Saturday, January 1, 2011


Man is flawed.

That is the truth. The absolute, unequivocal, undeniable truth.

Many say that the age of lawlessness is upon us. That man shall break free of all bonds placed upon him, and descend into corruption, baseness, and sin.

This is patently bullshit.

There has never been a time, nor shall there ever be a time, where men are free from their impulse to rape, steal, murder, and covet. Sin is a part of us. It is ingrained into our memories, it flows in our veins, and it beats alongside the rhythm of our hearts. We are flawed.

That is the truth.

۞ --------------- ۞

The night sky had never seemed sharper to him than it did this night. Every point of a light, a diamond, cut and polished. The heavens seemed to overflow with light.

But he did not gaze up at the stars, did not allow himself the moment of solace he so sorely craved. His head was tilted downward, bent with shame. A tear slid down his cheek, to land with a soft patter on one of the thirty pieces of silver he held cupped in his hands.

He sobbed softly in the darkness. He could not muster the courage to look to the sky, for the stars were witnesses to his crime, accusers that he could not face. His mind cast itself back.

۞ --------------- ۞

The day seemed to shine brighter in his presence, the light of the sun, seeming to coalesce around him, a cascading waterfall of light, reflected off his golden-brown locks. His face was lit up, by the wisdom that was his birthright and by the halo that was his mark. His eyes sparkled in the knowledge that, by mere existence, he had brought succor to his fellow man. He was loved by his friends, feared by his enemies and held in awe by all.

This was the man that he sought to betray.

The day seemed surreal, the air thick, resisting his movements, as if the natural order of things sought to work against him. Perhaps it did. As he walked towards him, his heart screamed to him that he was the harbinger of the end of the age of the goodly man, the herald of a future dominated by death and lawlessness.

He did not care.

He approached his teacher, and as he did, he felt the eyes of the paragon settle upon him.

The crowd of people around them seemed to melt away before him, as did butter before a white-hot knife. He did not pause to acknowledge the greetings they issued forth. He was fixed in purpose. He was steel.

As he drew closer, the world around him seemed to darken, the figure before him glowed brighter, to the exclusion of all else.

His quarry made no move to respond or greet him, as he drew closer. He stood still, as if waiting. His betrayer felt fear, for his plot’s uncovering. But he did nothing. Merely stood. As would a mountain, from now till the end of time.

۞ --------------- ۞

On his lips played a sad smile, of foreknowledge, of acceptance, and unbelievably, of forgiveness.

“You know why I am here?”

“I do.”

“Then you know why I do this.”

“That as well.”

“What say you?”

“Friend, do what you are here to do.”

He leaned in, and kissed him on the cheek.

And the world burst into fire and panic.

۞ --------------- ۞

The oak tree stood, magnificent and tall. It bore the weight of years with a silvery grain. A leaf, shriveled and dry, fell from its place, and drifted to the ground, ever so slowly. The first of many, in that cold, dark winter. And as it fell, a drop of ruby red followed it. It came from the mouth of the man swinging gently on the lowest branch of the oak. His neck broken, his mouth foaming red. As the rope twisted and turned, the tree seemed to shiver, and as a faint clinking of silver on silver sounded, every leaf on the tree withered, and shriveled away to nothingness.

On the tree, hung Judas Iscariot.

۞ --------------- ۞


  1. Just goes to show that a timeless story can be told and retold and yet again retold without it ever fading in brilliance. Well done, Ishmael. I loved that you broke up this vignette into bits. Another thing I see about your pieces -- and The Empath's too -- is your dexterity in conjuring atmosphere. Lots of skill there. My only grouse is your constant use of two "he"s. It's a little annoying to read sentences where you're referring to two men and constantly saying "he". One has to read carefully, even repeatedly, to understand which he you're talking about. It interferes in the narration. At least for me.

  2. I know, it annoyed me too!
    It's just that I wanted to withhold any names, until such time at which they would deliver greatest impact, you know? But writing with it was as awkward as hell.

  3. haha i was thinking of doing something similiar!but i could not have acheived what you did here...brilliant