Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Bands of Black

Short story - unfinished.

A few men are gathered round, cheering, regaling in plea and protest 
To be heard,  to be considered, to be addressed.
An armed military man mounts a pedestal right before them and says in gentle apologetic tones, both calm and deadly cold~ the following words:
“All of you ‘listen’ I have been ordered to shoot one of you so retreat at once. 
I have been ordered and I will shoot”.
The crowd turns round and I see their alarmed faces 
For suddenly I am among them 
But unlike them I am seated and their large stature surrounds me
White shirts and loose trousers hiding me from sight
But my knee covered in blue, showing through, 
I tremble. 
We all remain still, frozen for a moment in time but the trembling takes over and whether it is I who rise uncontrollably or whether it is sheer gush of heightened emotion that shoves me forth ~ over I go and over I stumble. 
A shot is fired, I am still alive.
image: 'homage to the Egyptian revolution' by Bassem Yousri
I see only the legs of the crowd hurtling themselves towards the gunman, covering me, cloaking my numbed contours and I believe I am suddenly deaf for gunfire is the only sound i remember.
I look up and the lone soldier and his gun is no longer alone. His comrades in arms all take aim but with little to shoot at for around me there is a deep pool of blood and nothing much more.

The soldier was true to his warning yet his was the only gun
Amongst short-sleeved unarmed arms 
Waving for an end to despair
For a beginning to hope.

Perhaps the soldier need not voice a warning next time. 
Perhaps he never had.
Perhaps we heard his thoughts which he dared not utter 
Lest they become actions to be accounted for.

Perhaps the pool of blood will not dry out. 
Perhaps the red paint depicting scenes of a brighter future 
Uses that as its palette.

Perhaps black bands will turn white 
Once the sun shines upon them.

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