In Awe of Chaos

Jun 02

Plague Carrier

Act I

At mid-morning an outsider was seen stumbling towards the village gate
with the jerky, halting shuffle of someone whose every step was pained
The watchmen there saw that the man was in a hideously diseased state

and ran to him so that if he was contagious could be better ascertained

Warily keeping a few paces away, they curtly hallooed the stranger
but he answered not and limped on to the guards’ agape surprise
They then sternly asked if his sickness was an infectious danger
but the man just plodded on with a hazy obliviousness in his eyes

In a fevered stupor or not, his unwelcomeness still had to be conveyed
for he could transmit his affliction, and cause an outbreak’s devastation
and they could not, even by pity, from their duty to safeguard be swayed
Nearing the village entrance he made the watchmen fulfil their obligation
Assembling before him, each rested a palm on the handle of his blade
and their leader commanded him to stop or face a violent confrontation

The man, as they feared, kept moving towards their line, insensible to all
Clearly, they had to knock him down if they were to stop the dogged fool
One grabbed his scabbard to use as a bludgeon to force the man to fall

and came at him with it raised to strike a blow, not glad to be so cruel
A solid whack to the legs dropped the man, but yet onward he did crawl
The watchmen were astounded that he remained as stubborn as a mule

They could only watch in astonishment as on went his intractable advance
He was dragging himself between their legs, gaze still focused on his aim

The guards, uncertain what to do, offered each other a bewildered glance
Having got behind them, the man arose quickly for someone who was lame
Dropping the pretense, he bolted through the gate, seizing his brief chance 
and had already entered the village before the first watchmen could exclaim

The walkways were sparsely crowded because it was the sabbath day
but there were enough people walking around to suit the intruder’s needs
Each unfortunate person he encountered on the paths became his prey
as he rubbed his pustuled hands in their face in the most terrible of deeds
For he meant to infect all he could before the opportunity was taken away
as the vengeful guards would be very eager to see if this monster bleeds

The watchmen only stopped him after he’d subjected many to his pestilence
When cutting the evil madman down, no measure of mercy did they provide
It escaped notice when with brutality they compensated for their negligence
but heavy tears were streaming down the slain aggressor’s face as he died

Act II

The resulting village plague was as horrific as any the extant annals recorded
Though the disease persisted relatively briefly before it withdrew and passed,
it visited upon its victims the lifetimes worth of pain bubonic agony afforded
and, like hoarded spoils, into open graves deposited the corpses it amassed
The dead interred in earthen vaults were plunder which fate dutifully awarded;
gruesome currency paid to its assassin which in long, unkind eons stood fast

When the blight subsided, unafflicted villagers rejoiced in euphoric celebration,
On their knees they praised the heavens as they were overcome with ecstasy
They’d stayed pious and God spared them, inspiring their grovelling adulation
The elders, revered as wise and just, labelled the contagion ‘born of destiny’:
it was divine punishment against those heinous sinners worthy of damnation
By priests this account disseminated with their convincing rhetoric of zealotry

Reverent throngs sat nodding, mindlessly imbibing untruths at their pews
They stifled their shame so they could stomach this boldfaced deception

Mourn the lost or find asylum in lies? They had not the courage to choose
So they rejected the decision before their conscience could raise objection
The departed’s legacy they besmirched, which no extenuation may excuse,
but they were shielded from aching grief which was an invaluable protection  

A father spurned the gutless flock as for an immoral salve they did quest
Hearing them sing so fervently to avoid even thinking about their betrayal,
he reflected that for sordid relief their righteous instinct they’d repressed
They were so pitiably broken but he could only despise them without fail
for, no stronger than them, he’d still endure his anguish at duty’s behest
Grieving was a torment but it was due and proper, and not right to curtail

By visions of his dying daughter any mental quiet was soon replaced
She’d just begun walking when the plague inflicted on her a hellish end
As death approached, her spirit was by endless misery rapidly effaced
Catatonically dazed by pain, no sound or sight could she comprehend

