The angel comes bloodied through the final door into the room where Jeremiah Gannon waits.
“Thou filthy angel,” Gannon says.
He peers at Link.
He hesitates. Then he scrubs at the stubble on his chin and laughs.
“You’re that man,” he says. “I hung you.”
“The Tree,” says Link, “must from time to time be watered with the blood of patriots.”
Then he twitches. He hunches his shoulders. He curls in on himself.
He leans in to his sandwich. He whispers to the numinous manifestation of the Lord. He says, “This is not a person. This is not a worthy. This is a creature that we should disdain.”
Link staggers under the weight of it.
“It’s his fault,” whispers Gannon. “If it weren’t for him, everything would be all right.”
And the face of Jesus in the sandwich has known nothing but the voice of Jeremiah Gannon for so many years; and it does not know any better.
To the face of Jesus in the sandwich, it seems that Jeremiah Gannon’s in the right.
From the west the torments of Hell slip into the room. Their tendrils lash out to capture the angel’s heart.
Link pours out the last of his warm Coke.
He seizes Hell in the Coke bottle. He scoops it up. He seals the lid.
Now he’s got Hell!
From the east the sea of silver comes slipping into the room.
Link pours all the torments of Hell out of his bottle. He scoops up the sea of silver in his bottle. He seals the lid.
Now he’s got unexamined ignorance!
The torments of Hell reach out for him again.
The angel looks from side to side with an expression of comic horror.
Then he leaps back and draws the hook shot and he fires it at the sandwich with the image of Jesus on its bread.
“If only,” murmurs Jeremiah Gannon.
The weapon that brought the walls of Jericho tumbling down fails before Gannon’s power.
“If only you hadn’t shown me that final trump in the duel with Zatoichi,” Gannon says. “Then perhaps you might have won.”
“Oh,” Link says.
“Or if you’d had a second bottle,” Jeremiah Gannon admits.
Then he shrugs.
He turns away.
He doesn’t really care about the angel any more.
And Link pours the sea out from the bottle and reaches for the torments of Hell, but time is not his friend.
The sea of the unexamined ignorance, now freed, sweeps over Link the angel.
It pulls him into its grasp.
He fades away.
And the angel is in nothingness. He is in emptiness. He is in silence and in a place where there is nothing he may do and nothing he may say to change the opinion of Jesus or of Jeremiah Gannon regarding the angel’s worth.
He forgets his body.
He forgets his name.
He forgets that power in him that made bombs; and the iron shoes they hung him with; and the hook shot and the bottle and the hearts.
There is only the final questing impulse that watched a poodle drown and said, “I wonder why.”
It moves in him.
Curiosity, perhaps. Doubt. A sense in the unexamined things that there is something worth examining.
His hand plunges from nothingness and gleaming silver and his sword cuts the sandwich in two and sizzling the cheese sprays out and dripping green the mold and Jeremiah Gannon shrieks; and silver binds round half the sandwich and Hell around the other, and they gulp the halves of Jesus down.
Then he is gone.
And some suggest that by doing this Link saved the world. That there is a place of virtue and of quality that Gannon does not know, with people human in their hearts. That there are still the Gorons in their Oregon and the Kokiris in Kokomo Woods, and somewhere in some Heaven there is Link.
But this we do not know.
We know only of the fate of Jeremiah Gannon in his emptiness; for, turning from the writhing limbs of Hell he plunged into the sea.
And if he moves in a place of cities he does not see the cities. And if he moves in a place of the wild he does not see the wild. And there is no sandwich with him nor no hope.
There is only the silver that clings to his eyes, to his ears, and slips into his nose; and in that shining silver sea of blindness he lives on.