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Socrates, Unafraid

By S. A. Barton

Copyright 2013 S. A. Barton

Smashwords Edition

Find other stories by S.A. Barton on his Smashwords profile.

The cup slips from my fingers, as it always has. It shatters between my feet, losing itself on the marble as the fragments scatter, white on white. For a moment, the shards persist. Then they become faded, then translucent. Then they are gone, and I am alone. There is me, sitting before the garden that wreathes the edges of the portico in flowers, my chair, the table, the empty flagon. Were I solid, the poison would churn through my guts. I sit, regarding the nodding heads of the flowers, and imagine it burning. Instead, unseen, it nevertheless fades into invisibility, into nothingness, as the cup has.

Did it exist? Did the cup? Did I? I smack my lips at the saccharine and heavy aftertaste the poison has left as I watch yellow sulfur moths stitch unsteady paths among the dusty red of the roses. A chime sounds, high and tinkling: once, twice, thrice.

My body is ready. The chime has sounded each day as my body has stood ready, untouched, as thirty thousand days and thirty thousand cups have passed.

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