In her mind she suffered alone as in her perception he was displaced
Sobbing, he’d comfort her, a heedless husk his love could never mend

When she could withstand no further ravage from the pestilent assault,
her life force depleted and she was even denied a peaceful expiration
A violent seizure preceded her last breaths and did only abruptly halt
as a vile slush of bloody vomit asphyxiated her in a final desecration

He buried her with haste as he couldn’t bear to look upon her remains
Her delicate, flawless flesh had been destroyed by monstrous corrosion
The plague targeted her pureness to ruthlessly defile in its filthy flames
Had she died unblemished, still immaculate she would be forever frozen

With his daughter gone, he had nothing for his wife perished giving birth
Now he’d get drunk and lightly drag a dagger’s blade across his chest,

contemplating that with one quick plunge he’d be freed from this earth,
and rejoin his beloved; his mind decreed he do it but his hand did protest

Unable to kill himself, he’d beckon death and then for it he would await
Packing reminders of his loved ones, he left his onetime family home
In the village, he saw its fools still sought the amnesia of the prostate
He ventured into the wilderness, a purgatorial plane he would roam
In its solitary seclusion, the reaper he’d tirelessly provoke and berate
He’d dare the great nothingness to erase him whilst he walked alone

Trudging along, he rested only when exhaustion brought his collapse
Often he wistfully studied his sacred mementos in a delirious trance
Though he taunted death, it didn’t come, didn’t fall for amateurish traps
It looked on amused, uninclined to oblige the wanderer of this expanse

Maybe time, disinterested master of all things, would grant him his repose
Soon enough, when very weak, he could do nothing but fall and not arise
He was pleased as this meant oblivion had his scent in its unworldly nose
So he lay envisioning a glorious reunion when his soul rose into the skies
His essence drained away and, to his delight, on came the deathly throes
He willed himself to fade faster, so eager for the rapture after his demise
For his lot was harrowing and he was infinitely glad to escape his woes
Elation illuminated his countenance as he succumbed and shut his eyes


As his eyelids flickered open once more, and he saw the familiar sky,
he was incredibly enraged, instinctively trying to let out an angry roar

but he found that though he willed his mouth to move, it wouldn’t comply
In fact, his mind’s commands could elicit his limbs to respond no more

As if controlled by some ghostly hand yanking hidden puppet strings,
he was compelled to sit up and look around, to discover his awful fate

He was marred by weeping boils and buboes which the plague brings
Seeing this, a maelstrom of fury arose inside him, one unlikely to abate,
for he realized that he would be forced to give the pestilence its wings
It had isolated him to use him as a carrier, and an outbreak he’d create

He fought it, but whatever power possessed his body rose it to its feet
and made it walk in the direction, he soon realized, of a nearby village

Trapped inside his rotting flesh, he’d spectate as the cycle did repeat
The plague was nature’s destructive agent and he would help it pillage
Nothing could be worse than this, than this process that he’d complete
All that he could do now was dwell on his daughter’s once angelic image

May 01

What they discovered, and what they lost

Those disused sewer tunnels which ringed the city outskirts round,
were billed by schoolyard miscreants as a worthy stomping ground
Long empty and neglected, they concealed a myriad of juvenile misdeeds
which these reprobates gleefully employed to satisfy acutely crude needs
This faction was well heeded when this asylum’s virtues they’d expound
for their counsel on creative delinquency had been precedently sound

Yet the three boys now assembled at the barred aperture’s rusting gate
were not likewise ruffians, and had only overheard those that were state
that this underground labyrinth, which promised the freedom of seclusion,
could be accessed if one only had the guts to proceed with the intrusion
For it was said that the puny padlocks which fastened close the gateway,
habitually replaced by some uncaring custodian thinking only of a payday,
could easily be smashed and bludgeoned off using a nearby heavy rock
‘Key’ was tauntingly graffitied on it for the pretense of security it did mock

