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A short narrative based upon 5 pictures

Judith Edwards

on 1 October 2013

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Transcript of Conspiracy

The tavern was dark. The atmosphere was ominous with the smell was musty. Shelves crowded the wood paneled walls of the room containing spirits and ale for sobered and hopeless souls.
Deep in the corner of the dimly lit pub, two well dressed men huddled around a dirty table, whispering to each other with haste. The men suddenly stopped talking and gently leaned back in their seats as the pub door chime sounded and the door slowly swung open letting in small streaks of washed out sunlight.
A shadowy figure emerged from the entryway, dressed in a business suit and hat, the brim concealing his face. The ensconced man ambled toward the corner table, the door swinging closed with a slam.
The two men at the table watched cautiously as the new face shuffled towards them. The man sat at the table with the two conspirators, taking his hat off and setting it on the table beside the others. As he did so, his worn face was revealed. Although he appeared calm, an ounce of fear still manifested itself in his eyes. Casually, the man rested his elbows on the table and called for the bartender to fetch him a drink.
The other two men sat in silence, watching him with tense expressions. When the bartender eventually came with his drink the three men finally began to whisper their plans again. Their plans were sure to rock the government to its core and give the people of their country what they thought they deserved.

Bittersweet Moments
A woman held her son close as she tried to alleviate his deep feeling of melancholy caused by his father leaving. She gently stroked his light hair as she whispered soft words of comfort in his ear.
“Shh everything will be alright. Daddy will be back from his business meeting soon. There is no need to be so sad.” She repeated the phrase over and over in hopes of not only easing her son’s sorrowful mind but also her own. Despite her effort her son did not cease his incessant wailing.
“Why mommy? Why did daddy have to leave?” her son sobbed dolefully.
“Daddy had to leave because he had to be present at a work affair,” she said with a bittersweet smile etched across her face. In doing so, her eyes began to water, although, she tried to hold it back. The small child reached towards her face grasping at her half closed watery eyes. The mother let out a brief sigh followed by a slight laugh,“I know he will come home.”
Self Portrait 1925
The two men quietly made their way down the hallways of the small apartment building, signs of mourning engraved upon their faces. They slowly approached a lone door and knocked. The door opened to reveal an elderly woman, her face had a distant look upon it as she graciously invited them inside of her home.
When they entered, the woman compassionately motioned for them to take a seat and as they did so, she generously offered them a warm drink to which they kindly declined. She questioned the men, asking why they were there, for she knew them. They were friends of her son, on whom she loved dearly. The two men hesitated before they were able to answer.
The first man, the father, was the one to answer her. “Mam,” He said slowly, sitting beside her, “We have come to inform you that your son has passed away. He was executed last night on account that he was conspiring against our government.” A deep look of sorrow spread across the father’s face. “I am deeply sorry,” He said, putting his hand on her shoulder.

The woman stared at the men with sorrow. “Is this true?” She asked the other man.
“Yes. I am afraid it is,” He responded, breaking eye contact with the woman.
The woman sighed. “I had a feeling this would happen. He was always voicing his dislike of our government, even when he was little. I should have warned him.” She held her wrinkled face in her hands. Having received such sorrowful news, she appeared even older yet. “Thank you, for informing me. You do not have to stay. I can handle myself,” The woman said to the men, remaining calm.
“Of course.” The man nodded to the woman and stood from his chair. “I am sorry for your loss.”
“Its alright,” She replied, sadness filling the spaces between her words. “You do not have to feel pity for me. I had prepared myself for this. Save your sorrow for more important matters.”
The men nodded, exiting the apartment building with heavy hearts.
The wooden structure that seemed to be the center of attention, was a large guillotine, foreboding with the stench of death on its blade. The executor thrusted the so named vicious traitor towards the menacing frame. The man looked up at it in horror. The large angled blade that lay suspended in the air was stained with the blood of its former victims.Their lives imprinted between the boards of the structure. The essence of terror and death forever engraved between its woodgrains. The man that lay in its eerie shadow, drenched in sweat and fear,was destined to walk among them.
The executor shoved the man’s head through the boards and sealed them shut. With one swoop of his cloaked hand, the crowd was silenced. The clatter of a pin upon the rigid earth could be heard with ease.
“This man has committed an unforgivable treason! He insults our country! He insults our people! He insults our children! He conspires against our government and plans our downfall! We must assure that vile creatures such as him must never walk upon our earth! He must give away his life for our safety!” The executor announced, his French accent rippling throughout his words. After he addressed the crowd, he turned to the man. “I hope you are aware of your crimes. You are a danger to our country, and to our people. I hope you regret what you have done.”
“I regret nothing. You are corrupt,” The man spat at the executor, “All of you! You’re all nothing but mindless pawns being moved and directed by those you consider more powerful than you. You’re cowards! Scared of change! Your government is what you should fear, not those like me! We only seek...”
Suddenly the sound of metal on wood pierced the air, silencing all other noise. The man eyes reflected death as his head rolled onto the ground and his decapitated body went limp. For a moment, the crowd held its breath, then erupted in shouts, both elated and sorrowful. Some pumped their fists into the air and shouted, while others fell to their knees, tears streaming down their faces. One man towards the outskirts of the crowd began to play a small drum and started singing loudly. A majority of the crowd joined in. The songs they sang resembled that of a French battlecry. The others surrounded the decapitated body and mourned. The soft prayers they whispered to the man were carried away with the blissful songs of celebration.
The two men who had rushed to the scene stood there in disbelief. Stun by what had happened to their companion, not wanting the bloody scene to be true.

La Carmagnole
The tall man was dragged down the dirty, cobblestone back streets of France. His screams of bitter resentment could be heard for miles, however, no one chose to admit that they had heard them, for the man who uttered them was considered a ruthless criminal. His captor, the city executor, dragged him by his loosely chained arms. His scratched and bloodied legs dragged against the rough stone surface of the ground. He tried to move them in an attempt to escape the executor’s powerful grasp, however, his strength was heavily diminished from all of his previous struggles.
As the two men rounded the corner, a large group of people came into view. They were all gathered around a large wooden structure. Their overall expression was difficult to read, for some of them hid their faces in shame and remorse, while some shouted and jeered with unearthly pride. Some, however, stood still, showing no expression.
The air held a sweet scent as the man, holding a large briefcase, walked toward the small country home. The path he followed was made of dirt and light rays of sun shone onto it though the trees. As he approached the home he was greeted by a mother gently holding her child in her arms. This greeting wasn’t one of words though, only one of emotions, silent but loud. The man gently put the briefcase on the ground a slight thump sounded as he did. He then extended his arms toward the mother beckoning for the child that he missed so dear.
As the mother handed him the child she replied softly and warmly “ You’re home so early.”
“Yeah,” he replied with the deep sigh of his heart. "The meeting did not last as long as I had expected it to."
"Did something happen?" His wife asked as she noticed the solemn look on his face.
"Yes, but never mind what it was. It is nothing you need to concern yourself with. Right now we should be celebrating the fact that I am home safe and sound," the man replied.
"You are right. Come, let us go inside and enjoy the lovely meal I prepared as a family," the woman said as she walked towards the house. The man followed with the child still in his arms feeling sorrow and relief that he had escaped the fate that his friend could not.
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