This article is part of the Fur Trapper Saga series.
Following the example of my Lord God, I am wont to tarry upon the Sabbath to survey my works. Throughout my many years in the fur business I have claimed many trophies and built many monuments: my menagerie of human skeletons, bleached and arranged in the iconic postures of combat; my garden of lethal traps, many still fragrant with the curdled blood of beasts and solicitors; my unsurpassed quarry of teeth. Though some may be more terrifying to outsiders, none among them holds so much wonder for me as my pitch-black well, for despite its relative modesty it is the darkest and most inhumane of all my ventures.
Many years ago, a young orphan came under my employ after I struck his family dead with a boar's jawbone (I recall not what drove me to the deed, but I fondly remember the cruelty of it). He was a slothful and obstinate child, and though I yelled myself hoarse, I could not persuade him to take the life of an animal. So aroused was my pique that I devised a method of revenge against the babe: through evil, honey-coated whisperings, I impressed upon him the idea that his parents were alive and well, and buried in my yard beyond the trap garden. I lovingly crafted a makeshift spade out of a broom-handle and his own mother's pelvis, and I left him to dig.
When I returned some days later, I found that the child had dug himself into an inescapable hole, nearly five yards in depth, and I was mightily impressed by the diligence of his endeavor. Truly, thought I, I had found my deserving heir! I offered him my hand to assist him from his self-made prison, but of course he was quite dead.
My momentary disappointment quickly gave way to hearty laughter, and for many years I exercised variations of the same amusing ploy to persuade orphans and retardates to dig themselves to death. In a few short decades, my terrible well had become so deep that I could no longer see the bottom of it, and gazing into its inky depths became a favorite habit of mine.
And it was on a Sunday, countless months ago, when my ordeal began. As I stood above the hole, happily meditating upon the futile, misguided efforts of the laborers who created it, there came a sharp crack across the back of my neck and I felt myself plunge headlong into the blackness.
As I fell for what seemed a significant slice of eternity, I wasted not a moment ruminating on who shoved me in, or why. I am an evil man and I have visited suffering upon thousands of innocents, all of whom are perfectly entitled to their revenge. I felt no resentment toward my attacker, nor any desire to extract satisfaction from him; I could only assume that I had already harmed him in some unusually cruel way, and pure statistics promised that, if I survived, I would surely harm him again one day.
Happily, I landed with nothing but a soft splash. Though I had fallen a great distance, my impact was dampened by the jellied remains of the dozens, maybe hundreds of laborers who had dug my well. I was unfazed, for I knew that the pit contained enough bones to build a perfectly serviceable ladder that would carry me to freedom. But, as I looked above to apprehend the depth, a more serious concern emerged: whoever had cast me into the hole was now raining great stones down upon me, probably in an effort to kill me.
I have yet to be faced with credible evidence that I can be killed; many have tried, and all have failed. I can, however, be knocked quite entirely unconscious, and on that day I was.
"Don't you get it? What we have to understand is it's them or us. It can't be all of us, or one. It's got to be us, or they become it. Then we lose what makes us we."
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