The city’s administration knew these old sewers were a troublemakers’ den
but, with such nuisances off the street, would overlook this fact now and then
to buy a respite from their misbehavior and the complaints of their neighbours,
Plus, with them displaced, their wrongdoing escaped the notice of the papers

That evidently no one cared who ventured into this abandoned maze
had emboldened the teenaged trio caught in that adventurous phase   
which arises when suddenly summer vacation’s long and lazy days,
at first such rare and liberating prizes, find their novelty soon fades
Still they felt a scrupulous hesitance when standing at this entrance,
as many prohibitions against trespassing arose in their remembrance,
So, though ignored and plainly unenforced, the breaking of these laws
was a prospect which still inspired trepidation and gave them pause

As they stood in the weedy patch situated in front of the sewer’s entry
they fought their conscience’s dictates until feeling all the more intently
that urge towards rebellious independence which boys can feel so strongly
when thinking they’re denied some harmless entertainment rather wrongly
This sentiment swelled within their chests, overcoming lingering objections
and, newly resolute, they destroyed the gate’s clearly nominal protections

Cautiously venturing one by one into the tunnel’s menacingly gaping opening,
darkness swallowed them and they struck matches to aid their eyes in focusing
Their vision adapted and they forged ahead, soon compelled towards noticing
that the ground was, at this early point, densely carpeted by assorted garbage:
mostly bottles, wrappers and cigarette butts but as a very special garnish,
torn pages from glossy smutty magazines were here and there discarded
Kicking through this rubbish, they peered downwards and covertly regarded
these images of the female form which was so mysterious and uncharted
Once these treasures ceased, they rambled on, far from where they’d started
and upon seeing how far inward they had gone, they then grew faint-hearted

Striding on in silence and peering nervously beyond their flames’ paltry reach,
no one attempted conversation, afraid of any trembling present in their speech
Sheer bravado was all that pushed them forward, each unwilling to turn back
lest they betray a disgraceful yellow belly and with jibes be ruthlessly attacked

A full hour of wandering through this convoluted tunnel system now passed
as they traversed a web of snaking passageways that was bewilderingly vast
Knowing that finding their way out may eventually prove somewhat complicated
the boys were uneasy but, by the spooky location, also immensely fascinated
and wanted to sustain the gratifying thrill provided by their daring exploration
and, confident they each felt this way, basked in solidarity’s bolstering elation
There was little to engage their imagination though, for as they strode ever onward
they saw only grimy walls and rodent carcasses starvation had once conquered

At this point, boredom was rapidly setting in as ever aimlessly they still paced
The excitement of braving the sewers dwindled and each boy’s mind now raced,
thinking how to suggest that they ought to now quit their scouting and turn around
for they had roamed so far and what more could conceivably be gained or found?
As fate so enjoys preempting choice, it picked this moment for an awful revelation
One boy retrieved the last big box of matches, finding it empty to his consternation
Sharing his discovery with the other two, an aghast panic gripped them all very tight
Counting those they still had, they saw they had only enough for fifteen minutes’ light
Realizing the trouble they were now in, each keenly felt that paralyzing suffocation
which their claustrophobic frenzy caused, killing any impetus with exasperation
How damnably foolish they had been, out loud they all angrily collectively reflected
No one knew where they were adventuring; from all society they were disconnected
They faced this dire situation alone and, even worse, as fully isolated as is often deadly
Getting trapped down here like entombed rats was an outcome none of them did envy

In voices laced with dread they debated, resolving to retrace their footprint’s trail
fast enough to outrun their matches’ depletion and the onset of lightlessness’ veil  
So off they ran, stooping low to study exactly what the ground told of where they’d been
Though they’d sometimes tread lightly, meaning their boots’ imprints could not be seen
and frequently walked in circles which made their backtracking effort even more trying
They also had to protect their matchheads’ flames, which seemed quite intent on dying

