(The story continues from Hunting Ilium – A Micro Story Saga)
Ilium, where have you gone?
I pressed my forehead against the porthole. Space’s vast darkness oppressed me. No stars twinkled here. We’d left the spiral arm of our galaxy behind at the diviner’s insistence. It was a thin ribbon fading a little more with each passing hour. Soon, there would be only darkness unending and cold. So cold, even with two sweaters and a blanket wrapped around my shoulders, I stand here shivering.
Where would my obsession lead us?
Lifting my head, I regarded a mad man in the glass. His death head’s grimace made me flinch away from the porthole.
Explosions rock my ship. I wake screaming, drowning in snakes.
High walls surround me but I will escape. Snakes slither over me, hissing in my ear, sinking their fangs into my naked flesh. I will escape and kill the diviner. His lies led me to an ambush and his last words enrage me:
Even kings swing, and die at the rope’s end.
No eleventh hour save to make amends.
Snakes withdraw freeing me from their tangle
reflections in a pool tease me with hope
someone’s here, their fate and mine entangled
my wounds are dressed, if only I had rope.
Venom slides through my veins and I rant, rage with the fever burning my flesh. Water drips and rolls over my parched lips. Seeping in as I shake, its cool touch tries to quench and unslakable thirst.
Reflections waver, have I a savior?
Is someone there offering me succor?
What have I done but sour and devour?
The fever has my thoughts all aflutter.
My head’s pillowed on a thigh. Is my salvation real? Or have I been left to die surrounded by hallucinations of help?
Do I dream of aid in my last hours?
Chills wrack my ravaged body and I rave.
Reflections swirl, my world wheels, the truth scours,
strips away all I am and all I have.
“Rest my King and drink. The water will save you.”
Take back this cup, give me life’s bitter juice
let its poison sluice me from this cruel noose.
But the reflection only sighed and dabbed sweat from my brow with a cool rag. Why save one so doomed from death? I lost a thousand ships and their crews. Let me drown in my delusions. I deserve nothing less.
The hunt for Ilium continues tomorrow.
For A Month of Mini Writing Challenges, days 13-16 and