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the last lament of the sun
shamir nandy
page 09:09
 
 
 
 
 

They spoke of his bravery. She watched him as they drug him to the cross. Not the cross they knew, not Constantine 's cross, but the inverted cross, in mockery of Rome 's assumed faith. So the head will always point dow, never to heaven. The barbarians never believed in heaven or hell, but they found it amusing, they found it more amusing to mock Holy Rome, even in its death.

She would hear them after, and they always talked about Oppius's heroism. There was a rallying cry there, maybe Lucia could have drawn them to her. But then there was the truth. She had seen him drawn close to the cross he didn't give a shit about religion, or where his head was pointing he only weeped like a child. Crying like Gally, sobbing, offering whatever the barbarians wanted. Even Alaric shook his head at this. They never crucified people this was learnt from the Romans, and in the end, it was turned against them. The barbarians ever impaled peopled this was learned from the dark east, and never used. They had learned to breed the two however, if only to humble Rome .

Lucia couldn't draw her eyes away, Oppius he had unmanned himself before the cross, and forfeited death by pike, in a manner. So she watched, as they dragged him up on the stripped and crossed pike, screaming, renouncing Rome , and it's people. So they draw courage from his noble sacrifice.

Lucia didn't want to ruin that by any stretch. Unfortunately, she saw Senator Oppius die, with his shit and blood running down the pole, which was then reversed, so it ran back into him. It only took hours, but she was there to watch all of it, and what came next. There is no mercy among the goths. The women and children of Rome had gathered for mercy and ransom, and they were slaughtered. Cut down, with no effort, almost as if it was an affront for them to live. There would be no quarter, only the reaving.

Then, every child's head was pronounced worth it's weight in gold, with that number halved every day since the proclamation. Lucia watched the flaming torches of riders run to every gate. By now, the entire city is on fire, and she can still hear the cries of dying children in the square. Alaric seems sad, if anything, but Lucia doesn't care a whit for Alaric now.

She understood what the barbarians did. They burned the city, driving the living into their nets. The worst is that they didn't do it to kill. They took the young for slaves, raped the women, toyed with the men, and mutilated them all. Lucia's eyes closed, and she drew back softly and descended into the blackness of the house.


now

She's almost at the top of the hill now. She can't help but breathe blood and contagion, her nose won't stop dripping putrid yellow fluid. She's oddly happy though, she thinks it's noon , even later. She's missed her sunrise, that's the one thing she knows. Well, that, and maybe a second. She thinks they might have seen her, and with what shred of rational thought she has left, she thinks that this is the higest vantage north of Rome . If she wasn't dying, she would direct a withdrawal against a sizable western threat from here. But she is dying, so it doesn't matter. One last time, the world collapses back in upon herself, and Lucia feels herself beginning to unravel.


before

She bent to kiss Gally. At least she found a way to save one of them. She starts crying then. And stops. Gally can't breathe with her hand across his nose and mouth, and it ruins the rest of her sanity. She doesn't stop though. A single tear flies away from her face to slice through space and find rest upon his quiet brow. More follow it, but slowly work their way down her cheek, glistening with rot. Lucia steels herself. She'd seen what they had done to infants, but she had already given Gally the gift of peace. Escape. He wad beyond them know. She kisses him one last time, her eyes lingering against the softeness of his smooth skin. She kneels then, and sinks her head into her hands. She can hear the terrible symphony of screaming silence as her mind flies apart.


one last time

She shouldn't have come here. Or maybe she should have, she can't remember. She knows they have found her and doesn't struggle as they pin her down. And now they'll take her, all of them. Except her body is still flawless. She is still beautiful she's only rotting on the inside. Like Rome.

Her unusual beauty means that Alaric has the right to take her first. As he lowers himself upon her, she pulls back, and spits full into his eyes. She's amused to notice her spit is fully yellow and rotten now, laced through with an asbolute darkness. Alaric winces, and reaches for her, his face twisted into a mask of rage. Lucia doesn't care what happens next. Whatever it is, she manages to wriggle on to her stomach, and the last thing she sees are the intagible rays of a sun dying in the west, filtering through the ruins of god's only city.

 

the end