been amongst you for so long that we know it is all pointless. Regimes change, reasons change, relations change, retaliations change. The only constant is that it is constant. Like dirt into mud into dirt into so on.

As the Lethargy arrived clad in shrouds and leather armor to the orphanage, they prepared their combustible materials before the wounded thing. I would have preferred to dispose of these lost children in the womb, but I abhor abortion. The mere word is enough to disgust me to my cuticles. I did not accompany them because it is not my business to leave our home, Loxodonta. It rests like a stern eye above the circular Asinus, with arms that lead below. You traveled through one of them to get here. Ah yes, the Lethargy. Endymion could tell what they were up to. One held up a sign to him as the others slipped into the brick-lined cradle. Plunging it in flammable liquids inside and out, unnoticed by all but one. “Tell us your name: they live.” I was told that his tears were blood as the children and their minders were burned, marrow to fabric. Never uttering a syllable. Shame.

A few nights later, I went to the Wood of Delights for more advice. I held what I could of it in my arms and pulled its chains tenderly. It bled its prism sap onto me as it told me what I wished to hear. To do the best in life, one must be properly motivated. My magical friend brought to my attention the people who need the most motivation. The foulness in the streets of Asinus: the hobos, the tramps, the shit. Endymion is too precious for anything other than torment. But I have no qualms with torturing those plights on my paved streets. Also, it would have done Endymion some good to properly introduce him to the horrors the Mercy of Apathy was capable of.

The Lethargy gathered some of the foulness into one of our temples with promises of a fine meal. It is so simple to lure the pathetic. Of course, we did not feed them. Not a course. They were poor for a reason and deserved nothing less than what a niggardly pig would leave behind. Thus it is a gift, our tortures. We were wasting effort that could have gone towards something more profound, like urinating. Again, leashed, the wounded thing was forced to watch the fresh hell being hailed upon the foulness. My stenographer of sorts wrote every scream, whelp, and plea from those disgusting creatures. I took tremendous pleasure in reading them, not minding the dots of blood. However, I was disappointed when I read nothing of Endymion.

So, before you, I shall cleave him to pieces and feed them to the furnace.

If you enjoyed that bit of darkness, and there’s no shame if you did, give the first four chapters of my novel, “Lie”, a read (courtesy of Goodreads). It’s a surreal dramedy about four women on vacation to help one of their own through a life-changing decision. If you like what you read, you can pick it up for only $1.99 wherever eBooks are sold. Thanks for reading.

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