Thursday, March 31, 2011

Kilmainham Gaol

I've been wicked fail at blogging lately, and it's awful. I mean, I still have to write about Cork! And that was ages ago! And just so many other things have happened, even though I can't blog about all of them. So, pretty much, expect a post about most of that soon. Tomorrow, hopefully!

Anyway, I have a story for now. It's sort of about the famine, so if you're in a really wicked awesome mood and want it to stay that way, you might not want to read it just right now.


She would shiver, but she forgot how to do that a lifetime ago. Or maybe it was several lifetimes ago. She didn’t know what time was, anymore. She didn’t think, anymore. Couldn’t think. If you asked her what her name was, she wouldn’t be able to tell you, because the person with that name was gone. The person who laughingly sang and danced and whispered and passionately screamed was missing, or else dead. She was a skeleton now, and her smile fled from her face so long ago, to find food elsewhere.

She would say she missed that one happy lifetime, but she’d forgotten how to do that, too.

So, she leaned, hunched against the freezing stone wall of the gaol. Even the hundreds or dozens of bodies didn’t warm the cell. They were far too close to death to emit any sort of heat. And they were all just angles, anyway, all shells of former people. Their limbs were like paper, and they had no fat or strength to block out the frigid air. The winter wind would rush in and have no problem blowing through their brittle, fast disappearing, bodies.

Once upon a time, she came to the gaol to survive. She’d thought that the gaol, with its regular meals, would save her. But then the meals weren’t regular. But then she forgot what living was. And then she forgot what death was, so she had no reason to fear it.

She saw the ghosts of the dead sometimes. The ashen, unblinking faces she’d once known and once watched grow stiff. Their ghosts were the same as their bodies, saying nothing except in their eyes. Because their eyes told their stories, told of potatoes blackening and laughter falling thousands of feet off a sea cliff, finally shattering. Told of babies growing cold under mounds of soft blankets, songs they tried to sing but ended up not even being able to whisper, the roads they built that went nowhere, just like their weakening, faltering bodies.

Her thoughts had stopped forming words ages ago, but she knew—their eyes told her— life wouldn’t last much longer. She wasn’t sure whether or not to be grateful, so she just wasn’t anything.

But she took her last bit of strength and let herself listen to the creakings around her. A child cried, a thin, devastated wail. The emancipated leftovers of a person collapsed to the ground nearly soundlessly, and tried to suck in the dirt floor for food. Another body, one of the few strong enough, rocked back and forth on skin stretched thin and bones, and hummed the same four notes of the same familiar song, over and over again.

She heard all of this, and then she shut her ears, and shut her eyes.

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