BRUTALIST STORIES #15 — Kurtz’ Last Disciple

“We killed him, do you hear!?” They taunt me through the slat in the door, over and over, but it doesn’t matter now. It barely mattered when he was alive, why should it matter now he’s dead?

“What will you do with me now?” I ask, sat on the concrete floor, my head dipped, hands clasped. There’s no fear here, in me, I simply do not care. That’s what they don’t understand, that’s what they cannot grasp. It’s not even the acceptance of my fate, we went beyond that, he showed me things-

“You fool! You’re going next, you’re on your way! Will you not recant?”

“I’m not sure what I’ve done,” I reply, and it’s true. For all that they pulled us through, for all that they tried to induce, for everything that they threw at us, at him, all the questioning, all the demands, I can only see we are guilty of indifference, to this, the worst of all possible worlds.

The door slides open, the steel runners crunch the concrete fragments in their groves until it slams and they come rushing in. “You!” They scream and I know this will be the last time, dragging me, pulling me through the corridors and out into the desert.

They push me against a grey wall smeared with blood. I rise a smile at the spectacle, the idea that others have also held out. Whether they held onto themselves or simply did not care, they died all the same.

I turn and there’s another man being marched along, the desert sun glints off his spectacles and he looks serene. I tilt my head as they tie my arms tight behind my back and the man calmly sidesteps a puddle of blood at his feet. Why? Where does he think he’s going?

They walk him over to my side, he smiles and tries to wriggle his nose to reposition his spectacles. “Fine day for it,” he says as they slam a truncheon into his gut and he falls to his knees wheezing.

“Do you know why you’re here?” I ask as they do the same to me and I fall to my knees and turn and see him spluttering, his glasses smashed on the floor.

He coughs up some blood and turns to me, “To die of course,” before dipping his head to the ground.

“But why did you dodge that puddle, if you know? If you knew?”

He cries out a bloody laugh, “I really couldn’t tell you, actually.”

And they come up behind him and put a bullet in the back of his head and he lurches forwards, face pushing along the concrete, his broken glasses wrapping themselves around his head. How could he know, how can any of us know? Why should any of us care?

I hear the gun cock and close my eyes. Maybe now I will find out.

Building inspiration: CONCRETE BRUTAL AXIAL 036–163 workinprogress @36recyclab

Musical inspiration: Philip Glass — Koyaanisqatsi