The Dying Body Chronicles 12: The Great Crime

Let me begin at the end, where the resolution is, where conflict has passed & earth has again found its axis. Let me begin when the hero wanders away into the twilight, finished with the war but weary of the world. It is where catharsis lies. Why waste time with the dialogue, the discovery of the horror, the battle to regain civility, the petty disputes, the grand war? Why not just get to what you all came for, that moment where everything finally makes sense, where the tears flow freely?


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So from the end we begin. The hero wanders into the twilight. The moon is just rising. The sun is just setting. The earth is quiet as a bird wings across the sea. His body is weary with too many burdens. He has just added another one. He has killed his nemesis, the god of chaos. He drags his sword, Vanquisher, on the tar leaving furrows in the soft macadam.

Behind our hero, crows and vultures are eating their fill. The standards of other less fortunate heroes flap the sigils of dead houses in the early evening. Some groans still struggle out of the rust, the gore, the sweet grass beaten under the foot of men and otherworldly animals. The air still reeks of sweat, shit and blood. The raw anger and fear that held together the men and women as they fought to the end for their lands have since fled into the sword, Vanquisher. Some of the men and women still had their eyes watching the sky for the divine intervention they had prayed for but our hero was thorough in his victory.

The people had gathered at the rising of the sun a week before. A whole of city emptied to wage war against one man. They accused him of crimes terrible indeed. He had walked naked on the streets. He had urinated in public. He had sneezed without covering his mouth. These were grievous accusations. But we know our hero. We know he is a man of integrity. Did he not say a thing and did it? Did he not promise us a lot of things? Does it matter that he did not deliver on any of his promises?

Anyway, the people heard that he was coming back to town after disappearing for years. They did not want any nudity on their streets, so they came out to stop him from entering his home. How dare they? He who had gone to represent them at the capital. They would deny him succour? He was returning to grieve the passing of his dog, a faithful companion of eight years. How dare they?

Our hero's sword was swifter than the city's justice. His anger burnt brighter than the people's weariness. And in that little moment, that space where every petty transgression could have been forgiven, they cursed his mother and my dear friend, thus the massacre began.

How much can the sun tell of a dying that lasted for one week? How much can the moon tell of how lives were lived before that horrific week began? They lived in their perfect city. Their world was clean and green. Their children were educated and well fed. Their men never strayed or drank. Their women never cried under the fist of a beast. It was a perfect city until our hero came.

Who was this man rising out of the bowels of the sea, half dead and naked, all memory of his life forgotten? Who is this man and this sword lying on our beach? Who is he? No one could answer the questions even unto the day they lay dying from his sword wounds. What was known was that he rose from his stupor one day, worked quietly in the city, fell in love with a girl and when she died from the pandemic that ripped through the city several years ago, he lost his head. What was known was that he started sharpening his sword and looking faraway then started disappearing for months on end only to return worse than before.

Who was this girl? Was her death the reason why he changed or was the madness lurking behind his smiles and genial attitude? You should know her, the slender daughter of the shoemaker down at the Epilogue street. Yes, his only child. Yes, she befriended him, a girl with few friends living in a world where wealth was the only god. Their love was often mocked then envied. It was said that the poor girl was poisoned by a jealous woman. It was said that our hero killed her with his hands in jealous rage. A lot of things were said then but what does it matter? Everybody is gone now.

I don't know if this tale makes sense. Understand that they loved each other and lived happy, at least for a time. She was pregnant when she passed on. Maybe that was why he lost his mind; who knows? We can only speculate about cause and effect. What I do know is our hero destroyed a city in one week. What I do know is that it did not give him peace or satisfaction. Did I make sense at all?

I have followed him from the day he appeared in our city. I watched from a distance as he destroyed everyone I know. It was only I who found satisfaction. It was easy to poison his mind. It was a experiment. As our hero wanders away, I'm at his back. I will manipulate him and break him until he is nothing but violence.

What do you think this was, a non participant narrator watching from the sidelines, taking no responsibility for the activities of the characters in their story? No me dears, my hand are all over the crime scene. I am totally involved. Call me the deu ex machina. Yes sir, I said it, I am the conflict, the denouement, the climax, the alpha and Omega. What did you think this was?

Are you curious to know why? Why I slipped into our hero's head and made him kill? Well it is simple, I was bored. Do I disgust you? Do I make you wriggle on your seat? Do you want to get me in some dark place and rip my cowardly heart from among my ribs? Lawd, me too me dear; me too.



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A doctoral essay written in 2010 asserts that a modern preoccupation with violence is prompted by ennui. Greek gods toyed with humans and wreaked havoc whimsically. Your character is the voice of that boredom, which is morally neutral. Of course, war is senseless, and often an exercise of vanity. So this story, the Greeks and the doctoral student attempt to make sense out of what appears to be an irrational universe.

Your personification of this chaotic impetus is persuasive. Your use of language is brilliant.

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Some men feel that they are puppets, it has already been said that we are an experiment of the gods, that we are an experiment of the gods. It is possible.

I like your writing, full of powerful images, which, next to the suggestive image, gives us the impression that we are listening to it in a theatre.

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It is said that we are but pencils in the hand of the creator. If one believes in predestination like Oedipus then indeed we are puppets

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The intriguing inner workings of your mind deliver again, @warpedpoetic. I envy your creative process, and it's remarkable ability to turn pain and wretchedness into art. The author as a cruel puppeteer. Brilliant.

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Indeed, the author or narrator is often absolved of the crimes of their characters. After all, they are simply witnesses to the event. I believe that the writer plays a role. This reminds me of one of Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot mysteries where the narrator, who even assists Poirot in investigating the murder in the village turns out to be the murderer at the end. That was a superb point of view. I loved it.

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Oh yes, The Murder of Roger Aykroyd — one of my favorites, and an excellent example of an "unreliable narrator."

I was thinking about a play I saw once. I feel like it was a Sam Shepherd play. The man on stage is (as I recall) guided and spoken to by some Presence, represented by a large hand. Too many years ago to remember.

And then I also thought of a writing tip post I wrote for The Ink Well about Author Intrusion, although you turn that rule on its head, as it's not done accidentally but very intentionally, and well.

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