Paris Wept

Paris Wept

A Story by Anor

"Please! No! I'm begging you, stop! I have family, friends, I can't go , no , PLEASE!" Tears streamed freely down the condemned man's face, his brutish arms and legs convulsing constantly in a desperate bid for freedom. His strength was for naught, as the two burly policemen accompanying him kept him fiercely within their grip, actively trying not to let their eyes meet. It was a filthy task that they would be carrying out here. Chances were that they would go to a tavern after it was complete, and drink and keep on drinking until the memory of the ghoulish task would be wiped away. The people of the Republic did not share its absolute hate for dissenters, they merely obeyed. 

In the end, that was all it came down to.  In a machine the size of a country, what guilt can a single cog feel? It has never been their fault that they operated effectively, never their fault what the final product of this effective machination was. Had Man a more innate sense of morality, perhaps such horrors would never have come to pass; but as it was, He did not. In the end, individual particles of snow cannot be forced to accept that an avalanche is their fault. No, it is merely the whim of Nature. Yet such logic grants pardons to those who destroy the essence of humanity, and it becomes another tool of evil. Never underestimate the power of a single man in a machine.

Spittle flew from the dead man's gaping mouth as he screamed again. "For God's sake, stop it! I'm innocent! I haven't done anything. I have money, please, please, please, let me go! I have people waiting, they won't understand, why aren't you listening to me, I HAVEN'T DONE ANYTHING WRONG!" His voice broke as he shouted at the top of his lungs, a surprised expression dawning on his face as his arms were wrenched forward; he could no longer speak. He looked ahead, his eyes growing wet with fear as he saw the beast waiting for him in the distance.

The object of his fear was large, and it drew all eyes towards it through the ominous idealogy of its existence. The guillotine was mounted high on the gallows, and there was nothing to do but to look at it. There are certain times in every man's life where it seems to him that he has no power over the physical world any longer, that he is a spectator in his own body. This mental paralysis is what makes us strong before the end, bringing weak men high, turning cowards into heroes. It is as though God brings us to a more humane state of mind, so as to give us a vestige of dignity when the end is come.

The guillotine loomed ahead of him, and he felt his legs take slightly hesitant steps up the stairs.  He stumbled, and his head waved wildly to the side. For the first time, he noticed the crowd. It seemed endless to his dazed, sleepless eyes. Men, women, children. Were they jeering or crying? Did it matter, anyway? This was their gift to him. This was Man's gift to Man, readily given, but bashfully accepted. You could not, after all, refuse a gift.

The dead man felt a pain on his neck distantly through his detached state as his neck was placed into position. His eyes darted upwards, and he saw the most beautiful thing in the world. Deliverance. Freedom. Freedom was a silver line, so fine that it was almost invisible. The man kept his eyes, now back in his possession, firmly fixed on it, so as not to lost sight of that elusive spectre. He would not lost freedom, he would not let it escape him.

He became aware of a vocie in the distance. "For crimes against the Republic, for the installation of a Bourbon flag, for harbouring monarchist sympathies; you, Danton de Cristo, are labelled a criminal. You have proven yourself to be an enemy of the Republic, and through this enmity, an enemy of freedom.

The man was wrong. He was no enemy of freedom, he was its ruthless stalker, and he intended to watch it forever. 
"By the decree of Robespierre, head of the Committee of Public Safety, your sentence is death by the guillotine. The time is precisely seven o' clock in the evening." There was the distant thud of a book being shut. "God have mercy on your miserable soul."

His eyes tensed, he would not chance missing his moment of deliverance. They stayed firmly focused on the fine blade, the only silver lining in his miserable cloud of a world; and as he heard the sound of a rope being released, he let out a gasp of joy.

The crowd rejoiced. A traitor had died. Paris, they were sure, would benefit from this. Paris, they were sure, would be grateful to them for their tireless propagation of liberty.
None of them suspected the truth, not for a second. Paris wept red tears that night.

© 2014 Anor

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Wow. This story is very impacting. I especially love the insight on the two guards' thoughts and the whole metaphor to machinery. I also enjoyed the guillotine sequence as a silver lining to all of this.

Posted 9 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


9 Years Ago

Thank you very much! :)

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Added on March 10, 2014
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