William Fitzgerald at the Edge of the World

He fumbled his way through darkness, catching his clothes again and again when he brushed against the uneven, unseen walls. He swore to himself, without speaking, running expletives and blasphemies through his mind. He learned not to lift his feet, not to put them down firmly, to slow and brush clean the floor before him, after three nails ran into his shoes and punctured the sole of his right foot. It was perhaps twenty minutes of unrelieved blackness before the tunnel came to an end. A difference in the air told him that he stood on the edge of a large room. The hammerer was a few yards away, he thought.

William Fitzgerald entertained no thoughts of companionship, of camraderie, of community, of brotherhood in the face of adversity. He moved silent through the blinded room, gumshoes quiet on the wooden floor, tensed against a creaking board, fingers curled for violence, blood high in his face. He thought of the body posed in the quiet room, of the wood under its fingernails, the blood that had pooled for days in the skin like wax that wasn’t rotting. The hammering stopped, and he froze, one foot firmly down, one foot half suspended, and waited patiently, and thought of nothing, of nothing.