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The barrel pushes hard against his skin. He’s nervous, that much is obvious.
I can’t say much, but I’m sorry, he hears from behind him.
Do you think apologies make you a more decent person? he asks the voice.
There is only silence.
He sighs shakily. That came out wrong, he admits. I meant, if it’s not really you, and you apologize, it’s meaningless. Decency is an irrelevant variable because it is not your decency in question. He chuckles, shakily. Strange words from a soon dead man, isn’t it? Maybe I should have said something more concrete instead. Might make more of an impact.
He feels or perhaps he hears a finger move from the guard to the trigger. Or perhaps his imagination is fueled by panic. I’m sorry, he hears again. It’s strained.
If I was a decent person, I’d accept it, but it does feel wrong somehow, he says. The marionette or the puppeteer: to whom does the sin belong? He sighs again, but he can barely muster his breath this time. I’m sorry I can’t stop you, he says, throat dry, voice hoarse.
And before the bullet fires: I’m sorry no one can.