Death at the Top of the Stairs

Death at the Top of the Stairs
Roy Allen Hunt 
May 25, 2004, 5:30 PM

She spoke her peace that night. Telling all of her intentions now that she was free. Free to go wherever and to do whatever she desired.

She ascended the stairs as graciously and as elegantly as she ever had, the staircase melting away behind her.

Near the top of the stairs she stopped. She caught up her skirts in clenched fists, her breath catching in her tightening breast. She paused there a few steps from the landing as though floating in the air. Here is where it had happened. This is where his last gasp was taken, where was first glimpsed sweet freedom’s door.

Why did she hesitate? What caused her steps to falter before reaching the sanctity of her bedchamber and rest? Only she knew the answer.

The scene of the dying of he who had held her imprisoned for so many years played itself out in her mind. What precipitated his demise had been orchestrated by her. His death at the top of the stairs. She had goaded him into a state of agitation with her customary passive, aggressive manner. She knew the effect it would have on his weakend health. Yet she persisted all the while watching and waiting. He rushed at her. She stepped back just out of his reach. Suddenly he stopped. Clutching at his chest, he fell to his knees a few feet from her. He looked up at her then with pleading in his eyes. She knew what she could do to alleviate his agony, what elixir to administer to relieve him, but she had already decided against him. Her faced hardened even more, her stare became cold and condeming. She drew herself up like an alabaster statue wrapped in heavy silk and brocade listening to his wheezing. How fitting that the room, always brightened by the sun, began to darken with its descent in time with his dying.

When it was done, she became aware of the price she would have to pay. She understood then that freedom from her living torment would mean keeping the company of ghosts. And, at that moment of weakness, she wondered if she could live with what she had done or with the horrors that would come.

Death at the Top of the Stairs

RoyAllen Hunt

Joined May 2008

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