The future was unknowable and the past a foreign country. Alexander Hammil was walking down a hallway he didn’t recognize. His hands were heavily callused, for a wonder.

What can I do? What kind of person am I?

He came to a door, some heavy dark wood deeply carved with serpents, all sinuous coil and open mouth, legs sturdy and comical. He raised his hand against it.

Inside a scene of horror. Blood and fear; instruments of pain and confusion. He hesitated on the threshold, unsure of what he felt. Rage? Recognition? Pride?

A man, all in sensible leather, looked up from where he worked diligently upon a sobbing mass of unrecognizable flesh. “Sir?” he asked.

Alex felt the tug of habit. He followed; his legs, knowledgeable beasts, drew him to a table, to a panoply of glittering pain. His hand, almost a stranger’s hand, found the tool that best suited its marvelous calluses. A small thing, silver and shaped like a paisley, wicked sharp for mercy.

He turned, and spoke: “Let us begin anew.”