Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Touch (the sense of touch) (08/05/10)
TITLE: An Olive Scented Kiss
By Kenneth Bridge
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There was something else, before the crashing of the doors sealed him again in this tomb of the walking dead. A breath scented with new olive blossoms kissed the back of his neck. He felt it then, what he had always known, and then had lost, the gentle swish of his hair caressing the back of his neck.
He remembered the pain as rough hands had grabbed him, pinning his arms behind his back, the searing agony as his eyed were ripped from their sockets, the rough scraping of a razor over what had been left of his hair and beard. Worse than that pain was the suffocating futility of his resistance, squirming like an antelope whose throat was being crushed by the lion. No familiar surge of strength, no great bear like shaking, no lightning charging through arms and legs to smash through the enemy to victory. Shorn of his power, he had become like an old man or small child, a victim helpless before a hostile world.
Where once power surged through his limbs and he chose his own steps, daring the world to stop him, now he plodded, slowly, agonizingly, in eternal infernal circles, every muscle knotted in pain, every sinew strained beyond its limits.
As he remembered, he hated. And as he hated, he pushed against the heavy beam, and it leapt forward, surprising the plodding ox on the other side of the great wheel of stone. He laughed, a dry, chortling sound, amused by this sudden surge of strength, but suppressed any further outburst. Where he was once strong, now he would also be cunning, and, while plodding, he began plotting.
A day came when they came for him. Not deigning to chain him, they wrapped his wrists in a leather thong and led him into the great house. The murmuring susurrus of voices and the clatter of wine cups and scraping of dishes intensified, like a wave building, as he felt thousands of eyes taking notice of his presence. His semblance of trembling weakness was utter simplicity. He had been living it for months.
“Let me rest,” came the dry, cracked pleading. “Against the great pillars that hold the house. “I need to borrow their strength to stand.”
He felt the child’s hand take his. At first the small hand seemed loathe to touch him, then the boy gripped his hand with a fierce joy at the attention his participation in the spectacle won him.
“Here!” came the peremptory and contemptuous command. His hands reached out, the palms stretched to embrace the cool marble. “Now, LORD, let me be avenged on my enemies!” he prayed, and felt the surging, leaping power as he bent and pressed outward. The laughter that greeted his attempt was quickly choked off in a collective gasp, then submerged in the rolling, groaning cry of the great house itself. A sharp pain and a crushing weight, and then sweet sunlight flooded his vision, as the scent of olive blossoms riding on waves of spring washed over him.
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