Broken shackles and links of chain
clatter on concrete walls.
Her feet slide one in place of the other
as she passes other, long-empty stalls.
She is free.
Her steps echo boundless to ceilings and floor,
and ricochet off iron bars.
She steps out of her prison to a placid night
pockmarked with long-gone stars.
She had hoped
to see the sun.
The luminescent moon is veiled
by wisps of audacious cloud.
Heaven, which seemed so close once upon a time,
seems so far away to her now.
The angels bear her
Phantom hounds from Hell stalk behind,
padding on well-worn paws.
Nipping at her ankles, catching her broken chains,
tearing her leg-flesh raw.
Ghosts of nameless faces follow,
seemingly her entourage.
But guards, instead, and inescapable
and as elusive as her will’s mirage.
They are taking her
despite the truth.
To the edge of abyss, and so far down,
into a void unknown.
None return, and none survive
the execution of such renown.
A crowd has gathered, with gapes of awe,
and laughter to appease.
And her captor in his golden crown,
a royal, ostentatious beast.
He will not
He has given them a show,
but the best is yet to come.
The crowd yearns for blood, for death, and flesh
and glistening, visible bone.
She will not
Her eyes scan the crowd, pick out those she knew,
who turn away in shame.
“Good,” she thinks. “Feel regret for this,
mourn for your eternal blame.”
She hates these
people the most.
And then, she finds him, still a boy,
more youthful now than before.
His eyes are wide, tears stain his cheeks
and his soul fights a hidden war.
“Any last words?” the proud king asks,
a glee behind his smirk.
She shakes her head and takes her place,
stifling her fear and mirth.
Her eyes find him, her only love,
stepping forward in the crowd.
Closer to where she now kneels,
closer, closer now.
She is assured.
The phantom dogs stop barking,
ghosts stifle their phantasmal howls.
The sword is raised, the edge poised down,
the wind through spirits growls.
Please not him.
“You die for your crime, in accordance to law,”
the king says with smile.
Ashes curl in crevices of his black crown,
and his teeth rot grey and vile.
She has made
But in this court?
She will lie.
The boy steps forward, pushes past ghosts,
kicks at the hounds that snarl.
“Innocent!” he declares of her,
“With me you have your quarrel!”
The ghost king laughs. The ghost king heaves.
He coughs up soot and ash.
“This girl is sent to death for you,
and yet you still rehash the past?”
But she doesn’t
“She is sentenced for her crime,” the ghost king says.
“She will die as is set by the law.”
She watches the boy as he draws closer still,
the words catching in his throat and his jaw.
“Take my life, if you must,” she says standing up,
her arms spread in front of the boy.
“Take everything I own, my heart and my soul,
but don’t take the boy that I love.”
The sword raised and poised, so close to her heart
lusting after her blood and her pain,
but if she can save him, if his life might be spared,
she will take whatever may come her way.
survive without him.
She closes her eyes, and feels herself spill,
hot tears streaming tracks down her cheeks.
She feels herself fall to the ground with a thud,
and she feels the cool sting of the breeze.
It is cold.
She is cold.
She feels his hands fumble, closing fingers over wounds
as he tries to stop the blood in its tracks.
She feels herself weaken, but stronger somehow.
She feels herself seep through the cracks.
She feels her bitter sorrow washing away
with what feels like the rain from the sky.
She feels the surprise in her audience before her,
she feels the weight of all the ghost eyes.
She feels the chains on her wrists and ankles
turn to ash and then wither away.
She hears the boy’s screams, distant and mournful,
as he begs desperately that she stay.
And she loves him.
So it’s okay.
Alright, alright. I know this is exceedingly long. I began with the thought to have about four stanzas. I thought I could get the story out in that amount of time, but apparently not. And there’s not really a huge moral to the story short of self-sacrifice. This was again, just another one of my strange dreams. Strangely enough, I was one of the ghost people, looking on as a girl who looked suspiciously like me was sentenced to death for a crime that the love of her life committed. Because she loved him, she (of course) took the penalty to protect him (isn’t that what you do for someone you love), but he wouldn’t allow it without a fight.
I really should see someone about these dreams…