Execution Deadline

An imprisoned man, edging the deadline of his impending execution, moves into a dreamlike existence under the pressure of his dwindling time. And in this meditative state, he discovers a hidden power of freedom that lives in the raging storm overhead.

Let me describe it to you. The stones, the shadows, the slime, and the sewage. The trickles of sweat, the tightening tension, and the truth that forever haunts me. In this world, I fight the rot, the regret, the rage, and the restlessness. And who's presence is it that stalks through my mind, paces across my nerves, and blows a cold window over my shoulders? It is Death.

Death, with all His penetrating brutality, has made a friend of me. He watches me in my every moment. He judges the life I have lived. He offers no emotion and no mercy. I know my fate. And I too hold little emotion. What good would it do?

***

Three hours remain until I will die. Each minute is one that I can compare to that remaining time. Each minute is a fraction of my life. It slips through my fingers.

***

I slip now into a timeless moment. All thoughts of the future vanish. I have realized what will come, and I have realized that I need not prepare. It will come. It will take me. That is all.

I count the cracks on the stone wall. I listen to the dripping of the rain in the stone trenches. I listen to the wind that roars of a freedom I cannot have. And time begins to slow.

Perhaps I am imagining it. Perhaps I am in a trance. But as I open my being to every detail around me, the time between one drip and the next begins to lengthen. I feel my pulse slow. I feel my breathing match the sighing rhythm of the mountains. One drop lasts an eternity. I follow the life of a single breath of wind. I move with the soaring of a single leaf caught in the storm's spirit.

I lift my arm and feel a lightness and power pumping through the youthful muscle, bone and flesh. My arm moves through a separate realm of time, free from the slow pulsating rhythm of the universe, quick and instant like the movement of an animal when witnessed by a tree. The next drop has not yet fallen.

I stand up. The air is slow to move, but I can push through it with ease. I walk to the window. I tilt my head and peer up through the bars to the tossed grey sky of wind and cloud. It transforms and moves with the gentle fluidity of an evaporating puddle.

Another drop falls, and I listen until its sound gently fades. How can I be locked in such a prison? How can the walls hold me here? Can I not slip by the sleeping guards of matter and mass, quick like a ray of light?

I wait an eternity for the next drop to fall. The beautiful sullen sound reaches me and I move with it, through the walls, through the darkness, through the cold, and into the storm.

The End

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