As they hurried at a speed befitting their hysteria, each boy battled with mounting terror
To perish in this ghastly catacomb, blind and sick with hunger and interred here in error;
it would be enough to make any hardened evildoer shudder for it is a truly horrible demise
and, when any man encounters it, can decisively sever the most treasured of worldly ties

One boys’ father was stationed on the dark continent during the second great war,
and, long since returned, had related to his son a ditty verse from his troop’s lore:
When once we were charged by a savage hippopotamus,
well we sure turned tail quickly, kicking up a lot of dust
As we fled towards the camp we hollered and we cussed,
praying that it’d only eat the poor fellow running next to us!
These lines currently occupied his mind, and summarized what they all now thought
Swept up in fright and desperation, they saw their deaths and their families distraught
They wished dearly to elude this eventuality, even if here their companions must remain
It was a wretched impulse born of simple cowardice and their characters it did stain,
but knowing this, they felt it nonetheless, for even guiltiness couldn’t reverse this stance
as they would certainly abandon their friends if their chance to survive it might enhance

They had but a few matches left now, and were running at full pelt, delirious with fear
It was so hard to know whether the opening to the outside world was far or very near
They could do nothing but dart along with their eyes downcast, tracking their way out,
and pray to soon reacquire their lost freedom whose true value they had learned about

It was the beginning of the end when the lead boy let out a shout of overjoyed relief
as he scanned the ground underfoot and glimpsed that which earned his disbelief:
bare breasts on a crumpled magazine page, which he seized to show the other two
They shared in his infinite delight; that the home stretch approached they now knew
Setting the sheet alight to act as a makeshift torch, the trio used the litter as a guide
and shortly afterwards came across the looming opening which let them back outside

Bursting out of the gate, they bent over and panted from the exhaustion they’d incurred
They didn’t hug or cheer, too soberly ashamed to embrace or even speak a solitary word
For they realized that everything had changed and couldn’t help but show it on their face
When gravely endangered, each discovered they would gladly let a buddy take their place
Knowing this, and sensing the others knew it too, their friendship could never be the same
Though not to be acknowledged, an unsullied trusting bond they couldn’t possibly reclaim
Costly as it had been to do, they’d learned that self-preservation is always our first priority
When confronting the falling scythe, comradeship is an ideal deprived of all moral authority
All men must face the eternal truth that we all ultimately stand alone when fatefully imperiled
Being at the very cusp of early manhood, they wondered what this experience might herald
They would go on with a better understanding of human nature’s key animalistic mimicry:
with the beast’s endeavor to, at any cost, live another day we’ve such a remarkable affinity!

Apr 18

Nomad of the Endtimes

At long last I slowed and stopped, dropping to my knees,
aghast to be now divested of all my preceding strength
I gazed upon a distant mass of swaying cindered trees
and felt upon my cheek the sweltering dusty ‘breeze’
which was doggedly pursuing me with its putrid stench
of incinerated flesh at those dissipated lives’ expense
Still kneeling, I readied in my mind a myriad of pleas,
seeking answers for evils as undoubtedly were these,
with which I may petition the fates evidently displeased

Soon animated by an anger as irrepressible as it was fierce,
I peered upwards, into the very heavens my scrutinizing pierced,
and roared my pleading questions to an empty, heedless sky
which answered my desperate litany with an ever silent reply

Delirious as I was, I didn’t expect any retort from providence;
still I hated its maddening hush, upheld even now, even here,
when all consciousness dwindles, lent no means to persevere,
when extinction eyes humanity as final token of its dominance,
when oblivion inches ever closer, to make our world disappear
In a hostile, lifeless universe our spawning was so anomalous,
and yet we earned a foothold, began forging all our monuments,
but now disaster struck, making mausoleums of each metropolis
Our end much like our beginning: of no cosmological consequence

