The Gallows’ Horse

hanging cross house

I rode a dark horse into the center of the Earth where all my poisons, potions, and misdeeds lived, wild and willfully. Everything there was a-wreck. Ruin and disorder thrived. Cracked ampules lay scattered about. Steaming beakers, blue-hot Bunsen burners, and schemers everywhere cooking up villainy in lab coats smeared with their own gray filth abounded. I was the king of all of this, and all my subjects, all my creations saluted my grave return.

I remembered from the land above the flower of my treachery. I remembered my rage and anger and my fulsome seductions of a thousand Persephones. How pleased I was! How capable! How incisive and cross-quotable my demonic possibilities. I was in the world of common men without compare! I was a concordance of my own ministries!

When I returned to Earth one day and sat amidst a field, I wondered to myself had I been this mistaken? How lonely amidst the grass I had become. How old and terrible. How heavy this mask of evil. And how I wished to rid myself of this awful weight. I hit my horse and off it flew back to the center of Earth where nothing belongs.

Since that time I roamed on foot. I visited many other lands. I traveled everywhere I could go. And between men and women I saw such terrible, terrible things and felt such terrible woe. As if the face of Man were hewn from hell, from the very wickedness of being I had left behind, of malice and limitless selfishness. Seeing this, I wept.

I said to the wise man I met, “Love.” And I said to the crone the same. To children, I said to them, “Love one another.” To kings, philosophers, chemists, scientists of every kind, my message was exactly so. Even when I was stoned, no different. As I passed into the light of nothingness, I recalled that I knew my origins and whence my own customs, wondering if for the misguided on Earth as too below it, would there ever be for them a lucky second day.

(read more & play @ egbertstarr.com)

11 thoughts on “The Gallows’ Horse

  1. Egbert, it’s beautiful, this prose. I’m awe struck. It reads like Poe at the ballet. I grew up reading his work. He was my grandmother’s favourite author. I feel like he’s stuck in my DNA. I know your references go much farther back but this is the closest I’ve felt to his work in a very long time. x

    Liked by 1 person

      1. If you’d like to have an edited version of this in a guest post on my blog, I’d be happy to have you over. It’s perfect as is, of course, but I’d want as many people as possible to stop for a read. Not every writer wants their work to be touched up so I ask, tentatively and respectfully, with that in mind. You know how to reach me, if you’re interested.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. A very generous gesture, indeed. Me, I have no sense of what to edit in it, if anything. Do you? I’d be delighted to be a guest on your blog, though if you feel like touching up something, could you run it past me first? Or just post it as it is, if that’s possible.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. We would work together on it, naturally. The idea is not very straightforward and requires some explanation, hence my invitation to discuss everything first. It’s really clumsy to do here. I’m prepared to accept a “no”but this seemed really too wonderful an opportunity to pass up.

        Liked by 1 person

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