The Council

The Council

  I stood in the door way as Count Dreygon lit the candles. His long neck stretching over the wax hugged wicks. Lifting a match so carefully as not to disturb the flame even the slightest. It was odd, how he wished us to be in silence the moment we reached this cathedral like structure.

 Our conversation prior had extended from his stead to the very entrance of the building. Before we entered, he turned from the door way placing his index finger upon his lips in gesture to keep silent. I had no reason to not agree nor be concerned. As I had agreed to meet those that had helped him to obtain a position among the council.

 His mentors, I was told. And I, one with ambition to be a part of the council was willing to do as Count Dreygon asked. So my ambition and curiosity have drove me to this very chapter of my life. 

 As I stand in the doorway, a draft of wind soars into the building with what feels like the need to be noticed. The wind is strong enough to force my jacket to ripple. I quickly turn to shut the door and once I do I turn back to Count Dreygon and there he stands. 
  His conniving eyes of midnight glare upon me with disapproval, as the flames of the candles are bent to the winds will. I quickly shun myself with a face lathered in an apologetic sense as the door latches shut. My shoulders slightly shrugged in submission to Count Dreygon.

 The last thing I want to do his lose the company of Count Dreygon. As unsightly as he is and as dreadful a personality he carries. He is the key to my success to gaining a seat at the council. We may not share every view congruently. But we assuredly both want one thing in common. 

 And that, is too keep all others unalike from our seats. We neither wish, nor want any others of another party to settle upon our chairs. We have fought hard, most definitely crookedly, but we fought none the less. 

 And for the right reasons. For without people like Count Dreygon or the others. Who would bring the gifting of such wealth. Such abundance upon its people? We know well as we have been educated and brought from the shelters of politics. 

 We are as you could say, the rightful owners of such. We give our people roam of their will as we give roam to beasts in the jungle. But we do not allow them truth, but we do allow them their truth, our truth, for truth is but a bitter flavor upon the tongue and only drudges the people in self animosity.  Truth is merely subjective depending on where one stands. Truth shows the blood beneath the nails and no none want to be viewed in such. 

 So it is our duty to keep veiled the people. For we are the real truth, we follow the rights of our hearts. The feelings of our souls, for no man should be bound to the legislation of law unless they wish to. But yet, we must have law to an extent, laws that abide to all that keep us all in line. Sheep, and we are the shepherds. 

 People of poverty know of no such understanding. They have beard no stress of legislative duties. They have never carried ink across curling scrolls as we have. The burden of such is great and so we do our best to make such ink a parent to the weak. We wish them not to wonder without parental advisory. 

 We are the virtue that needs to be upon this land. We shall make it so! 

 Count Dreygon, his back arched at such a height casts a ghastly shadow upon the wall. I look to it as he reaches out to draw me in. His shadowed arm tethers like a demons, its claws, skin taught, and bones visible. 

 But in my slight of fear I jolt my eyes back to the Count and follow the command of  his wish. I follow him past the candles on our right as we make way down this chilled hall. Pillars of light grey, like smoke, grasp to the ceiling with formidable presence of power. 

 Every twenty feet is a pillar as wide as five barrels of whiskey. They stand to at least fifty feet high. They form to an arch, connecting to each other in the middle embraced by large sculpted hands. As if the pillars are the dead reaching from graves. 

 My eyes are dawned in such detail as I look about. The chilled hall comes to an end. We reach a door, a single door. No wider than two people side by side. Above it hangs the sculpted head of a goat with a chiseled necklace around its neck. 

 Its too high up to catch the detail. But the goats mouth hangs open with a small hand extending from where its tongue would be. It has two horns that curl from its head for a foot or two. I pay it no mind as my heart is anxious to meet those who will hopefully welcome me. 

 Count Dreygon places his aged hand upon the metal ring of the door. He pulls with all his strength and as he does, a gust of wind shrills from the other side like shrieks of ghosts. A ghastly feeling overcomes my body. A quick shiver overtakes me. 

