Throbbing Penitence

It is just passed the witching hour, and I make the regrettable decision to put out the fire. As the vibrant embers asphyxiate under the weight of the tepid well-water, they get their revenge by transmogrifying into a vengeful smoke that happily chokes me.

Immediately, I seek an escape from the caliginous prison that the room has become. Of course, there is none.

Outside, beasts howl at the moon, aching to taste my flesh and bones, and to swallow me up under the veil of darkness. I shudder at the thought and resign to sleeping away my nerves. By candlelight, I creep reluctantly through the empty house, romanticizing the security of my bed. But before I reach it, the ritual thudding begins.

From below my feet there comes a wretched pounding, the throb of a monster that is my own penitence. For below my feet I’ve laid a body and a soul which refuses to rest until I am by its side – as I should be. Suddenly, the beasts outside seem more inviting than the beastliness inside of my home; inside of that casket; inside of me. My own soul rots by the day, guilt crushing it from the inside. It won’t be long now until that soul gets its final wish.

Outside, the night knows my secret, and watches me in the form of a crow perched at the windowsill above my bed. As I sink below it, it takes flight into the unforgiving sky, the way a damned soul will not.

Shyla Fairfax-Owen ©

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