Another short section, short for two reasons:
one, because I'm trying to figure exactly how
to handle this confrontation; and two, because
I'm still experimenting with various forms.
You'll note that the second stanza is done
in rhymed couplets with lines of uneven length,
searching for something that doesn't sound singsongy...
although I'm still not happy with the result.
Benedict’s breath came in ragged wheezing gasps
As he stumbled through what had once been the doors
Of Chase’s tobacconist shop. He paused,
Feeling a breeze that shouldn’t have been there,
A chill wind from back in the shop.
He tightened his grip on the knife,
Lifting it like a stubby sword,
And easing his way forward.
Like Dietrich before him, he found himself
Walking down a slope, descending slowly
Through evil so thick it pressed against his skin.
His heart pounded so that he feared it might burst
But the bitterness of his guilt wouldn’t let him stop.
No more, he told himself; no more will others
Suffer for my foolish sins. Again he regripped the knife,
As if that might somehow fend off his fear.
How long he descended into the earth, he didn’t know;
Time had no meaning here and the distant glow
Seemed to recede with each of his hesitant steps.
Still he pressed on, his journey into the murky depths
Stealing what little hope remained within him,
Even as he muttered vows to avenge them…
Until the truth in the glow ahead became clear
And all his strength was drained away in fear.