The Last Thoughts

February 26, 2008
By Avery Hayes, Cameron Park, CA

As I stand here, a condemned man, I know surprisingly little regret.

Even the water which drips from these chilled dungeon walls and the screams which caress my ears do not affect me.

I ask myself why?

Why, as I sit in waiting, my ankles and wrists bound in shackles, am I not sobbing with despair; cackling with madness?

Truly, I can not say.

Mayhap it is that I know I have sinned. That my blade has penetrated the flesh of another man, unwelcome.

I know it is my fate, as was spelled out by God, to suffer for such a deed.

Or perhaps, for all of time, I knew these moments would be my last. Does the mind fret over what it has known is inevitable?

Perhaps it is that I, dare I say it, am curious; curious to see what lies beyond a dead man’s eyes.

What will lay beyond mine, unseen by those who still know the breath of life?

Will I be greeted, as unlikely as it seems, by those cloaks of white?

Or will I know the scorching heat of hellish fires?

And mightn’t it be something else entirely, unmentioned by even myth? I am so eager to know, so drawn to that question that I would not deny it dispels much regret I might have otherwise known.

With every breath I take, the next seems yet staler. However, is it truly the air?

Or is it every thought that runs through my mind reminds me, almost taunts me; attempts to provoke myself into some sort of despair.

Yet I know none.

So as those soldiers come marching down and lead me, for my last time upwards, I could almost smile…

Was one supposed to be amused by one’s own disposal?

The mind works curiously: oh, so curiously.

As the noose tightens around my neck, my last breath stolen, a smile graces my lips.

But not a smile; rather a smirk.

As if to beckon death.

To see what lies behind its shadowed curtains…

The last thoughts of a condemned man.

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