#Nightgale Week 4 – Writing is Immortality

I signed up to do the #Nightgale challenge that Stevie McCoy of Glitterword has put together.

These will be 4 stories, posted over 4 weeks in January, a minimum word count of 200 words each.

The theme is immortality vs. mortality.

The prompt for week four is: Writing is Immmortality

But on the viewless wings of Poesy,
Though the dull brain perplexes and retarts:
Already with thee! Tender is the night,
And haply the Queen-Moon is on her throne . . .
~ Ode to a Nightingale, Keats

Also, just a note for clarification: the story from the first week is in no way connected to the last three weeks.  The last three weeks ARE connected, though, so read them all to understand what is going on 🙂

Week 1
Week 2
Week 3

Bloody Hands

It was done, and now there was a gaping wound that continually throbbed in his chest.  His wife had not understood his mood that night, and it was everything he could do to simply be present.  Every time he was saluted for the death of the last Rishka, his stomach knotted and it was everything he could do to not vomit.

Her blood was still splattered on his hands.

He had tried to be merciful, but he was head of the Kashtophim judges.  If he had not kept up the appearance of the execution, if anyone suspected for even a moment that he was sympathetic toward the Rishka, then he and his entire family would have been next.

Sachi! Her name was Sachi! He wanted to shout every time someone clapped him on the back for the glorious execution of the Rishka.

No one had asked her name.  Not in the prison, not in the trial, and not in the execution.  Now her name burned on his tongue as he fought to keep it silent.  No one would ever know it besides him.

The celebrations lasted through the night, but he was able to escape shortly after the witching hour.  Silence and darkness embraced each other as he made his way down the alleys of the city, retracing the steps that had brought his first encounter with Sachi.

It was an hour later when he found himself at the prison.  It was quiet and empty, all the prisoners having been pardoned because of the capture of the last Rishka.  Consequently, there were no guards, since it was now a celebration all across the land.

No one would think to look for him here.

There were two torches burning as he pushed open the doors, and he grabbed one.  His footsteps echoed down the hall as he walked cautiously to the cell he knew Sachi had been held in.  He had wanted to come to her that night, to look into her eyes and let her know that she had changed him.

Now he found that he couldn’t move.  He lingered just outside the cell door, both hating and absorbing the sensation of tears gathering in his eyes.

Since he had met Sachi, since she had bewitched him, the force of his emotions had taken him by surprise.

He knew what anger was, and jealousy, hate, envy.  He was familiar with them all.  But what Sachi made him feel . . . it felt good.  He couldn’t remember if he’d ever felt good before.

He’d never been in love before.

A single tear fell down his face, and he stepped into the cell.

The torchlight fell unevenly across the floor and walls, and his gaze landed on the pile of dirty straw in the corner.   He winced.  She’d been forced to sleep in that?

He forced back a sob, and turned slowly in the cell.  He’d never seen the inside of one before, and let himself truly soak it in.

Then, in the dim light, he noticed the stains covering the wall.  They were strangely even and uniform, but it wasn’t until he stood closer that he realized it was writing.

The stains on the wall matched the stains on his hands and clothing – blood.

Sachi had written on the walls with her own blood.

His heart began to pound as he realized that there was something of her left in this world, something he could cling to for just a little while longer.

He began to read.