Michael L.

Final Dawning

The sun had set. The deep shadows obscured my cold eyes on that starless night. I walked along a trail through the woods behind the park. The autumn breeze turned up my collar, as the gentle rays of moonlight sent leaves to the ground one by one. I swept my chalky white fingers through my wavy black hair as I crossed the bridge. I gazed down into the stream, but could find no reflection in the cold murky water. The moon towered above me, perched at its zenith, and I was lost. Could I have stopped myself? Was it really so wrong?

The bells in the abandoned church tolled, and I knew then and there. It was
wrong. The soul of my closest friend had sunk into oblivion by my hand. Who would be next, my brother? A dove took flight mere inches from my face and flew past the church, directly east. She spread her wings wide, while she glided effortlessly toward the sun, as if beckoning me to stand before the mercy of the heavens. I turned my back on the church and made my way through the brush to the graveyard. Though I regretted the deed, I had no intention of begging divine forgiveness for my existence. The night waned, and my final hours slipped through my fingers like sand.  The dark end to my dim journey spread before me as I looked back on the road I’d been traveling all my life. The inevitability of my dawning tightened around my throat like a noose, wringing the energy from my will.

Bats hung from the roof of the mausoleum, returned from the night’s hunt: slaves of the sun, like me. I turned away; I could not bear it. I sat down and leaned against a headstone. A drop of blood rolled down my face from the corner of my mouth; I wiped it off with the back of my hand. He was dead, and it was my fault. His blood illuminated my skin, and I swore to myself that it would never happen again. The events of that night sketched out the course of my life as it was intended to unfold. I reclaimed control of my mind the only way I could. Fate was to be cheated.

The edge of the sky grew lighter as the sun inched closer to the horizon. For the first time, I watched the sky grow pink, and I started to cry. No soul would grieve over me; no man would remember the events that I prevented. I stood, faced east, and folded my arms across my chest, my fists clenched upon my shoulders. I let my body fall to the west, and spoke my final words: “I die unsung.” I never hit the ground. The first rays of the sun dashed my pale skin, and my mind was wiped blank, my body turned to stone.



Copyright 2002-2006 Student Publishing Program (SPP). Poetry and prose 2002-2006 by individual authors. Reprinted with permission. SPP developed and designed by Strong Bat Productions.