A/N: Definitely one of the more disturbing things I have ever written. Vladimir Nabokov is a favorite of mine, so I'm blaming him for his influence. I created this for the sole purpose of mild intellectual curiosity; what's going on in this? And why does it switch on and off between the pronouns 'it' and 'she/her'? Maybe I'll expand upon this one day, who knows, but I'm content with it as it is.

I chopped its head off but it's still staring at me. With its beady little eyes it watches my every movement, but with no malice, nor hate, no jeering sneer, only innocence. I should've seen it before and it shocks me that it only hits me just now. The fundamental truth of all pre-pubescent girls is the underlying innocence that marks their every move and feature; a pervading modesty, pure and sublime, about the way they walk and run, the way their gleaming hair bounces from side to side like a pinion from the top of a castle as they bounce up and down and move their delicate heads from side to side. The glad little nymphs of this neighborhood will never know the outstanding sense of innocence that hovers around them; perhaps their parents know but often enough they ignore it as innocence is inevitably lost in this society; and perhaps some of the few scholars in this neighborhood such as I who wax philosophical when we gaze upon them know the truth. But never the nymphs themselves. They can't know or they'd lose their innocence, and that must never be allowed to happen. It would be as much a crime as killing them.

This one was different, I thought. The way the child stared and leered at me with that contemptuous little face. It would glance at me and blather away, and I could still hear it talking while she left. I could hear her thoughts as she didn't voice them. This one had been conditioned by her parents. This one had been told to behave. The others were rapscallions, but this one had been the jewel of its parent's house. How proud her father must've been when he heard her play one of Rachmaninoff's preludes perfectly from memory; prouder still in nature was he when he punished and disciplined her for not doing it sooner. Her mother was never there in presence and was more akin to a portrait in the background. I'd look up and see the distant mother in the window, gazing down upon the world outside like an apocryphal Grigori gazing down from a mountain of age and superiority. Old Money always seems to come with that kind of attitude of incessant superiority. She'd sit and ponder what curious creatures we were, we who hurried in the vicissitudes of what was everyday life for us and merely a curiosity for her. The mother stood apart and gazed at her daughter from afar, content to let her grow and watch her grow, watch as events shaped her into either a formidable opponent or utterly destroyed her. Opponent because of the father, the nemesis. He, the controlling factor, the antagonist, was the overhead influence in the nymph's life. He lorded over her and lorded her about like a well-loved and well-used toy. Everyone knew at yet as it was common by the lower class to be afraid of their superiors we voiced nothing. His values were not our values. We were a class apart – a world apart from the father and the mother and the child. We were not them and what they did was not our business.

But in every life, even the most innocent ones, there is certain balance that must be maintained. Whether it is karmic law or a simply coincidental is inconsequential – with every good comes the bad, and with every evil whisper comes a benediction. Or perhaps it is not – perhaps this world is simply full of evils, and some are lesser than others. I for one was either the lesser of all these evils or the good, but it does not matter which now that things are at their end. Innocent or no, I was merely the conduit of the release. I was merely the explosion itself, not the pressure. I contained it, and in the end I ended it for its own good.

Other children always stood apart from her and hated her. I watched her often and she would treat them with the same disdain they were afraid to show her. She was well-hated and well-doted on by her father. It seemed to counteract the general evil of the whole family. But even when surrounded by nothing but evil and grime can flowers grow; there is beauty in a swamp, it's just difficult to find. So it was with the nymph. I did not see it sooner.

But ah, she was a child and not even the most contemptuous air she could possess could disrupt the sense of innocence. Nothing could change that. Not the ravages of the father, not the disregard of the mother, nor the violent end I gave her myself could alter it. And now nothing will ever get the chance to as I have slyly eliminated all threats with five careful strikes of my cleaver. I am not cruel, however. It was painless and in the end, utterly necessary. However I may hate the thing I am but the servant of a higher cause. Needless to say, they all have it coming.

I look at the skin, smooth and fine and now cold. If I could not feel the flesh beneath my fingers I would guess it was the head of a porcelain doll. The soft alabaster skin could have been the skin of any child. I close and open the blue eyes several times, curiously thumbing the eyelids. They used to be the most startling hue of blue and grey, sparkling with that peculiar sparkle every innocent child posesses and yet posessing the cruel wisdom of the deeply disturbed and unrighteous. It still stares, but now I see they have clouded. The freshness has left it and I begin to smell the decay of its rotten flesh.

Well-loved by evil and well-hated by all else, this innocence was. I smiled and thought of the mother and her distant mannerisms the nymph had inherited. No matter how far the mother stayed away from the rest of the world, the child was still hers and had left her mark. The child had always looked at me with nothing but contempt but ah, I saw her when she thought I wasn't looking. Only I saw that too late. Or perhaps it was irrelevant. I find I am unbothered and place her golden head where it belongs. It stares at me until I force its eyes shut a last time. No more games, child. I win this time. You think I didn't know? You think I didn't see? You think I did not notice how indiscreet you were? Innocence is ever fleeting, ever dying. There is no victim here, no real murder, and no evil. It may have been a holy ordinance. She had been tied to the gibbet long ago; the stone rolls downhill and the blame now lies with God himself, for surely I was the holy release to this endless cycle of despair.