By John Walker on January 19th, 2010 at 11:38 pm.
The seven stared at each other. They had been in silence for minutes now, each muted by the time to come, their voices curled in their throats like dying mice. Around them was darkness. A darkness which at least offered the illusion of safety. It was their sheol, betwixt inevitabilities, offering perhaps the thinnest sliver of hope of rescue before their fates concluded. Their time was over, but in the darkness this single moment whispered lies about the possibility of their lasting forever.
L and S went first. The other five watched uselessly as the pair faded from their bleak view, unable to do anything, but worse, unwilling. Better them than us, each thought.
L has it easy, thought S. He stared out of the prison that now possessed him. It was a cruel, stupid thought, and it rang in his head as he saw L tumbling to his death. For L, he considered, the terror was about to be over, but S was forced to sit and observe the pattern of his own destruction moments before. He looked down, saw L prostrate on the ground below, and felt his stomach turn.
S was able to catch the briefest glance of T replacing him in his former cell before his fall began. He felt no sympathy. Fear ruled his body, a selfish fear that occupied him in entirety. With the last of his fractured will he gathered the energy to turn himself until he would at least die in company, his body crashing helplessly into L’s crippled form. His twisted neck cracked against L’s protruding foot, his termination instant.
T screamed. A sound that reached I, J, Z and O in their unknown domain. It was a sound that accompanied I’s fade as he entered the grim viewing gallery, the lone audience for T’s demise. A sound that prompted J, Z and O out of their silence.
There must be something we can do, began J.
But what? asked O. What confines us?
I don’t know, I don’t know, J cried, his mind clawing for even a question to answer.
It’s hopeless, sighed O.
But what about…
The other two looked up at Z.
But what about if we
Z looked out at the field of death below him, at the corpses of S, L and T, piled together, at the falling figure of I, and the words died in his mouth.
O and J looked at one another, each thinking the same meaningless thought: who would be next? Who would go last? Both knew it meant nothing, but neither wanted to be the last in this place. They did not know where they may be going, but the screams of T still echoed in their minds. J stared, the last of his spirit dying, as O faded from view. When it came his turn to see O’s fall he felt nothing. As O crashed down between I and T J’s empty eyes did not react to the evaporation of a strip of their fallen bodies, their remains thudding down onto the lower extremities. His own descent was unmarked by emotion, his final moments void of significance.
Above them, watched by a Z, an L began his fall.