I thusly understood the full horror of our species fading away
Our merciless desolation really permits no one to be blamed
as destiny made mere puppets of those responsible for this day,
for the exact moment of our departure was always preordained
Nature will seize and rot our corpses, a great debt to it we’ll repay,
and time will crumble all we’ve ever built with patient, slow decay;
all signs of our presence will be erased, Earth belatedly reclaimed,
it’ll be as if we never existed, or once been fashioned from its clay

This epiphany pained me more than all my wounds together
Not only will we be dead, but omitted from all of history forever
A drowsiness came over me and I let myself fall onto my back
Faintly aware of pooling blood, I saw my tourniquet was slack
I’d traveled far, seen so much and here ended my endeavour

I lay in a newly mushy film of ashes staring at the stars up high,
which twinkled as they always have and as they also always will,
thinking could I be the last of us this airborne filth has yet to kill?
Unbuckling my filter mask, I flung it away, heaving out a heavy sigh,
I knew it mattered not, as my end drew near and I had had my fill
and duly earned the right to the quiet surrender I must now abide
Breathing deeply of the noxious air, and stifling an unseemly cry,
I contemplated how nothing truly changes when I have finally died

Jan 14

That Which Persists

It was an unmistakable forcefulness to the lights blinking out which signified the occurrence of a powerful and violent event. The bulbs didn’t flicker for a time and then fade, or even blink out instantly. They flared harshly brilliant for a fleeting moment, and then they unceremoniously died. With this, the room was yielded to a smothering dimness. Still, alarming as this otherwise might have been, it wasn’t that which frightened the little girl into growing insensible. It was fast approaching dusk but the final deluge of murky daylight streaming through the windows nonetheless lit the room well enough to see.

No, it was the sharply thunderous boom preceding the lighting’s failure which stunned Beryl into fearful paralysis. For some reason, it instantly flipped a switch inside her. A switch responsible for executing her psyche’s preferred defense mechanism in times of extreme stress: the deactivation of everything inessential and the preemptive withdrawal into the inner sanctum of her mind. The actual strength of the sound had diminished somewhat by the time it reached them, but it was still loud enough to convey an impression of its daunting closeness. Even being near enough to hear the distinctive report of an explosion is a chilling experience though, and rapidly induces the body’s natural responses to peril. There is perhaps nothing that can affect such quivering awe and aversion in a person as the awfully noisy byproduct of otherwise enduring things being forcibly undone. People intrinsically value structure and permanency; explosive force is the adversary of these things. To blow up is to rob something of meaningful form, to inflict nullity, which is an especially abhorrent doom to human beings, the animal kingdom’s preeminent existential narcissists.

Oddly enough, to Beryl the philosophy behind her horrified reaction was unimportant; all she knew was that she was wracked with visceral, if inarticulable, dread. The detonation’s penetrating rumble had just finished reverberating when a palpable wave of faint vibration rippled across the room, causing her hairs to stand on end even more rigidly. Beryl, still immobilized, experienced this encroaching shock wave as a tingling sensation passing through her; it was like the shuddersome exhalation of an approaching spectre of doom.

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Feb 09

You’ll find Alexandria when the Dawn Commeth (Chapter Three)

Chapter 3 - Things begin as you’d expect…

I shall now tell you, as succinctly as is possible, the story of my early life and the events leading up to my current dire predicament in order to effectively preface exactly how I came to be in this miserable and hopeless situation.

Any historian reading this need not trouble themselves too overly with the archival of its every detail for posterity, as most are without merit in that circumstance, for the only important purpose they have is to aid in the comprehension of the matter at hand, namely my untimely death via divine assassination.

My birthplace was also where I would spend my formative years: the thoroughly mundane Egyptian port city of Damietta.

The only family I would ever know was my beloved mother. She was tirelessly compassionate towards me, but also always sternly protective of her only son. Raising me alone, she had to grow tougher, to harden, to be able to properly protect me. There was an astounding duality to her motherly character: she was so gentle and caring when it came to our bond, but she became a ferocious lioness whenever her cub was somehow endangered. I foolishly didn’t realise it as a child, but my mother toiled and sacrificed endlessly to provide a decent life for me. The deep furrows etched into her visage illustrated the struggle she endured daily to ensure our continued livelihood. She would have done anything for me, and she always put me before herself: her maternal protection provides an immeasurable debt of gratitude which I can’t ever hope to repay in full.

