General Disclaimer: I have borrowed Xena and Gabrielle briefly for this short vignette though they are no specifically mentioned until the end. They do not belong to me and no copyright infringement is intended. Neither is this work for profit. This poem depicts two women in love. If that offends your senses, read no further.
Author’s note: Feedback and suggestions are always welcome. I hope you enjoy this. - CM
By Credos De Muse
I can’t see her but I can hear her muted grunts of exertion as she fights her way through the crowd. The ring of steel against steel is followed by muffled oaths and heart-stopping cries of pain; none of them hers. I should be fighting alongside her but instead I stand here impossibly frozen under the blazing hot sun. She is getting closer and the moment she screams my name, I know she’s coming for me; she is always going to. I can feel the beating of her heart as if it were in my own chest and the pumping of her arms and legs as she picks up speed; the urgency of her movements giving me hope that I may behold her one last time before the end. She spits out a curse at some unfortunate fool who makes the mistake of getting in her way but he will not delay her for long. She will not allow it.
At last I hear her ragged breathing and feel the familiar fevered warmth of her body as it brushes against mine. Gently, ever so gently, I know not how she does it, her hip bumps against my side and my knees finally give way. I fall, like a puppet whose strings have been severed but she catches me and lowers me down onto the ground. A soft sigh escapes her lips, her relief almost palpable at having reached me in the nick of time. She is here, I am safe, and all is right with the world. And yet, everything is wrong, so very wrong.
Metal, cold and unforgiving, strikes me, tearing through my breast, leaving a trail of searing pain in its wake, white-hot in intensity. The force of it drives me back down onto the ground and I can only stare into the brightness of the sun’s rays gasping. I clutch at the wound, surely fatal, but my trembling fingers encounter only the smooth unblemished material of my halter top. I look down and my eyes can only confirm what my hands already determine to be the truth—I am unharmed. Yet, I feel it still, the rounded tip of the arrow, or at least what I assume to be the head of an arrow, burrowing ever deeper into my chest. My body shudders almost involuntarily at this rude invasion and I cry out. She cries out with me, my most stoic warrior; and I know before she shuts me out completely that I’m lost and will never be found again.
I push myself up onto my knees, rising even as she falls. I reach out to catch her; my ever-present protector, my one true love, the keeper of my heart and soul. I cradle her in my arms, her life’s blood spilling down the front of her lily white dress and turning it crimson as a rose in full bloom. Like the tide, it flows and ebbs with each beat of her heart. As I watch in denial, the fountain turns into a river, the river into a stream, the stream into a little creek until only a mere trickle is left. Feebly, she turns her head towards me, panting with the effort and the floodgates burst open under her pained gaze. Tears stream down my face, my body heaving with herculean sobs. Her hand, like a bird with a broken wing, labours upwards in seemingly slow motion, until it grazes my cheek with tender regret for what I fear is the last time. Her lips move but she is no longer capable of forming words or giving voice to them.
And yet, I hear her, as clear as the day around us, deep within my heart, in that secret place that belongs wholly to her.
Gabrielle, remember. I will love you, always.
Her hand falls and my soul is no longer.