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Crazed Rantings of a Mad Poet

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Ranting thoughts of a mad man given form. Articulated so he may better understand himself when no one else can.

Poetry / Other
Age Rating:

Welcome Fury

Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind - William Shakespeare

It was not always a mire.

Lost once to memory stood a city of vainglorious architecture. Monolithic buildings stretched into the sky seemingly without end. Here once sat a bulwark against the frailties of the mind. Entrenched in stone, as strong as earth, and as everlasting as time itself. A testament to the will.

It was not always a mire.

Just past its southern most bastions a lone tree sits atop a hill, with an equally lone bench alongside it. Overlooking the city in its entirety. Here once sat the place of lovers, silent, without discord or conflict. But a place shared all their own, even if only for a madman to sit with a visiting specter, and find himself in love with shadows even when alone.

It was not always a mire.

The tree and bench are now long gone. The only occupants are distant ghosts dreamt up by an old king who can’t remember why he looks out on the hill and stares for so long. The city now sits a ruin, empty, and sinking ever slowly into the mud. It eats and pulls at all that remains slowly. A lone man still travels the walls as they now decay at his feet. The last flame in a fog of nothingness. A festering heap of miasma hovers in every direction.

It was not always a mire.

He walks the walls and the mud of his city, mumbling simple truths to himself. “Be reserved. Do not be ruled by your passions. Be fair in all things. Do not shock the world. Let love do as it must. Be reserved. Do not be ruled by…” On and on. He is quite mad. But who are we to tell a madman what isn’t real anymore than to tell a sane man what is? Easily the world may yet be more terrifying from facts found and given to the sane to drive them mad, and to equal part horror given to the one who we rip from madness.

It was not always a mire.

Mumbling as he always has, for so long he cannot remember a time when he didn’t, the king of nothing moved into the fog of the city, his light meaning nothing anymore. Wandering aimlessly for his throne, accompanied by his closest advisors, fear and doubt. The mud churned and pulled at his boots, becoming ever heavier the further he walked. His rambling barely audible beyond his lips now. He couldn’t quite remember where he was anymore, or where he was going.

It was not always a mire.

As he felt the wet earth finally take hold, he collapsed in the muck, and felt himself sinking. The mud rising up around him slowly. The fog now thick enough he could barely see anything around him. As fear and doubt left him for a moment, he closed his eyes, ready to see what this fate may show him yet. It would only take another moment. As muddy water began to fill his mouth, he heard someone, far off shouting. With effort, he lifted his heavy head from the mud, and waited. There it was again. Not a cry for help, or plea for assistance. Just a long roar from someone nearby. A raucous exuberant shout, filled with energy.

It was not always a mire.

Carefully, the king of mud lifted himself out of the muck, thinking for a moment to simply lay back down. He stood, unsteady, and waited. Again, there was the shout. He looked around through the fog and began to head toward the direction he thought he heard it. His curiosity roiled up just enough to increase his pace. The shouts were growing louder. He could hear his own mumbling growing louder as well, as his pace quickened again.

Ahead in the fog he could see a round drainage grating sticking out of the mud. The shouting had stopped but he could see a chained and latched door bouncing, and distant grunting as something repeatedly ran into it. Then the shouting resumed. He broke into a run. His throat croaked out still the raving and mumbling of his madness. He dropped to his knees next to the grating, and looked down. Staring back up at him, in chest high water, was himself.

The king of nothing rubbed the mud from his eyes. Unable to believe what he was seeing. He kept mumbling, even louder now so that the person, whoever they were could hear him.
“Enough!” shouted the person in the water, with all the force of a typhoon. The king stopped mumbling.
“Who… who are you?” asked the king, looking down, eyes wide with surprise.
The king of the pit looked up at him, and crossed his arms, “I don’t think you really need that explanation, do you?”
“This… this isn’t… it can’t be possible,” the old king whispered to himself, confusion taking him.
“What? That you buried me so deep and so far down, you forgot I existed?” mocked the water logged king. He then proceeded to bob his head from side to side, making light of the old king’s ramblings.
“Who are you?” he asked the man in the grating.
“I am you, you old fool!” and the man in the grating leapt at the old king, pulling himself up to the grating, eyes ablaze. Had his eyes ever looked like that? He dropped back down.
“You’re what we buried, what we controlled. The animal!” the king of muck gestured down at the man in the grating.
“Yes, I’m also what you sipped at every time weakness didn’t overwhelm you. What you called on as an attack dog to defend yourself. Where your passion for love flared from.”
“Go away!” gestured the old king, “you’ll ruin everything!” and he made to leave.
“Forgive me if I should ruin all that you hold dear further!” mocked the watery king, gesturing to his surroundings. Water splashing at his hips as they fell below the waterline at his stomach. The point was taken, and it stung.

