This is a test piece of a larger idea for a short story that I have. I’ll be the first to admit that it’s a fairly depressing in tone (and probably much more obviously reflective than I would like) but I’d be interested in knowing if any readers out there would like to share their thoughts on the text and whether or not they think it works as a piece of writing
The steel blade hung like a glittering diamond in the air. The arcs of afternoon sunlight illuminating it’s ghastly shape for all in attendance to see. The crowd gobbled like turkeys in the ramshackle courtyard.
As Sebastian shambled across the mottled wooden boards, he took a moment to consider what makes up a life. The life of a man. It wasn’t a story that he saw in his mind’s eye, a tidy sequence of events with a narrative flow that made sense from beginning to end, it was simply sensations. The smell of flowers in the hallway of the chateau. The taste of a lover. The feeling of fresh air, glancing across his face.
All he could see around him were the faces of the righteous, the disposed, and the furious. There to judge him. Were they so pure? Were they so innocent? Could they claim to be without guilt? Can any man, wondered Sebastian, do enough to earn a place in heaven?
A thick, wad of spit flecked against Sebastian’s cheek. Spat from the gummy maw of an old woman, her face was cruel and wizened. She glared, bloated eyes staring gashes into him.
She despised him.
She hated him.
Could he blame her? He did not know. Sebastian considered that he had always tried to do the right thing but his life of privilege, of position, his connection to materialism, to the value of objects, had perhaps denied his attempt to live a holy life and now, at this moment, all of that was gone and for the briefest time he felt utterly free.
Sebastian stood atop the rickety wooden platform and felt it shift beneath his weight. He waited there, exposed. His once fine, silken clothing that had caressed his flesh was gone, replaced with tattered, lice infested hessian that hung from his skeletal frame like a sullen scarecrow.
He had fought when the baying mob had come for him. It was on a quiet, moonlit night that they burst through the door of his home. He had lashed out, his beautifully manicured fingernails scraping against the fleshy cheek of one of them. Sebastian glanced done at the fractured, broken mess that were his fingers now. What were once his pride and joy had been left broken by the torturer’s hammer.
Leather gloved hands gripped Sebastian from behind and forced him to kneel, his soft skin forced against rough wood, the forgotten blood of other’s before him licking his neck. Milky white eyes gazed up at him from the wicker basket inches from his face. Who amongst them were friends? He did not know. The rotten remnants of their identities kept that a secret from him.
Sebastian raised his eyes and looked out once more upon the baying mob, there to find freedom in anger and hate, despite those being the very things that bind them than even the most oppressive regimes of class and wealth.
The steel scythed downwards. A man was gone. And yet still the crowd bellowed for more.