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Heart of Darkness: Kurtz's Redemption
‘I looked down at the man, lost, scared, with my then young eyes as his fiery gaze burned past me. The absence of sound behind me troubled me for I knew he seeing something I couldn’t. But his eyes! O the blood lust! Self preservation bashed on my door, screaming at me, calling me to open the door and flee. His fury shoved me to the darkest corners of my mind. But there I stood paralyzed in his gaze. Wood creaking behind me pulled us both out of his graphic reverie. I watched him gently close his eyes as I stood transfixed by the man at the bottom of his own detestable pit, knowing I was sure to follow. Right then, as gently as a summer wind, I heard one indiscreet whisper.
“Why, only the fool blindly follows the man he knows naught about.”
‘With that, I opened the door, fully knowing self-preservation wasn’t presiding at my door step anymore. I stepped away haunted by the devil’s words. Let the fool die along with his vindictive wench. Anger pulsed through my veins, trying to justify my own thoughts. Then as clear as day the same god forsaken voice belonging to the one who sealed my ill gotten fate said, “Take care of her, my son”. Ah the serenity! Had this man been awake, I would’ve sent him to the deathly halls of an asylum and left him for the rats. I turned around facing the bedridden man, hanging on his words, waiting for him to speak his usual gibberish. Kurtz knows I am here, or if not me, someone in the same duplicitous position. Don’t you see?-He knows all.-The insidious b******. By Jove! What did I get myself into? My predecessor opened his eyes. Sometimes I ask myself I he was really looking at me that time, gazing warmly into my eyes. What was it with this old man?’
“Kurtz? Kurtz? Can you hear me?”
“...wind in her hair...”
“Ah, It’s no use, old man”
“Boy, you tell her I love her.”
“I will, Kurtz. I will”
“...tell her I love...”
‘I got up out there as fast as I could, I tell yah. I didn’t go to Mr. Kurtz’s for a few days after that. God knows I should’ve. I thought about him too much though. Thought about the things he said and looks in his eyes. God, forgive me. I for sure thought he was gonna jump up and murder me at one point. I wanted to give up and deal with our common fate right then. But what good would that do? I had no clear idea what I was gonna do. What was he so enraged at? Lord, I wish he was sane. Make things a whole lot easier, it would. I concluded I would go see Mr. Kurtz next chance I got.
‘ After the passing days, I finally scrounged up enough courage to go see the old fool. I sat beside his bed, staring at the lit candle, scared and alone, much like before. The little flame was mesmerizing, pulling me in, only to shove me out again. Wax dipping off the side, careful not to go off path, being pulled down by an unseen force, slow and steadily. Little pyre with the courage of a thousand men, lighting up this sickly room. A groan from Mr. Kurtz pulled me out of my reverie. I still couldn't look at him though, in fear of what I saw before. No, not the hatred. I feared the love, of all things. Even my thoughts failed to have sense. I tried to stare at the flame as I did before, tried to pull myself in, but the flame didn't want to grant me access. I told myself it was just a candle - it was just a candle. I, at last, pulled my gaze from the tiny pyre onto the huge flame that burned beside me. His eyes were closed, thank God, or I would ran away with a fury. He had a serene look on his face, one of humility and foresight. One of a father looking up at his son on his wedding day. How? I know not. I swear he knew I was there though. It was as if something miraculous came over him. Realization, as they call it. I didn’t know what to do. I fell to my knees, somehow humbled. How can this man?-this man look so at rest. Why? Why only at his deathbed? As if he could hear my thoughts he said,”Simply, because I love her”.
“But how? After all that took place?” ‘He fell silent. A very solemn look came across his face and he replied in a whisper.”If she forgives me for all I did, then I do too.”
‘I didn’t speak, very well, knowing he wasn’t done, pausing like a mother looking for the words to tell her children that their father passed.
“Boy, you listen here. What I have done-was-was-not moral. Don’t you follow in my footsteps. Hell, don’t even take the same path. Make your own-make it and walk it.” ‘He seemed frighteningly enraged, but being as bedridden as he was, it didn't give affect. He coughed and wheezed a little like a cat with fur in its throat. He spoke again in barely a whisper, “Boy, you tell her...”
“...you love her.” I said when he failed to finish. It was too late. He was already gone. The fool had gone and used all his energy on me. Why did he have to do that? I shook him in my fury, then gave. I closed his eyes, got off my bruised knees, and blew out the candle.’ Marlow paused suspended in his memories.
‘He gave up what little was left of his life only to tell me not to follow my fate. Only-Idon’t know, boys. He was a crazy fool, he was. I’m just here following his orders.’ Marlow stood there, bottle in one hand, staring up at the rising sun.