“these tender bones”

— excerpt from Martuk … The Holy

The King’s eyes snapped open.

“Do you see me?” came the whisper.

The boy stopped, carefully backing away.

“Do you see me?” the King asked again, louder.

The boy nodded his head.

“What is it you see? Do you see me?”

The boy remained silent. Afraid to move. Afraid to breathe.

“Do you see my glory? My perfection? My power? Do your eyes see a god?”

Sitting up, he reached out and grabbed the boy by the throat, dragging him close.

“Do your eyes see a god?” he asked, pressing his lips to the boy’s face, smearing the soft brown skin with streaks of red.

“You, you are flesh and bone,” he whispered, his nose buried in the smooth cheek, inhaling deeply. “Yes, just flesh and bone. Nothing special. Nothing sacred or glorious. There is no god living here. You are expendable and soon forgotten.

“Do you know this? Understand this? Do you see how small, how insignificant you are?”

His hand tightened on the slender, delicate span of neck, the child’s face blushing red as he struggled to breathe.

“Who will miss you when you’re gone? When your dead flesh has been torn, devoured by dogs? Your eyeballs pecked and plucked out by birds? Who will miss these tender bones when they’re nothing but little piles of dust? Who?”

The boy’s flushed cheeks were now wet with tears. A thin stream of drool fell from his swelling lips, then, sliding off his chin and staining the hand of the monster choking the life from him.

“I am a God,” he continued. “I can never die. I can never falter. Never stumble. Were I to fall, the sun would go out, the crops would wither. The world would end. Just end. And humanity, these subjects, these grateful, ignorant, stupid masses who bless my name, they would perish. They would die.

“But they do not see me, a God in agony, trapped in this prison of blood and bones. All they see is power. And were I to be set free from this, this place, this body, this pain, this mediocrity, I would be mourned. I would be missed.”

He pressed his bleeding flesh to the dying boy.

“No one will mourn you. You are human. Mortal. Useless. You don’t carry the burden of greatness. You do not sit in the Heavens. You can leave your skin and forget your bones. You can find eternal rest in the Fog.

“But me?” His voice rose. “I cannot!”

He struggled to stand, lifting the boy by the throat. The tiny feet kicking frantically as his eyes rolled back in his head, small brown hands clutching the King’s wrists in vain.

“You can die! You have freedom! You have peace! You are not trapped!” he shouted at the dying boy, his hands gripping the neck, blood rolling from the boy’s ears and mouth, rivers of red staining his cheeks.

“You are not trapped!”

I felt sick to my stomach watching this. But I couldn’t look away. And I couldn’t help but wonder Why aren’t they doing anything? Helping him? Stopping this?!

“I am God,” the King then whispered, his lips inches from the boy. “I can steal your soul. Eat you. Swallow you.”

And then he kissed him …

One comment on ““these tender bones”

  1. […] these tender bones from Martuk … The Holy […]

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