The weary old man looked over the city and knew that his time was soon to come. It was not an illness, yet it was not wholly unexpected in his line of work, and the way the cards fell, he knew as sure as cancer that death was coming to him soon. Still, it was a nice day. He looked over to the wharf beyond the stinking docks where Crabtown whithered. The bend in the shore was sandy dwindling to the rise of a great cliff face where a rock formation jutted to a point where green and brown mingled amid the placid blue waters. It was a poor day for sailing, but a brilliant day for seeing, the ocean’s light blue sibling above was touched by thin brushstrokes of cloud that ambled under a crisp, sharply outlined sun. The blue ocean waters stretched out to the horizon where the outlines of sails languished to one side and to the other the green fields beyond the walls of his home.
The Warf his gaze fell over was little more than a fisherman’s dock, too far to make out anything truly specific, but each moment he lingered over it, he felt like he knew it better. The wharf was situated between the walls of the smoking city and the cliffs on the farther crescent edge of the sandy shore. Its minimal form must be only a few meters into the water, and the small connected warehouse had something shimmering hanging outside next to the small square window of the structure. He supposed it was probably fish hung out to dry. Following the bare pinpricks of white stones from the wharf, only little bit further inland was the modest cabin that he supposed the fisherman and his family might live in. Puffs of white smoke drifted away from it out of the stone chimbly. The outline of a porch could be seen facing the dock and warehouse.
He had watched this particular place all his life and just realized how he was now able to see so much in it. That tiny structure on the distant shore resolving into details perhaps no other living creature in the city had considered so delicately. He had stood on this same palace vista and looked down over the world in his moments of brief reprieve and suffering and machination so many times throughout his life. He wondered how many times he had looked over that modest life below. It felt dear to him and yet he had never been there. Through plans and propositions that clouded his memory like a black miasma, it always remained. There was never truly a beginning and it was this blackness that he knew would always have consumed him in the end.
He thought now of the life the fisherman in that tiny house lived, simple and free from the burdens he had strived to face his whole life. Free from the tangled web that connected the city and the greater world that so entangles all who meddle in the affairs of other like beings. The fisherman has a clear task and each day he battles the elements and performs a duty that did not require the sacrifice of all morality. It was a duty with a clear end and a clear purpose. Sitting on his porch in the afternoon sun and smoking a pipe, looking over his children, and his boat bobbing before a rippling sea that shone with the colors of the sunset heavens.
His life was all stone walls, papers, stench, and smoke. It was what lies to call out and which ones to let fester in themselves. It was preparation, paranoia, and the devious mind of fellow humans he battled with each day. Grand ideals, and pragmatic logistics, codes and passwords and hatred, and just so many lies. The worst of all, the smile, the pat on the back, the joke and laugh, charm to be guarded against the devious plots. He wondered how many people he had killed, how many he had saved if the child in the sewer was glad to have his life rather than give it up for the honorable noble who fell before his true greatness.
Memory is short. Charm, youth, and gold are forever adored. Such quandaries returned to him in that barrage of miasma that approached. The door opened behind him. What could he have done differently? How did Lisidious gain the favor of so many he had helped? How much blood needs be spilled before its over? Before the truth is seen by all and the issues are done and the plans are not needed and the love of revenge fades?
There was no sound of footsteps. Only the plunging of the blade into his back.
It would never be over. It never began. It always was.
The old man did not turn, but as he fell he looked over to the wharf and longed for that peace.
He touched it. Then died.