4.16 Human Tragedies (Reprise)


“Well, little lady, we meet again,” said Crowman.

I stared at him blankly.

“Not so little anymore I suppose,” he mused. “Maybe not even a lady anymore. Things have changed quite a bit since last time we met.”

“Why-” I winced as my voice grated against my throat. “Why are you here?” 

“To talk to you of course. Just like old times.” He settled on the bedside chair in a flutter of tattered robes. “Care to catch me up? You don’t need to, of course. I know quite well what has been going on. Which does remind me, do you remember that disagreement we had? I wonder if you still feel the same way. Tell me, little lady, is this a rise or fall for you? You finally got to be your brother.”

Something rose within me, something I hadn’t felt in a while: emotion. It was anger. “Rise? How would this be a rise for me? Gem is dead. I was going to move away from this wretched place. I didn’t choose this. My life was stolen from me.” With my damaged voice, I didn’t even sound like myself anymore. 

Crowman gave a short laugh. “Lighten up, would you? You can still live the life you wanted. Move away, just as your brother. It never did go away, did it, the feeling that you were living as the wrong person, playing a role you were not meant to play? Do you think it will disappear if you just start over somewhere else? No. It would have never gone away. This way you can have it all, the best of both worlds.”

“So what, I’m supposed to feel thankful?

“You could at least start being a little more honest. You say you didn’t choose this, but if you wanted to you could just reveal the truth.”

“I couldn’t do that to…”

“Your aunt? So you still care.” His tone turned mocking.

“Of course I do,” I snapped back. “I can’t just stop caring.”

“Ahh, yes, there’s also that. Those people you care about, how many of them would have supported you if not for the circumstances? A handful? None at all? But now they’ll help you in any way they can. Is that not something to be thankful for? Even your fiancé-”

“He’ll never understand. He’ll never stop seeing me for the girl I was.”

He threw up his pale hands. “This person this, that person that. Forget them. This is what you wanted, remember?”

It was, and the fact made it hurt all the more. “Not like this,” I whispered.

“And that is the Human Tragedy.”

I began to cry.

Ah, there they were, the tears. I had thought they had dried up with my humanity.

Crowman watched me in silence. After a while he said, “Has anyone told you how your father died?” 

I shook my head.

He gave a badly told, rambling account of an accident the night I was born, and a conversation that transpired before. “That was another Human Tragedy right there,” he said. “But because of that, you are not dead, so don’t grieve for a life that is not over.”

I nodded slowly. A last tear slid down my cheek. “So you’re saying, there is more to the story. Because I am alive.”


“So you can’t define it as a tragedy. Because stories are defined by their endings.”

Crowman’s eyes widened.

I took a deep, shuddering breath. “You know what? I reckon life only seems like a tragedy because you discount the little things. The little things are where the happiness is.”

“Is that so?”

“I’m going to prove you wrong. I am going to live an amazing life. I am going to do everything I wanted to do, be everything I wanted to be. When I die I will do so smiling. I will go on my next incredible journey which I know death to be, leaving you to wonder if I was right after all. It will be my ultimate rise.”

Crowman’s face twisted into a smile. “Sounds like a plan,” he said.

<Previous 4.15 || Next 4.17>

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