number 19- the King of pain

On a wooden bench in a long darkened hallway I sit, in contrived cold dimness.
Shivering in shorts,I look down, dribbling on the bright dog tag hanging from my neck. Number 49. To my right and left, sibling sufferers, all in mourning.
Mourning for lives given over to pain. We, each of us, counting, enumerating, cataloguing its forms, its art. Moaning it out in sad violins, tubas of torture, oboes of woe. We, each of us, think we must be King. Flaunting, pointing inwards, saying see me, do you see me? We nod to one another, in fatuous fondling sympathy, waiting. Waiting to see who will be chosen from amongst the courtiers, and exalted to the royal standing. All at once, there is a hush. The house lights dim to darkness compete. A shuffling and a clanking is heard. A silvering light admits from above, coating a figure grotesque. In a gait at once jerking and shambling, he picks his noisome way, sparing all a proud burning glance, freshets of blood his tears. In fractures compound his bones protrude, splinted over with leg hold traps. The flayed flesh of his back dangles in ribbons. He makes not a vocal sound, but works meaty jaws to spit smoky pools upon the floor. He stops. We stand. Those eyes of his tilt upwards in seeming worship. Upon his head, a crown of Mercury. We bow, prostrate.

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