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His hand fell. Warmth and pain shot through his arm. He felt the blade stretch and then punch through the skin on the back of his forearm. A good sign. The knife went clean through. Still, his bone pressing against the blade inside his arm was like chewing cut lake ice. He bit back a scream.

Without wasting any time he began a sawing motion, pulling downward. A wet sensation began to pool around his elbow. The red blot grew a bit, slowed, and stopped. The tourniquet was working. The knife made it the rest of the way out of his arm without much effort. Though each severed nerve was as if snapping the strings of a tightly strung clavichord.

His arm only remained attached by a thread of tissue. He reversed the knife in his hand and positioned the blade under his arm so he could pull upward to finish the cut. The muscle and fat parted easily. Then he reached the sinew. It stretched and resisted the edge of the blade. He could still feel his hand react as it squirmed beneath the slab. It seemed a foreign appendage, not his own though he felt it.

He began to saw again, this time without much success. The blade just scraped back and forth across the sinew like a bow across the chords of a vielle. It made his ears ring. He growled through it.

At last the sinew ripped and he was freed. The ringing ended, as did the snow and the wind and all the sounds of nature, and he knew in that moment God had been witness to his faith. He smiled and sat up, but in fact, his body didn’t move. He was too tired, so instead, he closed his eyes.

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The End

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