End Kwote

After it's all said and done, life's just a bunch of kwotes

well

Life had once been defined by linears and absolutes. Government control stifled our freedom. Speak out and suffer greatly. Act out and cease to act. A police state molded our society into a highly-defined shape with bold lines and spear-tip points. A work of precise geometry. A triangle of sorts.

But triangles have legs. And legs can be broken.

I murdered him, the leader of this government. I snuck into his house while he slept. His stomach was bloated, his hair slick and greasy, and his skin blemished. He snored like an ox, which was ironic; he made the noise of an animal that was enslaved by a yoke and worked by its master. I couldn’t help but smile as I pulled the blade out of my pocket.

I walked quietly beside the sleeping man and covered his mouth with my hand. He was unaware for the first few seconds, but he quickly realized.

Before he could scream, I stuck the knife into the side of his neck. It was smooth, the edge sliding into the soft tissue like it would into a piece of overripe fruit. He stared at me, eyes wide and bulging with red veins, in disbelief.

I knelt beside him, his emptying blood staining my hand crimson. I whispered in his ear, “I’ve broken your leg, you bastard.”

I twisted the knife sharply, forcing him to squirm in his bed. I pulled it away. And I stabbed him again.

And again.

And again.

Victory.

But as I stared into his pale, lifeless eyes, footsteps approached the door. It creaked open.

“Sir, are you alr…what the…hey! What are you doing!?”

I had no hesitation. I ran towards the window. I closed my eyes, lowered my shoulder, and crashed through the glass.

I clambered to my feet. The guard ordered his men out the door. They bolted after me. Like a group of hunters cornering a fox. That’s all I was to them.

They were close behind. Thin cracks of rifles echoed behind me. Stray bullets raised dirt around my feet. I ran with all the strength of my legs. I churned my feet as hard as I could. Stretching. Striving. Sprinting.

Finally, I could run no more. I stopped. I knew this place. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the bright blue spout that provided our weekly water rations.

Panting, I placed my hands on my knees. I peered over at the pump, remembering the life it had given us, and how that was ironic, too.

They caught up.

“Turn around!” yelled the lead henchmen. “Turn around I said!”

I obliged. There were ten men, all in uniform, pointing rifles at my head.

“Drop the knife!” barked the guard.

I held it firm in my hand and looked at it, blood still fresh on its edge. I stared for a while, then shifted my eyes to the guard who spoke to me.

I looked at him, then down at my feet. I closed my eyes, gathering all the strength I had left, and told myself it was worth it. I inhaled deeply. And I ran.

I ran – knife raised over head – directly at the soldiers.

Explosions. All at once they fired. Like fireflies against a dim sky, the barrel tips lit, extinguished, and erupted again seconds later. The bullets flew into me. One by one. Searing through my chest and arms. Covering the wall behind me with my blood.

The barrage stopped.

I fell to my knees, my body filled with holes. But I didn’t grimace or wince. I grinned.

I said to the guards, with my last breaths, “I am crippled no more. And my people will walk strong and tall. And there is nothing that can stop them.”

One final shot rang. Straight through my head.

I died there. Next to that water-spout. My blood remained on that wall for years to come. And, with time and sunlight, it turned a brilliant orange. It turned into a symbol that we will never be silenced. A symbol that we will make ourselves known and burn bright with liberty. A symbol that we will not be constrained by people, fences, shapes, or lines. A symbol of our freedom.

I died there. Next to that water-spout. But the message I delivered was vastly more important than my life. That message is one that will free people for generations:

Linear becomes misshapen, and absolute becomes unsure. Such is the way of revolutionaries.

End Kwote

30 thoughts on “Revolutionaries

  1. Loved it! Such vivid imagery!

  2. Megan Eccles says:

    “But triangles have legs. And legs can be broken.”

    This is quite possibly one of the greatest lines I’ve ever read in a story.

    1. End Kwote says:

      Oh wow..thank you so much! That means a lot to me. You’re a talented comment giver 🙂 thanks for the read!

  3. jannatwrites says:

    I like the triangle line about having legs that can be broken, and then the killing of the leader as breaking a leg. I didn’t expect the charging at the armed guards, though… I like the sacrifice for the good of the rest of the people.

    1. End Kwote says:

      Thanks! I thought it was appropriate. Sacrifice is usually required to achieve some greater good

  4. I liked this a lot. The first person POV worked great, and I liked that he turned out to be dead. Great way to tie the prompt together.

    1. End Kwote says:

      Thanks! I like the whole telling-the-story-from-the-grave thing. One of my favorite styles. Thanks again for the read

  5. This was a great read! Love, love love this line: “But triangles have legs. And legs can be broken.”

    Welcome to the Speakeasy! Karen

    1. End Kwote says:

      Thanks!! Glad to be hear

  6. paulmclem says:

    Some good stuff in here. As a personal thing I haven’t totally decided whether I like giving a past tense stories voice to someone who actually dies in the story – sort of turns it into a tale from the grave. Well crafted story though.

    1. End Kwote says:

      Thanks for the input! Have you ever seen the movie Sunset Boulevard? It does the whole story-from-the-grave thing very well. It’s one of my favorites. I really liked your story, too. Terrific ending

  7. Silverleaf says:

    Fabulous piece! I love the way time seems to stretch out as he stands at the water pump, thinking about what he is about to do. The conclusion is really wonderful as well; how poetic and symbolic to have the wall become a brilliant orange.

    1. End Kwote says:

      Thanks very much! I had to use that bright orange somehow.

  8. Suzanne says:

    Creative and intense. I like the narrator’s voice as well as his message of hope through sacrifice. Fabulous use of the prompts! Thanks for joining us at the speakeasy this week! 🙂

    1. End Kwote says:

      Thanks very much!! I’m glad to be here. You’re post was amazing, too. So cool to see all these great writers come together

  9. YeshuM says:

    Brilliant story right here. I love the philosophical moments throughout, the idioms and the imagery. Very vibrant. Kudos to you!

  10. ardenrr says:

    This was wonderful!! Is this your first time at the Speakeasy? It’s my favorite 🙂

    1. End Kwote says:

      Thanks so much! And yes it is.

      1. ardenrr says:

        Welcome! The Speakeasy is awesomesauce.

  11. tinsenpup says:

    This is a complex piece. It’s hard to know how sympathetic the reader should feel towards the protagonist. Is he a revolutionary freedom fighter or an extremist or terrorist? There is also some really beautiful writing here. Well done.

    1. End Kwote says:

      Thank you. And that’s a fine point. I know what I intended, but I’ll leave it for you to decide. Thanks again for the read

  12. Love this! The pacing was perfect. It read so well and I love what you did with the prompt.

    1. End Kwote says:

      Thank you! It took some thinking, but the sentence we had to use really sealed the deal. It seemed too perfect. Thanks again for the read

  13. atrm61 says:

    Wow!This is excellent writing-had me riveted till the end!Loved the fast pace,the action packed scenes,the stance the protagonist took and the message he left through his sacrifice-only wish he had escaped 🙂

    1. End Kwote says:

      Thank you! Ahh yes. The ending is bitter-sweet, I must say. It was a necessary sacrifice, though.

      1. atrm61 says:

        🙂 Sometimes a new way of life-a better one emerges which stands on such sacrifices

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