The Butcher of Londinium
by J. Deery Wray
As the hulking rhinoceros gored and trampled its way through the gladiatorial market in New
Rome, there was one thought I couldn't get out of my head:
The carnage was impressive.
When the bestiary guards caught up with it, they unloaded more than sufficient rounds from their
tranq-dart rifles to down the savage creature. Unwarranted, perhaps, but unsurprising; they had
let it escape from its pen. The men who were shackled to me breathed sighs of relief.
I had, during the rhino's rampage, felt a twinge of worry. Chained as I was, I could neither have
run nor fought, but the same would be true in the arena. I have no illusions about my own
abilities. When I'd heard my sentence, to be fodder for the games, I knew I'd be dead soon
enough; why not enjoy the unexpected entertainment? I just wish it had lasted longer.
"Where's the surgeon?" One man cried out, then another, adding their voices to the screams and
whimpers of the injured.
For a moment, I thought they meant me. But they found their surgeon soon enough, what was
left of him. His spirit was awaiting its final passage across the river Styx.
"We need a surgeon," a panicked voice cried. "We'll lose the merchandise."
That's when I raised my hand, and shouted, "Over here."
I've never been one to waste an opportunity.