not with a bang, but a whimper

this was a writing experiment in poetic prose based somewhat on the final season of BBCs Robin Hood.

You’re going to die.

…I know.

Aren’t you afraid?

Children, running through a field.  The grass has grown tall.  It waves freely in the breeze.  Running water.  Laughing, playing.  Stopping.

Those eyes.  The tears and the sadness.  Where?  What has happened?  Has he gone?  Is he gone for good?

Is he ever coming back?

I do not fear death.

It must be nice…to have made your peace with the world.

You misunderstand me.

Misunderstand?

There is no peace for me.

She’s crying.  Why is she crying?  Should I  hold her?  Is that what she wants?  Would it help?  Can it help?

No.  Nothing can help.  Nothing can bring their parents back.  Nothing can save them now.

But the peace of death.

No.

No?

I already told you, you misunderstand me.

No peace in death?

No peace in life, nor death.

Do you fear hell?

Only the hell which I created.

So smug, as if everyone in the world owes him something.  And what of it?  Yes, he knows the pain of loss, but not the heaviness of guilt.

Guilt.  It forged me and made me who I am.

A heavy mantle.  The weight of my own self-loathing.  Heart hardened and heavied by my own misdeeds.  Forsake not the past.  Fear not the future.

So change.

I can’t.

Of course you can.  You’re just being stubborn.

You don’t know me.

No, but I think I know you better than anyone else.  Perhaps even yourself.

You mock my pain.

And how is your pain any greater than anyone else’s?

Do what you were born to do.  Become the villain.

Hate yourself.  Train everyone else to hate you just as much.

You are nothing.  You are worthless.  They are dead because of you.

Because of you.

It isn’t.

No, it isn’t.  Now stop feeling sorry for yourself.

I’m not.

Oh, and I suppose this little pity party is something else then?

Do you hate me?

No.  I won’t give you the satisfaction.

And when you say you were like a father to me, you have no idea how much you poison my heart.  You don’t know my father.  You never did.

My father was a good man.  He was an honourable man.  He was twice the man you’ll never be and the only goodness running through my own veins.

He was a good man.

He loved us.

Didn’t he love us?

It wouldn’t give me satisfaction if you did.

Why are you so angry?

Why must you bother me with your foolish questions?

Because I see you.

.

Little sister, come and sit beside me.  Don’t look at me like that.  This is for the best, you’ll see.

No sharp response for that, huh?

.

Because it terrifies you.  To know that someone can see behind the stone-cold, icy exterior and break down those walls.  And you know what I see under all of that?  I see a little boy who is so trapped in himself that he destroys everything he touches.

.

Still nothing?  Because I can tell you something else.  No matter how old you get and how tall you grow, you will never been anything but a scared little boy until you face yourself and what you have done.

And what makes you think I haven’t?

Because you’re still punishing yourself.  And you’re punishing everyone else.

Or maybe I am just evil.

That’s too simple.  Nothing in life is that simple.

I remember the sun.  I remember the joy of playing in the sun.

I remember the rain.  I remember the pleasure of soaking up the rain after a hot day.

I remember joy.  I remember happiness.  I remember laughter.

Now all I feel is a shadow in the dark.  All I see is the coldness that’s settled over me.  I am nothing.  I am no one.

And how do you know?

You’re still talking to me, aren’t you?

Only for lack of something better to do.

Then tell me.

Tell you what?

Tell me why you are evil.

.

Tell me why everyone must hate you so much.

.

Goodness.  There is a shred of goodness.  Even after all the evil I have done.  Even after all the souls I have shattered.  All the pain I have inflicted.

There is a shred of goodness.

If she can see it in me, it must be there.

Even patricide is forgiven.  Even matricide is forgiven.

Go on.

I told you.

And I am not a fool.  I know there is goodness in you.

No.  That died a long time ago.

Did it?

Yes.  It died with that scared little boy you see.

And how did they die?

They died in the fire that killed his parents.  The fire that he lit.

She lied.

The shred was a shadow.  The memory of what once was good inside.

You killed them?

Yes.

But why?

Why does a frightened boy do anything?  Because I was afraid.

It was an accident then.

Does it matter?

Yes?

Not to them.

Is it possible for a shadow to love?  I thought perhaps I could.

And then I destroyed that, too.

They love you.

Yeah, and they’re dead.

So of course you must kill everyone who crosses you to make up for their loss.

.

Do you realize how childish that sounds?

Yes.  And I am a child.  You said so yourself.

You must have loved them.

Of course I love them.

And this is how you show it?

.

Blood.

Is it mine or is it hers?

Her blood runs cold.  It runs.

What does love mean to you?

It means nothing.  It is a lie.

But it is a beautiful lie.

.

Even you must admit that.

.

Or is that too much, even for you?

No, your words are true.  Love is the most beautiful lie I’ve ever known.  And I crushed it with my own hands.

I remember the look in her eyes.

When the light left them.

Why must you poison yourself?

Because.

Because?

It’s what I deserve.

You’re so quick to deal out your own damnation.

And what would you do, in my place?

I’d forgive myself.

They say the first thing to go is the mind.  When the slow, steady poison of anger and hatred take over, the mind fades.  And yet it lingers.  It reforms and shapes and suddenly I am no longer a shadow.

I am becoming.

Perhaps I am a man after all.

And…perhaps someday I will.

You mean that?

Does it matter?

It does to me.

You don’t even know me.

I think we both know that’s not true.

I guess it’s only right I should die by the sword.

Live by the sword.  Die by the sword.

But not alone.

No, you’re right.

Finally, we both agree on something.

You were beautiful.

I thought perhaps as I lay dying I might think of Marian.  But I only thought of her for a moment.

Then I remember you.

~*~

…it’s you.

You sound surprised.

You waited for me?

Of course I did.

But…why?

Because.

Because?

Even you deserve some happiness, if not in that life, then in this one.

The End

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