Too many months of cold dark… there’s water dripping but he can’t see it. The chill is familiar, it hides in his bones. The smell of old water lingers and curls, threading down the hacked stone and collecting somewhere behind the shadow. This is the price you pay. This is the price you pay. The words ring hollow but not empty. The man in the suit said them so they must be true.

K. shivers and clutches at his threadbare blanket. Every muscle aches, every pore cries for something that isn’t there. The tremors can’t be ignored. His brain tells his limbs to move when there’s no operant stimulus, no tangible goal, and he wonders if it will get worse. His belly’s on fire and sleep seems so far away. What time is it out there he wonders, is there still a sun? What happened to everyone else. The man in the suit says they’re dead, but he can’t be telling the truth. It was never about the man in the suit or his fellow-travelers. What was it about K. wonders.

No voices for almost a week. At least it seems like it’s been a week. Hard to tell. The meal tray comes and there’s scant nourishment for another lightless day. The panic comes slowly and imperceptibly. Washington, 1789-1797, Adams I 1797-1801, Jefferson, 1801-1809, Madison, 1809-1817… As long as there are names and dates, they were real. The man in the suit said that names and dates are as fickle as the wind, but he has a name and a date somewhere, and even if they change it later, on his deathbed wheezing and small, he’ll know the terminus.

He crouches down on the frozen stone and thinks about explosions and shattering, the stillborn dream of justice and the wasted blood. There should be anger, but it ebbed away long ago. Maybe all that remains is defiance for its own sake. I have no other weapons.

~ by Benji on March 28, 2009.

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