The biggest irony of this story is that I wrote it during the dead of winter. Perhaps the cold weather was an influence on the harshness of the plot.
It was suggested, in an early manuscript stage, that I might re-think the ending. For me, the way this story ends is pivotal and it could reach no other conclusion. It’s unfortunate that that is the case. I would have preferred it some other way, too. But far be it from me to fight with a good story’s demands.