Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Final Vision

They were escorting him to his execution. His sentence: death by firing squad. As they led him along the narrow path overlooking the sea, I was with them, following at a distance of only a few paces. We were winding up a rocky, mountainous coastline somewhere in the tropics of the Pacific. The path was ill-kept, strewn with large, loose stones, though not terrifyingly narrow. A few hundred feet ahead, it curved upward and to the left, out of sight. To the right and ahead, the sea was rolling, treacherously below us, and growing placid toward the edges of vision. The man was asking about his wife, who had also been led around the side of this mountain, to be released. He wanted to know if she would be safe and cared for after his death. His two captors paused, and one spoke.

"We led her along this very path toward the town. She walked very slowly and gracefully, stepping sweetly over the rocks as if afraid to damage them. Then, by that bend just ahead, she stopped, and gazed lovingly out over the water. She was smiling, and the wind in her dress revealed the gentle curves of her body. I told her, "You are beautiful."

- The captive's eyes grew bright with memory. -

"She inhaled slightly, and as her breast rose, I pushed her as hard as I could."

As he finished saying this, he puts his hands on the man's shoulders and shoved.

At that moment, I was suddenly hundreds of feet away, watching from atop a cliff across the rushing strait.

The man emitted a loud "EEEYEH!!" as his body tipped downward and began its rapid descent. I was inside his mind, and saw his wife as she fell, and the words "You are beautiful" hung heavily in the salty air.

From across the water, he looked so small. His voice continued to echo, bouncing between the cliffs, long after his body had come to rest on the rocks below. The rough waves washed him clean.

A few minutes later, a man appeared with a shovel, to clear away the pieces. First the head, and then the limp body and limbs were fed into the water.

I stared across the straight, searching the path for the two executioners. I found them far to my left, heading back down the mountain in the direction from which we had come.

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