The Citadel I

I found you naked in the citadel.

You were sitting on the floor, hugging your knees, your back covered in scars from the leeches that had drained your spirit.

I spoke in soft tones, saying what I thought was your name.

But you did not even turn your head.

So I stood there in the citadel, watching the mist swirling through the dying light that strained through a window frame and settled on your hair like a halo.

I wondered what your face looked like.

I could see the bruises on your arms and legs from the thousand blows that you had endured.

But I could not see your face.

In those moments of quiet, I wanted to reach out, to step forward, to hold you, to comfort and soothe and chase the demons away.

I could not.

I was frozen in my place, standing in the doorway.

So I did the only thing I could do: I again spoke what I thought was your name.

You turned your head this time, looking at me with eyes red and hollow, the dirt on your cheeks muddied by the memories of tears.

Then you sighed and turned your head back away from me.

I crouched where I was, too far to reach you, too close to abandond you.

I could not find anything else to say, so I let the silence speak for me.

– Clio 04.03.21

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