Sunday, March 9, 2014

In the future, I must refrain from describing all the gory details

"Holding the sword upright over the head of the Philistine, and shaking a little on my feet, I know one thing for sure: by the rules of engagement, the outcome of this battle has already been decided by his fall. Now I have little time before they arrive here, I mean, our soldiers. They are sure to leap down into the valley, uttering wild battle cries and aiming their weapons at the backs of the enemy, who would be dispersing in confusion. 
And time is dear, time something I need. I must finish the job quickly, because when a giant falls you take no chances. What if he has merely fainted—only to rise to his feet again in a few minutes, and come at me? And what if he is simply faking it?
So I take a deep breath. The sword feels ferociously heavy over me. Then in one fell swoop I bring it down with all my force, cutting deep into his throat. 
This is the moment when I decide that in the future, I must refrain from describing all the gory details, I mean, how my victim coughs and sputters as the flesh starts tearing apart... How his arms flail, trying to reach for me, to yank the hilt of the sword out of my hold... How the color seems to be draining from his skin... How blood spurts from the wound, gushing from the sliced vein... How it shoots from his neck all over the blade, and all the way up to the palm of my hand. 
 This, I say to myself, used to be the hand of a musician. Is this the hand of a hero? A warrior? A killer? It seems to move by its own will, as if it belonged to someone else. 
Who am I now?"

David with the head of Goliath by Caravaggio

I love it when my character says that he will refrain from describing all the gory details, only to go ahead and do it anyway, in full, vivid color, holding the dismembered head directly in front of our faces, so we can almost smell the blood, just the way artists have done over the centuries. There are countless paintings of David with the head of Goliath.

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