 Count Dreygon sees my cold shiver and with his tight curdling voice he asks, "Are you okay Simon?" While he remains motionless with his hand still gripped to the door as if I respond contradictory to what he wants to hear, he shall shut me out. 

 So I look to him with confidence and respond, "Yes Count Dreygon, I am quite alright." I nod my head to affirm my answer.

 Count Dreygon, pulling the door open, "Very well, you may enter...after you." He presents his hand before the opened door as to welcome me.

 I look through the entrance and I see nothing but pitch. A darkness so dark that not even sound could penetrate. I look at Count Dreygon and make my way passed him and enter into the pitch. As I do, I hear the closing of the door behind me.

 I swing around to look but I see nothing. Not even a splinter of light breaks from the door. Then, I feel a hand settle upon my shoulder and a whisper in my ear, "No need to be frightened Simon. It is merely show to see if you are worthy. We don't care for those that reject the darkness." 

 Lightly startled, "Oh, it is you Count Dreygon." A quiet sigh of relief rises from my chest.

 Count Dreygon keeps his hand upon my shoulder and guides me through the darkness. I can feel his breath fall upon the back of my neck. A very unwelcome moisture from his breath settles upon my skin. I do my best to ignore it. 

 As we walk deeper into the pitch I begin to hear voices. Soft whispers speaking on both sides of us. I do my best to listen carefully to them, but I cannot make out what they say. The voices sound of foreign language. They are all speaking in unison, as if muttering an incantation as if a witch.

  The further we go the louder the whispers become and the colder I begin to feel. Walking I start to feel my hands become frigid, as if I am outside. I clasp them together to keep warm. I try to speak to Count Dreygon, "Count wha..." 

 "Shhh, quiet Simon. We mustn't disturb the council." Whispers Count Dreygon as he places both hands upon my shoulders. A hand of seconds go by and suddenly rows of torches appear from either side of us. Faces beneath each and every single one is whispering along side the others. Chills begin to trickle down my spine. 

 I can feel my breath form into vapor. I become a little worrisome but reassure myself what I shall gain from this. We then stop only moments later and the grasp of Count Dreygon dissipates. I can feel I am left alone among this chilling darkness. 

 A voice then calls out, a deep bass in the form of a hymn. As if the voice is calling out for a response like a bird. The voice then grows to a steady pitch and is then accompanied by a flock of voices. Each mimicking the first tone.

 I remain still as my heart beat begins to race. I feel like a caged animal, helpless and with no sight. I am then welcomed by a glowing light from across the darkness. And then another light grows to my right then my left, behind me, lights at six different points begin to glow.

 They light up the once dark space with flames. I am quickly relieved of any worry and around me sits the council. I am standing in the middle of the council. Their forty-two seats, on three rows stacked around me in a circle. 

 I smile with elation as I am surrounded by such power. Such virtue I can feel myself be lifted to the sky. I feel as if I am miracle birthed into such wonder. I spin around slowly as my smile generates fire within me. 

 The council stairs upon me with judging eyes, but I welcome them. Let them pierce me to my very core, let them ask what ever they may. I shall kneel before them and show them my great devotion. I would gladly peel my skin my from bones if they ask if it shall grant be leadership among their seat.

 And as I swell my ego in their presence I become motionless as I see an empty seat. I see a barren throne waiting for me. I see myself coated in a position of greatness as a crown of gold sits atop my head. 

  And there, next to my empty seat, my throne, sits Count Dreygon. He sits tallest among them all. I can't help but smile upon the graces of Count Dreygon. But he does not smile back and so I remove my smile. I stand firm with a face ready for battle. 
 And from all the silence a voice rings out. "Is this your nominee Count Dreygon?"

 Count Dreygon, "Yes Lord Cide"

 Lord Cide, with her hair pulled tightly back and her face appearing as if she pinned her loose skin in desperate attempt to falsify her age, "Very well, we shall begin, ask what you may but as always, if he passes the questions but not the trial, then he shall not be accepted....does the council understand?"

