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.

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