Disclaimer: The words are mine. The Newsies are not.
how art the mighty
And she kissed him, tasting the blood on his lips and the salt of her tears.
They were an unusual pair. Different in so many ways but alike where it truly mattered.
It was openly wondered how she could choose a man which such a colorful past of loves and lusts.
It was secretly whispered that he had gone soft.
Still their love stayed and spread through many years, trailing their happy laughter and contented smiles.
A murmur of hot breath was a soft touch upon her quaking lips. For a moment she embraced a hope; the spark of a match in the looming darkness. But when nothing but silence followed, she understood the finality of that whisper.
And the ember was swallowed by the darkness.
But the days grew long and the nights longer. The circles beneath his eyes became darker. His once gentle touch had turned hard and impatient. His gaze was distant. His words sharp.
Her own words became lost in those days and amid the whispers of the lonely nights. Her fingers longed for his; her body for his warm, encasing arms.
She closed her eyes against the tears and pain. She reached for his hand; it hung lifeless in her white grasp. Silent sobs crackled through her, body and soul.
Beaten. Gunned down in an alley. Had it really come to this?
In his youth he was a survivor. A leader. He was a brother, a father, a protector for those who had none. He had loved the simplicity of life and understood its frailty.
Then he changed.
Now the world would not know of those gentler days; they would read and know only of the man he had somehow become:
A king who became a pawn. The powerful corrupted by that very desire. A boy who tried to become a god. A man of wealth who died like a beggar.
The night was different from the countless that preceded it. There was a glimpse of the old in the shell of the new. It was a moonless night, an unsteady night. She knew something was different.
He held her close and spoke not a word. She feared for him, begged him to tell her what was wrong. But the chill of his arms and the tears were his only response.
She cried with him, running her hands over his face and through his hair. It had been so long and she had almost forgotten...
Once, long ago, she had traced every line of his hands. She knew every crevice and the way the veins pressed against his sun-darkened skin.
She had once memorized the faded stains of his bittersweet youth; the ink that seemed permanently tattooed to his skin, never to let him forget.
But in the shadows of the night she saw that it too had been changed.
A new stain tattooed his skin. A tattoo that ran deeper, colored with blood.
It rained the day they buried him. The gathering was small but exactly what he would have wanted. All those from his youth stood round as the minister said words about death and Heaven. Heavy splatters of rain darkened the plain pine cover of his casket.
Finally the minister finished and with an awkward and unwantedfinality, closed the worn Bible in his hands. People stood, frozen in their shock and sadness. Then, a voice awoke from the assembly.
"He was a good man." Jack Kelly declared with firm loyalty. "No matter what they say."
And then he walked away, an old cowboy hat pulled low over his brow.
The sorrowful mood splintered and people moved away from the sight. A few flowers were thrown.
She was of the last to leave, waiting, listening beyond the dull beat of her heart as the first shovel of wet dirt fell into the grave.
In the years to come she would return, whispering words and spilling tears onto a simple gravestone that would never be able to answer back. Some days she cursed him. On others she wept for the loneliness he had left within her heart. But never, as some thought she should, did she regret.
For a while –though so very fleeting- she found warmth when the world was cold. And, when it meant the most, she was able to do the same.
Sean 'Spot' Conlon
Born 1882 - Died 1907
May he rest in peace
That old brain function known as thought: This story came about after getting news of an extremely dismal nature. My first depressing story… well, except for that little happy blurb near the very end. But that tiny indication of the sap in me doesn't count. Anyway, what did you think? I know, I killed Spot. Please don't hurt me.