Monique Lao, Grade 10, Rossmoyne Senior High School
Merit in the 'Read Write Repeat 2015' competition
Brushed slowly up against wood, splinters broke through his skin. His sweat permeating through his T-shirt, revealing cold terror. He muttered breathless words, to be interrupted by the blow of a palm to the side of his face. It burned with agony, seeping red into his vision. His body slumped, grazing against the fraying rope.
“Stand. Respect. Obedience.”
The Soldier lashed out pride, chest outspoken. The cold prison pressuring the tension.
“What have you to hide?” the Soldier’s voice menaced.
Silence. The Soldier’s brow twitched with impatience.
“Speak now. What have you to hide?”
His eyes lifted up. He smirked, fearlessly opening his split lips to speak.
“Me? Hide? What? When your bread is gold?”
A boot struck his torso, causing him to wheeze.
A Woman walked into the room, cane at her side, lucid red lips, clothed in maroon uniform, gleaming gold buttons decorating her military cap, serving as a brooch for her long coat. The Soldier saluted brashly.
“Leave him to me.”
She tutted and whipped out her cane, striking a blow to his chest. He held his breath and recoiled from the lapse in pain to sound, his head tilting violently forward as he gaped for air. Seconds passed, his composure returning to solid discipline. He smirked. The Woman leered, acknowledging the difficulty of cracking him psychologically.
“Dress him, show him the pain of betraying one’s country.”
“But Ma’am, he could have access to—”
She held up her hand, “Silence. Do as I say.”
He was dragged apathetically out of prison, his smirk everlasting and his demeanour scornful, nevertheless he was a powerless man, at the mercy of starvation, power and wealth. He laughed at the irony.
“What are you laughing at?” The Soldier had caught up to the guards, seamlessly annoyed at his presence. There was silence. Slowly, the guards shook, releasing their grip on him as the seconds ticked. Panic swept over the Soldier.
“What are you doing?! Don’t release the prisoner!”
The eyes of the boy locked in with the eyes of the Soldier, glowing with infernal hate adorned with flecks of ice. The knees began to buckle as the Soldier instinctively fell back into himself, palms on the dungeon floor. His small starved stature enlarged, and his limbs prowled in accordance. The Soldier had succumbed to paralysis, awed and appalled by the bloodlust. He laughed again, the Soldier flinching.
“Those who wear the crown, are merely peasants, the overlords are the majority. Don’t you think so?”