When I was very young she was employed as a seamstress performing trivially menial and uninspired work for little pay. Eventually though, she utilised what little money she had managed to accrue as savings and went about embracing larger ambitions in the hopes of benefiting us both. She opened her own small stall at the local market and began selling rather avant-garde clothing of her own fabrication. Initially this tailor-cum-merchant venture met with little success - her creations initially being simply too unconventional for the small-minded folk of the area - but she kept at it, spreading the word however possible that her creations were radically different from the plain, derivative and homogenous offerings which abounded the competing outlets. Soon enough, her efforts paid off and she managed to ignite a new fashion and to establish a largely uncontested niche by meticulously ensuring that her products were consistently either attractively vogue or so ahead of the trend as to have a wildly pioneering appeal. The quality of her work far exceeded comparative pieces from the market’s merchantry, and this earned their vocal ire and disdain.

For a short while, she even attained some measure of local prestige for the unrivaled selection of textiles she had secured via exclusive import contracts with some of the trade ships which frequently docked at the city’s port, and for her truly remarkable talent at the tailor’s craft. Her name was first at hand whenever visiting seamen sought such services and so a fresh stream of customers were regularly directed her way. Over the years many wives were overjoyed at being gifted clothing of her making from their returning husbands, and thus her name spread beyond our city’s dreadfully insular gossip. At the zenith of her popularity and acclaim, various influential socialites throughout the region were well known to wear her attire, honouring my mother’s craftsmanship in a way that I know brought her a great deal of joyful pride. She had began simply humbly seeking some sort of recognition for her talent, and having achieved that so thoroughly, it was obvious that she was immensely proud of her accomplishment, and I was certainly proud that my mother could be counted amongst the few successful female entrepreneurs that our city had fostered. Though it must be said that this distinction earned her equal parts begrudging admiration and venomous envy.

I learned a great deal from my mother. I learned how to stubbornly pursue an ambition, no matter how formidable the opposition you face is. I learned that one person could defeat even massive odds stacked against them with enough planning, determination and fortitude. The most important thing I learned from her though, was that if you want something, you have to seize any and all opportunities to make it your own. Something she told me once that stuck with me was that anyone can have anything they want in this world, they just have to be willing to sacrifice everything else in order to do so.

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You’ll find Alexandria when the Dawn Commeth (Chapter Two)

Chapter Two - An apologia. The reasons are totally irrelevant; let me tell you the reasons.

Having quelled the enormous tide of sorrow building in his chest, and empathetically dabbing at the wet splotches on the parchment with a rag torn from his shirt, hoping to erase the evidence of his momentary weakness from this last record, he sat up straighter, and clenched his teeth in grim determination. Thoughts of the boat being upturned in the next moment and this last ditch attempt at committing his life to paper being made moot caused a fiery, defiant anger to spread throughout his mind. He realised, to his vigorous revivification, that he had to increase his pace, lest all this be for naught; his words would be dissolved and expunged, and their noble purpose be annulled, by the great obliterating force that is the engulfing sea.

The very first thing you must understand is that the woman I appear to glorify in the puerile fashion of an adolescent doting on a classroom crush is entirely worthy of every manner of idolisation I can muster, and more. I have never encountered anyone even remotely like her before. She is spectacularly extraordinary in every sense of the word.

The very instance she entered my life, I experienced something truly wonderful. As if my mind had been clouded with a thick swirling mist of obfuscation and at first sight of her, her image blew through this wretched fog like a powerful gust and displaced it in its entirety. To relate this life-changing phenomenon to someone who has never been in love is practically impossible I’m afraid, but if you’ve felt what I felt, you will know precisely what I refer to.

