It sits like a stone on my chest. Remembering to breathe is the hard thing.

I have killed off someone I loved.

My character is gone. I won’t say which one. That part is for the reading of it. When the thing is finally made public.

Hearing the guess of a friend about which character had died, the how and why: That was the easy part. Hearing her guess wrong was the right thing in that moment; a sanity check for the work-so-far.

But theory and guesswork are theoretical. Safe and painless. Knowing what I was planning to do was one thing. Murder-by-pen is another thing altogether. I knew that, at its core, the result would be something spiritual; something transcendant. And, product of that carefully-nurtured awareness, the words came readily out of the air. They came to the page almost too effortlessly to be good. Before I knew it—before I was really ready for it—the deed was done.

Don’t tell me what you did, said the dear friend who has been following the tale since the beginning; I don’t want to know until I read it.

Agreed. I understand. I won’t tell. It was hard enough telling myself.

Four people know the ending: Blake (who knows only the ending), the two characters most affected by it, and me. But here’s the hard fact: Distraught, irredeemable misery has no friends.

I’m not crying over the deed. Tears attended last night’s listening. They will come again, in drowning amounts. But at the moment, none.

This murder I’ve done: It is exactly what I had hoped it would be. It is everything good that I was afraid it wouldn’t be.

There is no guilt in it. But, oh, the hurt.