• Vol. 10
  • Chapter 03

Prodding the Ulcer

I ought to be worrying about different things at the moment.
My broken collarbone, perhaps. Or the chunk of lance now stuck inside my upper thigh. How does it go?
    O what can ail thee, knight-at-arms?
Quite a lot, as it happens.

Dozens of hands haul me, still armoured, onto a litter. A great cooking pot of a man.
I ignore any of the voices trying to speak to me beyond the visor of this frog-mouth helm. Instead I think about the ulcer on the inside of my cheek. I tongue it, perpetually stinging.

It’s my fault, I know. I bit myself. Wine and sweets made it worse. Made it ruddy and sore. It throbs with its own heartbeat. If I wasn’t dying, I might smile, at the wound all of my own making. I flick it with my tongue again, and wince.

Try as I might, no amount of prodding the ulcer can really cover the real self-wound up. The one that separates us. They’ve removed my helmet, and shown me the sky. All my final effort is spent drinking it in. A grain of comfort tumbles into my soul, that we at least will share the same sky.
At least we share the same sky.