She was a beacon of blindingly brilliant light. In her awesome glow, I saw clearly for the first time. I saw my life with eyes anew, and I now had my first truly honourable ambition in trying to make her mine forever more. Juxtaposed with this upright gallantry, I realised just how meaninglessly frivolous my life had been before. The brief meeting with her imbued me with such startling clarity, I almost didn’t know what to do with myself; I was paralysed by the salient transparency everything had now adopted. I saw the truth of the matter with unignorable acuity: mine was previously a severely depressing way of life indeed. In fact, I realised, to my aghast horror, that my life was really only rendered as a continuous stream by nature of its successional chain of interconnected disappointments and failures. In hindsight, the many missed opportunities which can be attributed to its short span weren’t so much missed as they were evaded or rejected. This epiphany gave me another gift too: I knew, with ashamed conviction, that my shortcomings were so often of my own manufacture, and to artificially limit oneself like this, for the purpose of a more comfortable existence, is a reprehensible deed to behold.

I assure you that I myself find excessive self-pity repugnantly undignified, though I regularly made its fetid bog my wallowing grounds once upon a time, and so you need not fear its embarrassing occurrence in this chronicle. You also need not worry that I might exaggerate or conceal what really happened. Let me tell you, when your fledgling grasp on mortal existence becomes so apparent that you can practically see the sands of times whiling away before your terrified gaze, the impression you present of yourself is no longer of any especial importance to you, only that you accurately portray your life and times, in vivid moral ugliness and all. What good is an epitaphic testimony composed of lies? No, if it deems me at all noteworthy and thus opts to gift me the honour of its remembrance, I would have history’s immortal record depict me as the man I genuinely was. I was flawed. I was foolish. I was brashly flesh and blood. So often, I was intent on living hedonistically, surviving at any cost, and accruing scars and regrets as if commemorations of emboldenment, and wearing cavalier irreverence as if a flagrant emblem signifying my character.

I owe any forthcoming annals, should I be deemed worthy of entry into them, a brazenly authentic account of my dealings, and though I intend to be as boldly candid as possible I do not relish retelling and detailing the many ugly things I have done. Respectively, in the eyes of the law, in the gaze of the heavens, and the collective opinion of society, I have repeatedly and unapologetically done things that are unlawful, sinful and immoral. Some of these misdeeds were at the imperative of survivalism, and I generally feel no remorse for those instances; though, in hindsight, and in the interest of full disclosure, many of the dangerous scenarios I found myself needing to escape from were, for all intents and purposes, voluntarily entered into, because the miscreancy and wrongdoing involved in such choices were performed of my own volition.

Although, and perhaps foolishly, my soul rests somewhat easier on consideration of the fact that I have never actually purposely or directly killed a man in the course of my nefarious affairs. However, I must admit that there were definitely points when I would have done so, had it been a requisite of my continued survival, or, during particularly dark periods in my travels, had great potential profit been even its sole incentive. That being said, I have injured, even maimed, a handful of other men, always in self-defense, though sometimes preemptively so. Yet, once again, the theatrics behind each such episode of necessary violence were generally produced or induced by either my haughtily swashbuckling ways or my arrogant disregard for caution when I found myself in dangerous places among equally dangerous people.

Also, I have stolen from a truly countless multitude of my fellow countrymen and peers, and practically every single time having done so without reluctance beforehand or guilt afterwards. You might think that this apathy was simply due to me systematically suppressing the inherent feelings of contrition and remorse, but the truth is that there was actually no such emotional response for me to have to do so. I considered such offenses to be trivial infringements upon the liberty of others and so spared the consequences or moral repercussions no thought. This selective sociopathy proved mightily convenient in my criminal endeavours.

