The dagger leads you out into the desert. Time passes, you know it, but it doesn't . . . affect you as it once might have. You find yourself losing focus, spacing out, and when you walk, it's as though you are on autopilot.

Or, comes the small, slinking thought, that something else is piloting you.

The thought ought to concern you, but you can't be bothered. The dagger is warm and comforting in your hand.

Eventually you come across a cottage in the grass.

You don't know when you left the desert, when this grass appeared, how far you've gone-- and it doesn't matter. None of it matters. Not the small cottage atop the hill, not the strange flatness of the air, or the vast expanse of lawn.

In front of the cottage is a man. The man is tall and lean and somewhere between and old fifty and a young seventy. Despite the lack of trees around, he's chopping wood using an old stump. Beside him is a pile of unsorted chunks, to the other side is a pile of neatly stacked firewood. There are no trees in sight to have produced the wood; you wonder if he's the reason why.

He stops when you approach and hefts the axe onto his shoulder.

"Hello?" he says.

You stand still and say nothing.

"Can I help you?" he says.

You loll your head slightly to the side and eye him lazily. There's something about the look you give him that makes him uneasy. You know it instinctively. You notice his stance stiffening, his grip tightening on the axe.

"Who are you?" he says, the smallest, slightest tremor in his voice.

You begin walking towards him. The dagger has waited long enough.

"I know you," he says, taking a step back. "You're the mortal. The one whose name I have."

You move closer.

"You can't kill me," he says.

You're lip curls in amusement. You pull the knife from the sheathe. It's feels so. . . Right in your hand.

The man's eyes widen.

"Where did you get that?" he says.

You keep moving towards him. He backs away.

"I'll give you your name back!" he says. "I'll give you any name you want!"

You barely hear him anymore.

He runs, but he's not fast enough.

This time, you don't even have the predatory thrill of the kill; one second, you're gaining speed on him as he finally turns and runs, and the next, you're on top of his corpse, driving the knife into his chest again and again and again.

Part of you thinks you ought to look for your name, but the dagger deems it unnecessary. Why would you need your name? What good did it ever do to you before?

And you smile, because it's right.

You stay on the hill a while longer, playing with the corpse of the Bridge Maker they way you hadn't had the chance to play with the others. The dagger indulges you with good-natured patience, like a parent allowing their child time to amuse himself.

Eventually you decide you're finished. You wipe the dagger off on your shirt and look around.

The grass is gone. The cottage is gone. All that remains is you and the thoroughly desecrated corpse. You sheathe the knife and, once again. . .

[Wander the Desert]