The Best That Can Be Hoped For

The commander’s body was displayed with all the pomp the citizens of the town could afford, and then some. On the first two days, wailers arrived promptly at dawn, not leaving their post outside the chapel until the sun set. They were there too on the third, although that day was set aside for select people to pay their last respects before burial the next morning.

Even the wailers paused to bow when Lady Allegra came to the chapel to say her farewells. The solemn commander’s ward was a familiar figure to them all. They shuffled aside, with their eyes on the ground to let her pass.

“Please,” she said in a quivering whisper that carried to the furthest honor guard in the room. “I’d like to be alone with him, one last time.”

The head guard nodded, and they all filed out.

Allegra leaned over the casket, the shaky note in her whisper all gone now. “I have never wished harder for the existence of an afterlife, just so that I’d have the satisfaction of knowing you are suffering in it.”

She took in the sight of the cruel face, knowing its mouth would never scream at her again, and the hands, which would never strike her for forgetting a lesson. Then she gave a satisfied sigh. “I wish I was the one responsible for your condition, but I’ll thank time and the diseases you fostered with your vices for doing their job. However, I will be responsible for the remaking of this city, you can count on that. My alliances have been in place well before your first wheeze. Everything you’ve created will come undone. This city will heal.

You always preached about forgiveness being healing, along with other things you obviously didn’t really believe. But I think I will work on forgiving someone. Myself. For not forgiving you. I don’t know if I ever will, but I don’t think I have to in order to do what needs doing. I’m looking forward to the first day I don’t have to think about you. That will be enough.”

And with that she left, the body in the chapel behind her and a new day in front.

Photo by Maxime Gauthier on Unsplash

Liner Notes for This Groove: This short fiction was created for Poets and Storytellers United's Weekly Scriblings #19. I'll be taking one (maybe two) weeks off for a break after this. LOL, I was going to take off anyway as my husband and I had plans to go off and do something fun for our 25th anniversary. But even though we'll be celebrating at home, I'll still be taking my break.


The world needs heroes
so we’ve been told.
They inspire us to be
better versions of ourselves.

But I’m not seeing
a better version of humanity
when adult-sized toddlers
bray about their freedom

to make others ill
so they can play golf,
and get their hair done.

and all those who care more
about feeding their delusions
of stability and comfort,
are the ones
who created the desperate need
for heroic measures.

Even though people are so willing
to play out the role of villain,
perhaps hero isn’t the right word
for those who find themselves on the front lines.

But it may be the best word
we can use,

because sacrificial tribute
on the altar of ego
is just too honest.

More Covid 19 related street at images
can be found at Atlas Obscura.

Song Choice: Abraham's Daughter by Arcade Fire, from The Hunger Games movie

Liner Notes for This Groove: This poem was created for the prompt given at Poets and Storytellers United, Weekly Scribblings #18