Beyond these transgressions, I have also committed a great many other offenses against my fellow man: I’ve deceived them, cheated them, betrayed them, et cetera. Out of some misplaced sense of honour, where possible, I consciously attempted to limit the targets of my roguery to those engaging in it themselves. Whilst this uniformly elicited a satisfying feeling of twisted righteousness, this unorthodox form of ethical recompense or atonement was a rarely enjoyed gratification as the majority of those I disadvantaged with my misdeeds were common folk. I would add though, maybe due to unwarranted pride, that I have always strived to adhere to an unwritten, indeed nebulously defined, personal code of conduct, the boundaries of which are not so easy to definitively identify but they have at least prevented me from ever inflicting serious misfortune or hardship upon the old, the infirm, and of course, children. Yet, I think that if I am to eventually be judged by a higher power, these weak conscientious scruples shall not be weighed too heavily as a token of redemption.

Whatever rationalizations I offer will invariably, and probably rightfully, seem as though childish excuses meant to exculpate myself of blame but I assure you that they are nothing of the sort, for they are merely intended as an elucidation of my motivations. Let it be said that I fully embrace my rightful accountability for an immoral existence forged by malevolence and mischief.

Nevertheless, my justifications and admissions of blameworthiness are largely unimportant to the story itself, and shall be saved, I think, for a far more severe and prejudiced adjudicator than you my friend.

Jan 28

You’ll find Alexandria when the Dawn Commeth (Chapter One)

Chapter One - The clarity and humility of predeath epistolary storytelling.

The flurry of rapid, staccato movements threw the illuminated dust motes orbiting the candle’s flickering, blinking flame into whirling eddies. So intent was his frenzied concentration however, that this peculiar phenomenon entirely escaped even the most minute diversion of attention. In the softly vivid and fluttering glow, the quill’s ragged feather deftly danced between the light and the shadows at the fevered behest of his mad scribbling. Having endured an unfortunately prolonged period of disuse and storage, its paltry plume had become sullied with soot and it speckled the unravelled scroll of coarse parchment with little dark blemishes when it shook and quivered during its rhythmic swaying.

A grubby ink bottle sat besides him, its label yellowed and curled, surrounded by a small pool of overflow from where his hurried dipping of the nib had unintentionally decanted some of the viscous liquid. Furthermore, the deck’s constant tilting and shifting every which way had induced the ink to duly flow away from its source in outwardly probing streams, and this produced the impression of a myriad of little miry tendrils venturing towards most every direction. As the bizarre formation slowly coagulated it began to resemble the black silhouette of a star peering past and around the pot with its inky sunbeams - until this composition was violently dissolved by a falling teardrop. Still, though this otherwise bothersome waste of ink initially evoked an instinctual pang of disconcertedness, it thereafter went flagrantly unheeded nonetheless. Usually, he would have expended great care so to preserve this precious amenity as his personal stockpile was painfully meagre and alternatives were particularly difficult to come by at sea. Yet, on this day, in this final desperate hour, his vehement focus was directed solely at what he was writing.

Still, what he was actually committing to that tautly stretched parchment bore only decidedly scant attempts at the expectantly utilitarian succinctness, for he could not rebuff the intrinsic urge of the dramatist’s embellishment, not even now - especially not now. He was certainly well aware of the overbearing urgency of his task, but also that it would likely be his last living act and his final opportunity to leave some sort of enduring mark on the world. If this writing was to be his concluding contribution to the humanity, he had quite a marked intention to ensure that it was very much deserving of more than mere relegation to the dustily unperturbed footnotes of history’s grand annals.

And so, what he was animatedly, carelessly scribing, with the intensity of a man knowingly hounded by death’s miserable and relentless trailing, was not simply an explanation or a goodbye, it was a means by which he would transmute his life, which would soon be banished to oblivion in its current form, into something that wouldn’t die: the grandiose immortality of the written word. The profound seriousness of this undertaking was definitely not lost on him, and it weighed very heavily on his already overtaxed mind as he set about attempting to derive his mortal essence into the words he hurriedly and erratically scrawled.

What he wrote was as follows:

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