a sixty second scene by Dot

The challenge: write a scene spanning only sixty seconds, but exploring the characters’ thoughts and emotions during that scene.


Himura was weak.

This much was obvious from the beginning.  Himura had proved that at the village, when he refused to kill even though the victory was his.  A killer who wielded a reversed blade—the very thought made Soujirou laugh.  The sword renders judgment, and with his sword Soujirou had judged over and over between the weak and the strong, and each time, the outcome was unquestionable.  He was strong, so he would triumph.  They were weak, so they fell beneath his blade.

A swordsman who protects life—absolute nonsense!

Yes, Himura was weak, and thus he would be destined to die.

Then why couldn’t Soujirou finish the job?

Was he weak? Of course not! Shi-Shi-O was the best teacher he could ever had, and he had learned well.

Was Himura the better swordsman? Impossible! Himura hesitated on every opportunity to give a killing blow.  He wouldn’t even swat so much as a mosquito with that reversed blade.  And he was slower, so much slower that Soujirou could circle behind him.

So why was it that when their swords crossed this time, it was Soujirou’s blade that cracked instead of Himura’s? And why was it that, when he had a clear shot at Himura’s back, Soujirou failed to deliver the killing blow?

Then—was Himura right, after all? That the weak should be protected, and not be trodden upon?


“If you were right, then why didn’t you save me?”

The little boy fled for his life, their mocking laughter still ringing in his ears.

The strong lived, and the weak died.  It had to be true.  It just had to, or else he wouldn’t be alive now.

His sword cut through their flesh as he swung again and again, their blood splattering his face.

But Himura also lived, even though he rejected Shi-Shi-O’s philosophy.  Did that mean Himura was right?

“No, you’re wrong, and you know why?”

“Are you crying?”

“Because back then, you didn’t protect me, did you?”

The rain made it hard for him to see.  “No.”

The implications made his mind reel just thinking about it.  All these years, he had killed hundreds—no, thousands—because it was his duty to weed out the weak, so that Shi-Shi-O could rule a nation that could in turn dominate the world.  In those same years, Himura had wielded his sword—his backwards sword, with the blade on the wrong side—to uphold the rights of the very sort of people that Soujirou wouldn’t think twice about cutting down.

“The strong live.  The weak die.  That’s the way things are.”

Himura couldn’t be right.  He had to be wrong.  He had to!

“But if you’re right—”

If he were right, then—

He ran his hand along the sheath.  “It must hurt a lot, getting cut.” he traced the bruise on his cheek.  “Even more than being hit.”


Somebody help me! Somebody! Anybody!


Unnecessarily Long and Tiresome Authoress’ Notes:
If you haven’t figured out yet, this is the scene right before Soujirou snaps.  I chose to expound on it because I’m a person that gets into these kinds of circular reasoning, so I totally identify with how Sou-chan feels.