Tell A Tale — Gothic Fiction
The Cut By Oliver Laxton
I had seen past Winter when I heard his name. I had passed through my Spring, left behind my Summer, and alone anguished in my Autumn. My winter had come; age - masked as some marsh sickness. I had been quite at peace when he raised me. The Drachii: that had been the name that I had heard through my echoing bones; made cold by that foul winters air. I had made peace with my loneliness. That sallow-flat coast had been my unwelcome home. I should have stayed resting there in that cut-off place. I should have waited for my ferryman. I should have met the Imperator made divine and kissed him for his kindness, made love to him in thanks for his punishment. Can you blame a dead man for walking?
Revenge made animate; that was his nature. A soul made apart from its heart. Forged in its own afeard state. Like me. Cut from his kind; left apart from those that he had loved and longed for. Like me, forged in wroth and foul power, he stood - like me - dead. But where I had fallen in anger and rose in fear. He had risen in vengeance. In evil. His had been the thirteenth where mine had been the first, yet in each - we knew the name tyrant.
We walked an age, making our crossings carefully, we walked the seas and lands. We sustained each-other. My poet's arms had grown weak, but in foul perversion, this rotting carcass was strong. I dragged them screaming, each one begging. Each one a Summers flower, plucked before their Autumns seed. The light of what he did was darkness. Illuminating his actions in the veil of his chambers. The red of there blood drained. I alone saw the black run over every province town I had ever known. Yet still, his vengeance was unquenched. From Lucus to Lentia we made our dreadful tally. He told me once “One for each that was taken, not more, not less. One for each.” and so we had; of every class, kind, and trade, we had taken. For Komozoi we took Helena’s son - the Roman. His purple blood made sallow wine of sustenance. For Zia, we had the wife of the Jupiter of the Alps. The Burgundii had not wept his wife. Alone she had been left amongst the frozen peaks. For the boys Petipor and Cotys, we killed the Gracious sires; the Imperator at twelve and his playmate, the General of nine. They had known not life, and so waited patiently for their boatman, shock - but not afraid.
The last had died in Tomis, his last winter finally come. A boatman long left waiting by that rivers shore. The Drachii had rested payment in each socket as requested. The gold of glinting eyes thanked him back. A single tear was wept. The cold embrace made warm, by the fire of the given act. Avenged, a million eyelids resting. The black tail stretching ages; a book truly shut.
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