Caught in Guilt
The midsummer’s wind should be warm, theoretically. Yet being dragged into the Courtroom, the apothecary, half beaten to death, had felt nought its warm greetings but only a hinted mocking chill creeping up his spine.
“It’s the golden shines! I swear it! They were brighter than the luminous sun! They blinded my eyes!” With his smoggy sight widened in hysterical horror, the apothecary screamed and pleaded like a skeletal spider, struggling with his spindling shanks.
“Apothecary, the gold you grossed were marvelously warm, but why must your heart be colder than steel?” Out of the shadowed corner, the prosecutor rose, remaining to sneer even as he turned to face the jury.
“We reminisce him being stiff he encountered the deal. Yet he stirred, nonetheless, and with his selfish greed he fails the hope of Lord Prince and Verona!”
The apothecary flinched. What is this accusation? Are my deeds so sinful they left nothing to heal?
“Recall his gasps of regretful regret; scrutinize his features of sorrowful sorrow. Hear his heart of hammering howls, and watch the sun smear his trembling hands in scarlet ichor! This felon serves in treason!”
I do not! Outraged, the apothecary yearned to rise, but he knew well that any rebellious actions would beget brutal beatings, thus he perished the thought in misery.
In endless echos, mocking chatters instantaneously followed to taunt him of guilt.
“SILENCE!” Boomed the jury in a thunderous growl. The gavel in his clenched fist came smashing into the table, with an effort so hard it reshaped the gavel into a sickle.
“Capulets and Montagues, do you reprieve the apothecary of his sin?” The jury queried.
Then, in a harmonious reverberation, the lords rose. “We never shall be, as long as the apothecary lives his poisoned soul.”
The apothecary closed his eyes…
… Then he found a tenebrous figure grinning at him with deadly gloominess. He suddenly realized what is it that took appearance before his eyes: Death——that’s what it is!
What a perfect reflection of my hunger! Glimpsing at Death, the apothecary considered himself no different from the black-robed skeleton——they were both cold, and empty.
The apothecary found his emaciated face woefully mirrored by Death’s pale silver scythe. Around him, thousands of fiery eyes were marked with hatred, screaming in agony and madness as they reached to tear him apart, through the cracks of his sallow skin.
This must be the so-called purgatory!
“Is there anything you’d like to confess? Any miserably miserable misery regarding the regrets of rancor?” Death demanded.
Seeing the apothecary denying with lamentation, Death made a gesture behind him. Soon, soundless footsteps approached out of nowhere, and as the apothecary spun around, the holy lights of pristine purity came to resemble the ghost of a young man.
“Here is some gold. Poison me, and you can take it.” The ghost was pellucid, but the sincere gold was not. The apothecary was instantly magnetized by the glitter that danced delightfully in the hands of the ghost, and did not continue to listen what the ghost muttered after.
They are a handful! And triple the amount I sold the previous bane for!
“Indeed, with this pelf you’ll be rich, and never need to starve again.” Death whispered, and the apothecary was only an inch from laying his fingers on the gold when he abruptly realized that something about it seemed iniquitous—— vile.
This determined juvenile seems so young and headstrong, yet so determined to… die? Am I destroying lives for chives?
As if struck by lighting, the apothecary backed away rapidity. The ghost smiled; disappearing, it left an omen-like echo: Here is your gold, worse poison to men’s souls.
The apothecary collapsed onto the ground on his knees, overwhelmed by the guilt of greed.
“I confess! I confess of my sinful sins, of my harmful harms, and my dishonorable deeds!” Truthful tears came streaming down his cheeks, and he stammers in sorrow repeating the words. Death… Take me! Take me for good before I repaint my hands in blood! Soak me in poisons, for my sins may never fade otherwise…
“All rise.” A solemn voice sounded, and the apothecary realized that it is not Death’s laughters. It was merely a call, reentering him to the present.
Shocked in euphoria, the apothecary could no longer feel his heartbeats.
“You shall be pardoned, if you will save.” The jury declares under the sunlight, and made a gesture——under the under the sunbeams, there is something to heal…