 A resounding "understood" is echoed from the entire council. Goose bumps percolate from my body from their divine response. I quiver with such ecstasy as I am granted one step closer to throne. 

 And without warning I am tossed into questioning like a hound tossed into a fight. I bare my teeth but the do not let up. My bark brings them no fear and my attacks are worthy but do not scathe the armor of the council. 

 I am formidable but am but a newborn beneath their guise. But I sunder enough strength to with hold the hours of questioning. I am consumed in the anxious worry of faltering but give myself no inch to quit. 

 And just I am growing inconceivably tired they cease the questioning. Lord Cide takes up the gavel and slams it upon the oak counter. It resonates with such command, I revel in its ability to silence us all. 

 A smirk escapes me as I remain silent in the presence of these fine kings. I am then presented with more trial, a trial I have never heard of nor dare thought such exists. Lord Cide stands from her chair as she is supported by her companions, each with faces of clear groveling resentment. 

 But none the less, they hold her and from her scratching throat she says, "Bring on the sacrifice, we must see if he be as worthy as he speaks." 

 She is then carefully helped to her seat. She sits as her head droops to her chin. Her bones are weak along side her body. It is only a matter of time before her seat is up for grabs. And if I can be the sword, I can surely cut my way there in no time. And then, I can be the one to show them how to truly operate such cogs. 

 Standing still in the middle of the council a distant sound of rumbling. Like a cart pushed against stone reverberates from an opening between the gaping circle of the council.
 And from it a man dressed in white is pushing a cart just as I thought. And upon is a sheet with a large round bulge beneath it. A mound the size a small boulder. 

  The man pushes the cart up to me, his face is dead, an emotionless vessel with eyes deeper than the caverns of earth. He gives no words to me but hands me two utensils or, rather tools.
  He hands me steel tongs and a very small shovel like tool with both edges sharp enough to cut flesh if one wished. Receiving the items the man leaves but not before removing the sheet from the cart. And from the removal of the sheet the contents upon the cart is revealed. 

  And upon the cart lays a woman no older than twenty-eight. And I can see that she is not alone. Her belly is protruding as it may when one is pregnant. Holding the tools in my hands I look about the council with slight mortification. 

 I am unaware of what my purpose is in the moment. The air is cold and my body is beginning to feel the briskness. The council, seating silence for a moment as one yells out, "Look, his face is petrified, he's beginning to tremble he is no councilmen." 

 I spin to the perpetrator of the words. But before I can they are settled in their seat and as motionless as the next. Blending in like tombstones among tombstones. And as I start to worry more and slight tremble crawls to my knees. 

 Up stands Count Dryegon and with reassuring confidence, "Simon, do not be what they think you are, be what I believe you are. You are as suitable as these chairs as another that sits before you."

 Count Dreygon sits down and the council begins mumbling among each other like a class of children. I am then presented with instruction from a gentlemen about my age. His hair short like mine, he wears clothes of a politician and says with no reluctance, 

"This woman before you is pregnant as you can see. But she does not wish to bear it to full term. It is but a baring on her body and mind. She has no finance to birth it a good life and her suitor was no more than a midnight fling. She has granted us the power to remove said such a burden and we wish you to be the one to grant her, her life back. " He sits back down and says, "proceed, you may you those tools in your hand as you wish there are books before you that show you the procedure. You have exactly one hour to complete said task. If you wish not to do it, leave now. If you wish to proceed please, continue."

 I begin to think in my head as I stare at the girl who is clearly drugged and can understand no more of this than I. I look to the tools in my hands, their cold bodies held in my clammy hands. My hands become shivering wastes of grip. 

 I turn to look at Count Dreygon, he nods and I nod back. I then step to the woman and stand between her legs. I look at her belly and back to her thighs. I then look about the council and bask in my thought of ruling. 

