Monday, August 21, 2006

The Warmth In Knowing

I wrote this short story some time ago, and think it fits well with my other ramblings. Enjoy!


Regicide . . .

The word’s still causing the hammers to murmur against my head’s fragile anvils. Other noises are waving over and through me, too, but none protrude to make a shape sharper in this warm marble chamber than that one word. Regicide.

The crimson Panel Judges – some looking across at me impassively, others talking quietly and sideways to one another while folding away notes on this, their final case for the morning – have passed sentence on my crime they say had almost been committed within the past six hours.

Other people remain seated on the chamber’s stepped terraces, staring up at me from their distance. Others thread their way through the rich cream and pink openness, as if moving from one space designed for their lives to another. Victual sellers to the sides of the throng have learnt through practiced eons their art of providing sustenance to those witnessing the sentencing of others for capital matters. Today, their reverence is reserved for me. Reverence and the reflection of unknown fears show in faces staring back at me.

I’m touched by those hundreds who show me regard, and understand those other hundreds moving gently on queue to the next phases of their lives. None, I know, are without consideration.

The hammers still murmur my sentence, to be carried out in a public place when least expected sometime (strictly) within the next 20 hours. And while I accept without qualm the Panel Judges’ ruling, I know the King still lives. His visage beams down at every major walk-avenue intersection, as it has throughout what I now realise has been my relatively short life. But that’s not the point . . . I must have, as the Judges conceded, known in my heart’s darkest shaft that I wished my King dead. Why else would I have been arrested, charged and sentenced for this crime of crimes, next only to the wanton smashing of gods?

My guards, who stood silently at my side throughout the 80-second trial, walk forward now through the chamber, with me between them. I see people I have known for years, some almost for the whole time, and realise they will know me to the end. Most stare blankly, with eyes not sure of what to say. At the chamber’s doorspace, where it merges into the Walk-Avenue of Laws, these guards turn to me, smile and shake my hand gently before merging into the crowds.
I’m to make best the
Time For Farewells.

I’ve always been told that death,
The Silence, while shaping collective determination, remains a profoundly lonely experience. Knowing when I entered life, and now when I’ll exit, automatically weighs my existence in calm balance.

Threading my way long the Walk-Avenue of Laws, I can no longer feel the dread of pulpits. I try. But it only makes me smile to now realise the savage myths of religious childhood help form our darkness – that part that marks us apart, punctuating our damage. I realise I simply can’t comprehend the enormity of the void ahead – one I will enter before another day dawns.

Nor can I fight the sentence. It will be administered by prick – by whom the Panel Judges didn’t say. On balance, I calmly accept that I'm in no position to fear
The Silence with what consciousness I have left.

The hours lick by like all the others I have known. Friends who have heard of the trial and sentence melt out of the crowd, become concrete before me and shake my hands. While they say they fear for me, I ask, over the hours, for their reasons. However, as their times have not yet come, the myth veils remain tightly in place. I continue watching people and families continuing with life as I would have done in their circumstances.

A woman I have been aware of for years, but only from a distance, approaches. As she smiles I feel a sharp jab. That very instant I understand that
The Door has been opened, and I must step through it as bravely or as cowardly as I care. Beyond, all is bottomless black. I stare long at my arm, shocked to see a small smudge of blood well through the sleeve of my tunic. I then look up at the woman, whose smile never fades. And then I realise she, too, has her hand extended to shake mine.

The smashing wave of airlessness passes as this woman backs away into the swirling throngs, still smiling. I look at my arm, at the blood and what it means, and notice for the first time the delicate patterns of feldspar in the ancient granite pathway.

I’m increasingly aware of the most reverent adventure I’ll ever face, and feel warmly humbled as the wave recedes back to my previous calm. I take in everything I can, noticing now the latticework dripping between the columns and framing their capitals. The feldspar glints as I close my eyes slowly, suddenly deliciously tired. I open them again. Slowly. The feldspar . . . The lattice . . . The beaming orbs of faces gliding in and out of vision . . .

I remember my grandmother’s words when I asked her questions she didn’t really want to answer: “It’s a wigwam for a goose’s bridle,” she'd say softly.

I feel my eyes closing again, and while I try to fight their action, I’m yearning the sleep one craves after a day’s hard, hard work. The faces melt together. The feldspar lashes all colours around me. The latticework recedes to the ceiling . . . Way up there . . .

I notice for the first time that the heel of my left boot is slightly run down, and coming away from the soul. I’m a child again, and my mother’s face is smiling down at me. I'm reaching up and up and up towards her. And the higher I reach, the lighter I feel.

Her words comfort me as she passes her soft hand across the heels of my school moccasins. “A good soldier never looks behind . . .”



Blogger Fayerae1 said...

That is a very beautifuland very powerful piece that had me captivated all the way through and satisfied when the story ended.

5:56 PM  

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