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A Gladiator's Death

Written by Matt S

1

Regret.

The gladiator had made a fatal mistake. The opponent
had charged him wielding two short swords. The
gladiator, armed with a sword in his right hand and a
round shield in his left, had stood ready to fend off
the fury. The opponent attacked high with his left
hand, bringing his sword down overhead with remarkable
swiftness and power. The gladiator had raised his
shield high, partially blocking out the piercing sun.
The bronze of the shield rose and met the oncoming
sword in a collision of metal, letting loose a crack of
thunder and showering the fighters with scorching
shards of metal. The gladiator's grip, already weakened
from a gash running down his left forearm, nearly
faltered at the impact. Waves of pain shot through him
as his body absorbed the force of the blow, sending
slight tremors throughout his tried and weary body. His
grip survived and the opponent's sword recoiled and
bounced off the surface of the shield. The gladiator,
in the instant after the collision, had realized the
error of his move. His left arm was stretched high
above his head and across his body to block the attack,
leaving his midsection on the left half of his torso
entirely exposed to the blade in the opponent's right
hand. Before the gladiator could react and recover, the
opponent struck.

The eyes of the opponent went wide with lust as he saw
his opportunity. The gladiator had seen his eyes, two
moons glowing bright in the dark created by the
opponent's helmet. The blade rushed through the air as
the opponent hurled his massive right arm at the
gladiator's torso. The sword made contact with the
gladiator's stomach, a few inches above and even
farther to the side of his navel. Flesh split and
organs ripped as the weapon drove itself across his
abdomen, hardly losing any speed. Hot blood flowed out
of the opening, painting him red. The sword had
finished its trail of death, flicking drops of blood as
it left the gladiator's stomach and the opponent's arm
finished the slicing motion.

Now the gladiator paused, frozen in time and disbelief.
The hot blood began to trickle down his abdomen. The
roar of the crowd rose to a deafening crescendo of
excitement and joy. The gladiator felt his legs give
way and fell to his knees. The sand stuck to his
sweat-laden body as his body sank down to the floor of
the pit.

The opponent

2

stepped back now, turned around to face
the crowd, raising his arms in victory. His work was
done, he knew. The danger was over for him, for awhile
at least.
The defeated body of the gladiator lay on its side, its
lungs still sucking in the thick air as it struggled
for life. The piercing sun beat down on the gladiator's
head. Slowly, he reached his hand up and removed his
helmet, rolling it away. His matted hair came to rest
on the sand. All he could see now was the feet of his
opponent and the crowd that had come to watch him die.
The arena became a background blur as the gladiator
turned his eyes to the sand. Breathing was becoming
more and more difficult as his life slowly drained from
him. His head became clouded and dizzy.

Darkened sand from both blood and sweat surrounded the
gladiator. With all the strength he could muster, he
rolled onto his back and loosened his breast-plate. His
stomach was now a pool of deep red blood. The air was
not coming to him anymore, seeming to run away from him
in all directions. Peace, not panic, swept over the
gladiator as he let his eyelids rest for the last time.
The last perception the gladiator had was of his last
few breaths. The heat, crowd, sweat, pain, blood, arena
- became nothing. All he knew then was the slow in and
out of his breath. Then, it stuttered, the rhythm lost.
His last breath vanquished, and the darkness came over
him.


And so the day was done,
The people's bloodlust had won.
In a time when exhibition fighting reigned,
Glory and virtue was often feigned.


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I like this. It paints a really good picture of
struggle and death. The very last line "Glory and
virtue was often feigned" might better read
"...were often..."...





Nice piece of work there.