The Human Spirit

–by Derek Alan Wilkinson

They’d finally found it.

“The Human Spirit,” they called this entity: this carcass. Its double-helix body lay strewn across a stone slab of an examination table—which was blasphemy, if you ask me; using such a sturdy, piece of granite to examine something so…malleable. Well, I guess that’s only true if you believe in free will, or infinity paradoxes. If you don’t…I won’t waste your time in debate.

Narcissus, as always, was the first to speak up, “I think it represents all of us. Most importantly, I connect with this thing. It exemplifies the deepest parts of who I am.”

Nemesis countered (as always), “I wish I were there when it saw defeat. I’d been looking for a way to correct—to chasten—it. It always eluded me. So, I must say…I’m glad it’s finally dead.”

Hercules declared: “What was once our trusted ally was also our most feared enemy. We may have triumphed, but only by mishaps. We must resurrect this creature!”

Mars resounded, “Yes!” As did Echo.

An old mortal spoke up: which, by just about everyone’s standards, was normally considered heresy. But this guy had been around for awhile.

Lazarus said his piece: speaking through broken vocal channels, with his usually sullen and eyeless expression, “This one’s got me beat. Give it a minute, and it’ll be back. And you’ll have your hopeless war again.”

Faustus said that it was only dead because of a deal it had made with him, but he couldn’t provide the paperwork to prove it.

Mephistopheles, while having no claim, attempted to barter with both Faustus and Charon over the matter. When they’d finally reached the point of having their deal, Hercules stood up and insisted that his father would resolve the matter.

I wasn’t having any of this shit.

I ran up and grabbed the coin right out of its dead mouth, and screamed, “Let me show you what this thing is!”

And I ripped out its heart, and held it in my hands. The gods stood still. Normally, they would’ve had my hide, being a mere mortal. But I knew the thing more than they: mortality never escaped me. Only I it.

“This is the drumbeat that it follows!” I threw the useless organ down onto the marble floor. “And this…” I grabbed the thing by its head, and smashed its skull in with Thor’s hammer (smashed its skull against the hammer.  I couldn’t lift the thing), “Is where they dreamed, and what I’ve infected.” I pulled its brain out, and held it like a trophy over my head.

The gods thought up useless ways to punish me—I could see it in their eyes. They sought the means to prosecute, but couldn’t come to a conclusion: although, I saw both home and hope in Nemesis’s eyes.

So, I waited like a desert victim—for the vultures, the so-called gods—to have me.

And I’m still waiting on my death sentence—as I’ve ran, and have stolen the Pale Horse, and I’ve been riding as far as I can go to get away. I still have that coin—the one that I use to make difficult choices.

Wherever I go, I hear the rumor: “the Human Spirit lives on.”

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