Festival of Death

A flash from the French Revolution from the eyes of a man unmarked in history as he walks towards his doom through the 'Festival of Death'.

When they came for me, I kissed my wife farewell. She wept so bitterly; it might as well be the death of me. I knew it was the last time I was ever to see her pretty face, feel her sweet lips.

And  she was likely to follow after me.  The dirty hands of these greasy wretches would come after her. Only the thought that I would meet her once more in the serenity of Heaven was able to console me, if console was the proper word.

I spent my last day hidden from the sunshine in a room without windows, trapped with a man who would share my fate. Yet he refused to follow my path, revealing a dagger he hid in his ragged waistcoat and brought about his own doom. As he died, bleeding freely without a groan from his throat, he offered me the same stained blade in which took his life in order to take my own.

For a while, I stared at it, stared at it even after the poor man was cold and dead. I hid it in my own pockets as guards passed by my cell, the thunder of their footsteps alerting me to their presence. One poked his ugly head through to look at us like caged creatures, and noticed the body of my companion.

"Dead?" he grunted.

I refused to answer, just looking at the beast. Already I myself felt dead.

"Appears so," muttered the other. "Eh, will come and get him in the morning; he can be guillotined with the others."

With that they turned away and disappeared from my sights.  I held the dagger to the faint, oily light of the latern, shifting it and allowing it to catch the light in different fashions. I threw it aside, the thing landing with a clank. Shuddering, I wrapped my arms around myself in my cold corner.  I couldn't do it. Not yet.


We were gathered and bound, shoved into a cart like livestock. In fact, we seemed to be treated with less respect then livestock--they were worth much more in these times. The body of my cellmate was tossed in along with us, at our feet. There was a young woman, her face veiled by her curls as she crouched over, murmuring in inaudible prayer. A boy was set next to me, blank with distraught. "My mother...," he mumbled, though to no one in particular. "...who will care for my mother?"

The cart jolted forwards, and turning down onto the streets. So many people, so many faces....they jeered at us, laughed and pointed. They hung from their windows and stood on their roofs singing their haunting revolutionary songs. The houses themselves were gowned in joyous celebration, ribboned in red, white, and blue and hemmed with abundant flowers.  As we passed by them, they shouted insults at us, though much of it was lost over the all the other on-going noise. I gazed over all their expressions, this strange festival, with uncaring blandless. Was I here any longer?

I felt a witness to my own death. In this festival held for my death; the death of those already murdered haenously, and those to come. The people snarling at us now could be in my place tomorrow.

And my wife would be in my place. My poor wife.

We stopped before the platform, before the terrible figure of the guillotine, a dark shadow before the grey sky. The women across from me began to weep. We were unloaded and set in line. I was first, the blade clean for my neck. I knew later they would behead the dead man for their goulish amusement.

The executioner yanked me forward, trimming my shirt collar. I took one glance to the crowd before me, quiet with anticipation. I was simply another show. Another actor in their bloody play.

I kneeled before the guillotine, the executioner setting my neck proper so that the blade would sever it well.

Marie. I died with your name on my lips.

The End

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