The old king knelt back down to the grating. “I tried. We tried to make everyone happy…”
“And you failed, fool. Better still, you revealed your proficiency as a liar,” said he who was below.
“Then honesty was still the better course. But then…” he who was above trailed off.
“But then you still failed. You are unable to feel as they feel. You held yourself apart from everyone you held dear. You say out of consideration. But its just more fear.” The king of culverts stared up with daggers in his eyes.
The old king thought a moment. “But then, we loved honestly to-“
“Do not speak to me of love, old man!” and the old king had to jump back to avoid the hands reaching for him through the grating. His doppelganger pressed itself against the door and chain so hard it was almost out of the grating, one angry eye staring through an opening. “You do not get to speak to me of love, when it is you who restrained me here out of fear of that same love. I am your passion, the furnace you quench in your chest whenever you think about a memory of love, of her.” The single rage filled eye, and questing hands dropped back down to the water with a splash.

The King of muck was transfixed for a moment, and then crawled back to the grating. “So, it was real. All of it?”
The king below looked up at him, one eyebrow raised, “It was more real than your memory will ever do you justice. I lived in a moment where the universe didn’t extend beyond the room we were in together. Where passion dictated the laws of time, and it never equaled enough. Where the idea of art simply embodied one woman in a way that shouldn’t be possible.” He lifted his hands from the hip high water, and looked at them for a moment. “In a single kiss to her skin I learned more about the nature of the universe than living a thousand life times, and saw all the magic of the world at once.” He let out a short breath.
The old king began to cry, fists covering his eyes. The one below just glared daggers at him.
Wiping away tears, the king of grime said, “You can’t fix it. No one can. She’s gone. They’re all gone.”
The man in the grating rounded on him, “And so be it! Who are they to such as we? Gods, who we allow to make mockery of our emotions? I will never apologize for how I feel ever again!”
“We can’t be that way, we can’t. It’ll ruin everything again,” mumbled the old man.
“If having them close is not to be, then I would gladly walk away knowing that passion was given voice! That love was not sequestered to rot like this infernal prison you built for yourself!” The one below walked through the now ankle high water toward the king near the grating, lowering his voice, “You let her walk away just as much as she chose to. Maybe having said something then might have made the difference, we’ll never know. But letting her walk away thinking any man could love her more passionately, or completely than us, was where we not only failed her, but failed ourselves.” They locked eyes for a moment, for once, in complete agreement.
“But what if we fail?” grumbled the old man, strength leaving him for the argument.
The one in the grating laughed, a deep hearty laugh, one that the old king had forgotten. “Its not something to consider when speaking of love through passion, be it to a lover, friend, or family. The failure will be in never having said anything.”

The old king just stared blankly for a moment, realizing what he had to do. He reached into a pocket in his cloak, and retrieved a set of keys. He walked over the grating, and unlocked the latch. Opening the door, he hopped down to the now barely inch thin water. They looked so different from each other, he realized. Passion clearly invigorated his twin, standing tall in the cool air, the cold seemingly unknown to him, naked as the day he was born. The king of mud realized he had one last gesture he could make, at least for himself. He began to remove his clothes, boots and cloak, and gave them to his twin. “It’s the best I can do.”
As his twin dressed, the old man shook in the cold. “It’ll be enough, I promise,” said the former man of culverts. He stood from a large rock he’d sat upon to dress, water now beginning to fill the grating again up to their ankles. The old man looked himself in the eyes, seeing fire and fury, passion and love in them he had only thought others could have, and it was warm.

The king of the grating embraced the old man fully, letting his rage wash away to love, as it had always done. He then moved to leave, hoisting himself from the grating, and replacing the latch and chain. The old man handed him the key through the grating, and they thanked one another, as different people out of order and out of time. One for finally being offered his peace. The other for finally being welcome. The old king didn’t know what would happen next, as the water continued to rise, now sitting at his neck, and still climbing. But he also knew it wouldn’t matter. This was his prison, built for him years in advance, and the person who now walked on would never waver where he had, never fear what he had, and love no less than completely the woman he had admired for so long, even if she would not in turn. Because she deserved no less than his best.

The fog had begun to clear somewhat. He knew himself, and his memory. His city was gone, but a few stones yet remained. The mud did not grasp at him so well, and he found his footing time and again as he walked. The newly free self moved to a small pile of rubble, and removed his cloak. He then began to scrub and polish every stone he could find. Getting to know each ones shape and dimension, he placed them accordingly as to what felt natural. He needed to build something here again. Something better than what was, stronger for himself, and for those he loved most dear. He knew what he wanted, and who he wanted here. But this time, no barriers, no walls to keep him and others at a distance. He would embrace himself just as easily as he would embrace the woman he loved, and the memory they made, or the friends he cared for. But foundations take time, and plans can change. After all,

it was not always a mire.

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