In the initial years of catching the addiction, it took Nahin around ten minutes to yank the life out of an otter. Slimy. Glossy. Squeaky. Puppy-faced. Puppy-eyed. Chirping. Purring.
Curiosity-spun whiskers. Moon eyes.
Ten minutes. An otter-shaped leaf. Cascading from the universe’s branches.
Now, it took the fifteen-year-old boy only five, at most. Years of practice seeped perfection into his bones. Sheer repetition governed the movements of his life-taking limbs. A redundancy lodged inside his nerves had spun a well-deserved skill—claiming firm grip on a shimmering, slippery, smooth-furred, brown otter with one hand and showering on it blows with a sickle, or at times, an axe or machete, with the other. All along the alkaline of its blood salivating in his mouth.