Trojan Horse This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

April 8, 2010
You didn’t have to close your eyes to know the horse was alive. Its wooden walls trembled and pearls with sweat, its heartbeat the thumping of leather-stretched drums, its breath echoed a hundredfold. We (the proud, the warriors!) nestled like bristled parasites in its mechanical gut, twitching with bloodlust and claustrophobia, traitors of the highest degree.

9 years we had been here, and men we had been once, fresh-blooming with trinkets from young wives, the fragrance of their curly locks varnishing our breastplates, the ghosts of our children’s little fingers lingering around our filanges. We went off steeped in legend and glory to fight ideas for the sake of an idea, and found their spears to be just as sharp as ours, their Gods the same as ours, and their blood just as red and salty. Bards would sing millennia after of the great mist of hate they gilded gold and dressed in ribbons, but it wasn’t hate really. The baker with his betrothed who was inspired to pour boiling oil on a fictional devil thought he was fighting for the good of his people. And so thousands lost fingers, feet, arms, legs, a slab of their shoulder, a head, for the possession of a woman, or at least thought they did. It was not her but as usual the destructive tendency of man that brought us to this place, this someone else’s home. There is nothing glorious about the purple-black that spider-webs out of the steel in your heart to flow through your veins like lead and fill your egg-shell head with nothingness from the inside. Nonexistance was an omnipresent future, and this non-life of the condemned man is enough to strip any warrior of his morals.

I had been raised upright. My father had taught me, to slip into a world wide cliché, that one must do good, fight bad, show mercy, tell the truth. Never look a gift horse in the mouth. And the Trojan’s mothers and dadas and nannies had tought them the same, and that was why they were all going to die. If they had looked down the mouth of this horse, instead of heaping flowers at its feet, they would have seen a heaving stomach of murderers, our eyes pricked and hands raw, daggers in our boots to steal the life of their children. If we were heroes, then the world had been tilted upside down and tonight I would swim in the stars.

At last the dancing stopped, slowly, the laughing, the tears of happiness that there was at last peace and sleep for all. Even after it was silent, we had to wait, and wait, slippery in the bowels of our monster, for when the gibbous moon would take Apollo’s rightful throne. I thlink we all imagined what was next, imagined our limbs rising and bursting through the artificial belly of the horse to carnage, rape, plunder, and for a moment I was walking in the ruins. Then it was time, and we climbed out, neat and stealthy, until we stood in the moonlit square.

The remnants of the festivity still lay about us. Pottery and peonies crunched under my sandals, a half-empty bottle lolling listlessly against a table. I drank deeply; and consumed the life of another whose lips had drunk from this bottle before me; it was mine now, but the taste was bitter. For a moment their was the strangest sense of awkwardness- what to do now? Some men started up a half-hearted howling, but it echoed tinnily off the great walls.

So we were hear, in the heart of the golden city that had been our goal for 9 years, 6 months, a week, 3 days. I was struck with its similarity to my hometown off the opposing coast- their, a tunic-maker’s, wear back home a portly old man had worked, commanding a multitude of pretty female slaves, one of whom’s name was Adelpha. She had had the longest lashes, and it was there, when I was 14, that I had bought a beautiful red tunic for my mother…

I saw a house ahead of me and walked inside. How easy, just like that! The door wasn’t even barred. Inside it was cool and still and dark. I went to the bedroom and looked at the man and his wife sleeping. He was thin, and pale, very young judging by his sparse beard, and I knew that they would not yet have children. His wife was not pretty- her cheeks too round, eye-brows too straight and frank, but their was a certain charm to her as her lip trembled in sleep. Her had just touched the shoulder of her husband.

Their blankets were dark, and the blood was invisible, even in the shafts of moonlight. They slept on.





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Tinytim said...
Apr. 23, 2010 at 2:12 pm
I really like this story it kept me on edge
 
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