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An Alcoholic’s Asphodel


Soft, youthful fingers clawed at the cold, wire fence. Children cried; their voices sounding like a steel knife scraping across a stone wall. Mothers mourned their losses – their children ripped from their embrace. I looked at the children. Rags hung loosely from their frail, emaciated frames. Dust had settled in their hair like lost souls in the eternal fields of Asphodel. These creatures crowded around the fences, trying to find a way to escape into the world. However, much to my surprise, one boy sat alone in the middle of the enclosed courtyard, looking down upon something that lay in his hands. A shiny object no bigger than a watch face.

The ravenous rasping of voices drew my attention away from the boy. I turned and paced across my office to look out of another window. I peered out. Below was the western wing of this facility, home to those deemed the most dangerous. Guards rushed hastily to the other side of the wing where apparent trouble had broken out amongst some of the males. I watched from my office, behind the windows and the walls, myself trapped in a creation of my own mind.

This facility, this idea, was forged in my mind, designed by accredited architects and funded by international innovators. Oh, it was a masterpiece like none other! Walls as high as altars, thick as those of vaults and as inescapable as self-inflicted torture. A new world wonder crafted by my ignorant arrogance. Now it seems that the inmates are not the only ones imprisoned here. I made this place out of love, but it seems that what is done out of love always takes place beyond morals and between good and evil.

I turn from the window only to be greeted with depths of darkness which clouded my vision. Once the darkness had dissipated, I once again became accustomed to a man sitting in my office. He had been speaking to me, as he still speaks now, despite one not recalling his recent by past words. My ears had become deaf to his voice for the topic of which he spoke was no interest to I, and the manner in which he delivered his monotone monologue was most uninteresting. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words for the same reasons that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unneeded part. Despite this idea that quite obviously politicians, such as the one who sits before me, have not yet heard, he rambles on. To prevent the prolongation of this distant dialect I pour a drink. It is needed. The screams from outside are getting louder. The screams inside my head get louder also, but now I am uncertain whether all the screams are in my head, with none coming from outside.

The light music of whiskey falling into glasses made for an agreeable interlude. So, here’s to alcohol, the rose-coloured glasses of life, and my own shrewd saviour.


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