Well it looks like this is the end of the line. I’m rolling down the steps now, and the whole world is spinning around me. I can even hear the sputtering coming from my neck a ways off; back at the guillotine. It must have been comical for the crowd when my head bounced off the rim of the basket and down the steps—I could vaguely make out the bubbling laughter the exhibited as I bounced and turned wildly.
But here I am now, sitting—can we even call it sitting if I can’t take a seat?—as a dismembered head, looking out over the horizon. It was a kindness of them to remove the weight of my shoulders on such a lovely day. The sun was just starting to set, and the bright orange of the clouds hadn’t quite turned that lovely hue of pink yet. The air was cool, but not cold, and the wind was just light enough to be pleasant.
It reminded me of the days with my mother, out on the fields before all of this happened. Those were they days when things felt so much simpler. I could go out running, away from all the noise and struggles. My mother worked so hard then, though at that time I hadn’t a clue. I wonder what she would think of me if she saw me now.
Flash forward a dozen years, when I set off. That was the last time I saw her. Her age was finally starting to shine through, but I was dead set on making my life what I wanted it to be. Not ten miles out from my home I found a woman, about my age, with long blonde hair and a proud smile. She accompanied me for a while.
Another dozen years flew by, and I saw myself grow into a hardened criminal. The thin beard of my previous visions had grown rustic and gruff. Life had not gone my way. I had been forced to steal and pillage to make a living, and in my own way, I found success. I had gained notoriety, and the crown had placed a bounty on my head. In turn, I burned down their capital building and stole their princess. She was returned without a scratch—I’m not a monster—but only after they had exhausted their vast wealth looking for her.
Then at fifty, things began to change. I watched my limbs grown thin and my heart grown darker. I nearly lost my first fight then, to a younger, heartier lad, and I only won because I played dirty. When he pinned me, I spit in his eye and stuck him with my knife, then cut my own belly and swapped the knife to his hand, to make it look like, in self-defense, I had managed to kill him with his own knife. He bled out groveling in pain. But the damage had been done. I realized time was not on my side, nor was it on the side of any living being, and I went back to see my home.
They had left it abandoned, and I took up residence for a time there. I grew fatter, and for a time I like to think that I was happy. Until one day, the corporal found out just who I was, and they took my in. By that time, I was too brittle to put up a fight.
And here I am now, stretching out the last moments of my life, just to watch the sun set one last time. That was my mother’s favorite time of the day, but it looks like I’m not going to get to see the sun fall behind the mountains this time. My vision is already growing hazy, and I can hardly manage the strength to keep my eyes open. At least now, maybe, I will get the time for some rest.
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