 I inch the tools toward the cavity of the woman but as I reach my stomach begins to churn. I place the tools down carefully and reach for the medical books on the shelf beneath the cart. Pages to the procedure are already marked with tabs. I open them and as I do there are no pictures only words. The pictures have been removed. Cut out with clear precision. 

 I then begin to read. As I do I become more sickened in my stomach. I can't help but see the possible life as I see my possible throne, my rule of kingdom. But is that as worthy as the child that lay dormant inside this woman? If her current suffering worthy of the severing of her child? 

 Could she not have been the fool to her flesh and kept to her own? Just as the man whom sought her, been a man and stood to his decision. Why are we placing ourselves above the future, what right do we have to slaughter all in the name of poorly planned living? 

 As I stand looking to the book and questioning this moment, I look about the council. Each with eyes of a void. Some, their eyes are so shallow you can see the filth that sits upon them like oil in a puddle. Some I can see shiver in fear for if they run, I can only imagine the horrors for them. 

 Will I be met with horror if I live? Surely the child will be met with horrors either way but maybe not. Maybe I can do something different? For no future should be met with tools of murder for the sake of human interactions. 

 So, with what is left of my hollow body. I place down the book, walk to the head of girl and with no words I begin to push her toward the exit. The council becomes instantly raged, they scream and shout. They curse me, they blare obscenities I have never heard. And even Count Dreygon is shriveled at my choice and slays me with horrible utterances. 

 But neither I nor them were friends and neither ever will be. I, them, are but hungry spirits only to posses fame and power. The ink is what we wish and nothing more. And we shall do what ever it takes to get it. 

 This act I commit now may not resolve me of my wrongs. But I pray it will relieve me of myself. And as I push the girl out the door there is nothing but the out rage of the council echoing through the draft halls.
 Leaving the councils cathedral I remove the girl from the cart and carry her to the nearest hospital. They care for her and mend her to health. I was told she gave the child up for adoption and found herself in a new steady job. 

 But as I suspected, there is no escape from the council. For the past three months there have been men following me. They follow me from my home, to work, and to any stops I may have in between. And now, I am beginning to fear they know that I know. 

 Any day now they shall either rid me from existence or hold me captive till I am forgotten and rot as any prisoner of rape would. And today I think is that day, for today I am met with a strange madness. I tingling in my mind that I cannot explain. I stopped at my usual cafe for coffee and there was a new gentleman serving. 

 But I thought nothing of it. Now, I have the urge to end it, to leave it all alone. A heavy sadness has swelled my chest but I do not know why. For I have taken up the well of kindness and have greatly changed my efforts of my action and character. 

 I must leave now, I can feel myself wishing to escape my own skin. What is this miserable feeling? I stand at the corner of the cafe, waiting for the carriages to pass by. But I can't take it anymore and suddenly I am drawn to great depression. A melancholy of voices crowd my head.

  And with no sense I step into the street and lay before the passing carriage and with no warning I am trampled by its horses and ran over by the wheels. The cracking of my ribs is felt and all my body is consumed in excruciating pain.

 The carriage passes over. The driver dismounts to check upon me as well as a younger gentleman, a little younger than me. Steps over to me, kneels down, places something in my pocket and whispers. 

 "You should have saved that woman from her suffering." 

 And as I lay helpless in the road doctors and police approach. Blood curdles from my throat as I begin to choke. I can feel there is no hope. The lights dim and my body begins to feel of no pain and at the last few minutes I hear a voice of woman, "That's the man who saved my baby." 

 I smile as I her voice drowns to my death. 

   Three weeks later, news paper headlines read, 

 "An old council nominee found dead in street from suicide

        Dr. Simon Richmond, committed suicide on December 24th 1901. The police had found a known concoction used often by the severely depressed to help them end their life. There was a letter of suicide, which cannot be read do to its graphic nature and obscene vocabulary. He has no known wife or girlfriend and was one of the highest nominated for a new seat among the council." 
If we don't consider life at the start then when will life ever count?

We are often followers of mass for there is more acceptance of surrender.

A Man's Traveled Heart
Coming soon, The Bleeding of Words

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