These are my final breaths. Dilly Dilly.
The sword, so heavy and so so sharp hangs above my head. The Bud Knight, deep into his reign of terror, lifts it skyward. I recognize my life will end with one jolt of his arms, aided by gravity the overwhelming weight of the broadsword. Unrecognizable, unfathomable pain will retch its way through my body before I feel nothing ever again. Agatha – dear Agatha – she told me she’d seen the eyes of those beheaded and the expressions changing as their brains realize whats happened to them.
I committed a crime, sure, and I will pay for it dearly. With my life. My crime, in retrospect, feels minor. I cracked open a vintage bottle of Red Stripe. It was never a problem in my adolescence. It was my father’s drink, Red Stripe. We’d visit pubs, my father would look the barman in the face. All he had to say – Evenin’ Richard – and the barman would slide a Red Stripe down the bar, right to his hand. Every time. It was my first drink. My mother would alternate between Rolling Rock and FourLOKO, back when we could, at least.
All of that changed when King Light took over. I remember blood. I remember neighbors of mine screaming as their cabins were burnt, the Bud Knight’s mightful sword coming down upon their heads. I remember screaming. Not me, specifically, screaming, but everyone around me. I’m sure I did, too.
My father was reprimanded next time he tried to order a Red Stripe. He found it odd having to tell Richard what he wanted. He found it heinous when that blue bottle slid down the bar. He refused to touch it, even. He shook his head and we left the bar. My mother was murdered as she tried to steal a barrel of cornmeal from a neighbor in an unrelated incident.
We still kept Red Stripes in a barrel in the basement. I’d pull one out every now and then, drinking it in secret. I suppose it’s only sensible that the one time I happen to escape to the garden to drink one, letting the Autumn breeze tousle my hair as the cool Lager kissed my tongue like in those happy days of yore, I’m caught. I’m called out – by my own neighbor, my dear friend Agatha’s father, Dustyn. The Bud Knight knocked on my door the next morning and pulled me to the stocks, where I sat for four days.
This morning, I’ve been pulled to the town square. The town that built me stands behind a fence to watch my destruction. I see them all. Agatha, Dustyn, my Father, Rashard from First Grade, all of them. I make a point to make eye contact with them. They’ll bear the brunt of this – They’ll see my eyes, the last gasps of my humanity, and they’ll hopefully remember it as long as they have the gall to yell that phrase from here on out.
I see it now. The glare of the sun off of the blade has shifted. I hear the scraping of his shoulder armor against his breastplate. It is coming. Dilly Dilly.