On the path there are footsteps.
The jails are not a place full of wracking moans and clacking chains, not if you do it right. They are a place of silence, broken only by muffled scraping, soft weeping, and death rattles. He was put here to be forgotten. They all were. Now each day is spent in a torpor, waiting for his lifeline. In a crowded and silent jail it's simpler to shove a small bit of food, barely enough to survive on, under each door. Safer, too, not to mention actually cheaper. He was put here for greed, and now he'd give everything to have anything. What crime did the others commit? How many sins forgotten and forgiven with time? On this day, there was no breakfast, no morsel meal. He would cry out if he could, but the iron saw to that. He is abandoned in the night to a final sentence.
All through the hallways, stretching down and down, there are footsteps.
Long ago Our Jeffrey and Our Susan moved away. They sent letters, of course, once a year, and five years ago Our Jeffrey came to visit for a few months. She was old, and she was tired, but it helped knowing that the children were getting along, perhaps with children of their own? The letters never said...in fact, it had been so long since she had seen a letter. Or the post. Or a traveler. Surely there was not some sickness in the world, and this remote place alone untouched? Surely there was no wreck on the road, or raid of brigands in the towns, or a childbirth gone wrong? It had been so long since My Ronald passed, how many years again, and the children were all she had. Surely she still had them?
At the front door there are footsteps.
A little boy cries. He is new. His father is gone away. No grandmother or midwife attended his birth. His mother is...gone, away. He will not be old.
By the foot of the bed there are footsteps.
He said he would destroy me if I ever left him and I didn't believe. I didn't. Fool. Idiot. I didn't know. Tell me you know me. We were children together. We swam naked at the dam. I watched your uncle die under the wheels of the grain cart. Tell me you know me. You wed my brother. And you, you there, you blessed my house once. That no evil thing should befall us. Was that a lie? Or is his power greater than your god's? I didn't know, how could I? Please, I'm no madwoman. I'm not a stranger. I was born here. Please, minister. Please, reverend. Please, father. I am yours. I'm real. Please know me! At least hear me...
Behind her there are footsteps, and a hand on her shoulder.
The entire town was caught up like a thief in the night. Only he remained. He did not believe. He was a drunk and a wicked fornicator. He screamed and wept and bashed his head on the cobbles and begged to be taken to Reward. The town was emptied, and he was alone in the world.
And in the morning the city was filled and its streets fair thrummed with the sound of footsteps footsteps footsteps
In all the places of the world there are those who are forgotten, about whom none live to even recall, so forgotten that their forgetting has been forgotten. They are remote, or they are marginalized and disenfranchised into invisibility, or they are the victims of some cruel and dark curse. They are left, and would be swallowed up by existence so completely that it's like they never were.
They are not, in fact, alone. The alone stand together, find one another, shoulder one another through the forgetting. They are everywhere you're not, unheard, unknown, unseen, often quite literally. They are so so many. How many people have you forgotten? How many races of beings are forgotten to history? What atrocities went unnoticed? They all come together, the survivors of forever, and they are a one and mighty people. And they come for their own, whether they want the company or not. The Left endure and swell forever, and....
out of curiosity
how many of you are alone right now?