I can see the beauty of it. The spiraling pillar, black as night, reaching past the heavens and into heaven's heaven. A thousand Earths high, mayhap. My feet ache. I cannot feel either of them, but I can feel the blood splash out with each step I take. I don't want to look down at them, I don't want to see the bloody mess of them. I know that if I look down I'll be greeted by flesh peeled far. By crimson bones sticking out. I continue my march, endless and alone.
My hair has begun to fall out in clumps, the only hair remaining is the bleach white beard on my face. Crumbs from bread in that beard, stale and sharp. I can feel the crumbs stab into my cheek. I make no effort to wipe them away. I'm too far gone for that. Each day, I feel crazier than the last. Each corpse along my road looks like dinner, prepared for me. I've eaten children, men, women, I've eaten well.
Their blood poisons me now. I can feel the death coursing through my old veins. I deserve death. I deserve no less then death for the shames I've committed. I deserve the gallows, the axe, the guillotine. But even that's too good for me. This road, this walk, this is my punishment. For all I've done. For all I will do.
My legs are weaker, I can feel the bones scratch against themselves with each step and the pain is almost unbearable. Almost. I've met a man on the road. I slit his throat while he slept, drank his blood. I've sinned again. Punishment is needed.
My legs have finally given out, it snapped from my foot up. I saw the inside of my shoe when I scraped out the coagulated blood with my fingernails. There was no flesh on the foot, only a crimson bone. I left the foot behind, on the trail, for others to fine. For others to consume. Even that thought makes me sick.
My arms are getting weaker, but the spiraling column is closer now. So close. I can smell it. It smells like... Roses.
Blood, blood everywhere! My arm, it broke off! I heard the snap and dared not move, for fear of it sliding off with nothing holding it but the tendrils of my veins. I tried setting myself down and it ripped itself free, blood spurted into my face, onto my beard painting it red. Only a single arm to get to the column.
So close. So close... I can see the door... and I can't even move. Just a bleeding, writhing, old man with no limbs. I can see all those I've killed, wronged. My mother, father, the people I've killed for their flesh. The man I murdered for his blood. I can see them all, each on moves forward to kiss me. To take away my breath.
I see myself coming now, maybe even my soul left me behind years ago and this is my punishment.
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