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A Delicate Machine
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Cass watched, appalled, as Jerry stuffed his face with crackers; stunned into disgusted silence. He had killed a man (considerate and brave and the only thing that had let Cass keep themself together) and his first reaction after his friend loudly considered looting the body was to eat? Was murder, desperate and bloody, truly so easy on the appetite?

Or did Jerry not even consider it worth thinking about any longer? He was still alive, and that meant that he had obviously done the right thing, so everyone else had to just accept that, right? He didn't want to kill Trav, really; and wasn't that all that mattered? He had panicked. He didn't want to die. He wasn't evil, so that meant he didn't have to feel sorry, right? It was just Cass's fault for not just lying down and agreeing that their friend deserved to die, right?

He wasn't the bad guy, because he said he wasn't, so that meant he was perfectly justified to stab Cass for the capital crime of caring about someone other than themself, right?

There wasn't a goddamn trace of humanity in Jerry's eyes. As Cass stood there, still sniffling and with eyes puffy from crying; they decided that anything was worth the chance to shut him up, even for a second. Anything to make it clear that his life didn't matter more than anyone else's, that he couldn't always get his way just by virtue of being willing to stomp over anyone in his way.

Cass rushed towards Jerry as he drew his knife. They punched him in the fucking face, their knuckles impacting his nose with a satisfying (if painful, they belatedly realized they were probably doing it wrong) smack. He flailed, and Cass felt a burning agony in their left wrist as it was slashed by Jerry's blade. They cried out as they stumbled backwards, grasping their wrist. Thankfully, Jerry was too busy clutching his battered nose to chase after them.

((They quickly scooped up their bags and darted away, turning their back on Trav for the first and last time.))
a tribute for the dead and dying

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