Hey guys, so this is a Les Mis fanfic that I originally wrote as part of my english course at school. I hope you enjoy it! Please fave/follow/review, etc. Thanks y'all!
Glass crunched under my foot as I gingerly crossed the wooden floor. Outside, women washed the blood off the cobblestones - as if it was a mere stain on clothing. Like clearing away the red would restore the grey canvas of their streets, like erasing the sacrifice of my friends would bring their country peace. The evidence of my comrades' bravery - the blood my brothers have spilt - would be hidden from the eyes of the people they died for, the people who abandoned them, closed the door in their faces, when they needed help the most.
"Did you see them going off to fight,
Children of the barricade who didn't last the night?
Did you see them lying where they died?
Someone used to cradle them and kiss them when they cried.
Did you see them lying side-by-side?"
My brothers and sisters, vertical, at attention. Lined up in neat little rows on the floors of the city - the city they loved and adored - the city who shied away from the thunder and lightning of battle - the city who deserted her children when they screamed for mercy, for reprieve. Brave, hopeful students, who were reduced to nameless corpses, festering on the thoroughfares of their childhood. No one would remember their names. Why should they? They were anonymous pawns on the losing side, after all. Enjolras' audacious voice echoed in the room: "Who cares about your lonely soul? We strive towards a larger goal, our little lives don't count at all!" Well, my friend, I will remember you. All of you.
Enjolras, Combeferre, Jehan, Grantaire, Joly, Bahorel, Courfeyrac, Busset, Gavroche, Eponine… My friends, my friends. Dead - in their bloodstained rosettes; coloured like our flag; awash with human ichor.
They died in a tautologistic order. In a pulsing, periodic pattern, they died. One after another.
My heart clenched in agony. Breathing became a task. I stood in that room, where we used to laugh and drink. But now… now the only liquid to be found is blood and tears.
I sat heavily in a chair. An empty chair - at an empty table - in an empty room. One where my brothers once sang the most cacophonous of songs. Their boyish voices harmonising to the beat of their passions and the rhythm of their belief. Here, there used to be so much life and sound. Now, the silence was too oppressing, too constricting. I opened my mouth and began to sing, voice tight and fragile.
"There's a grief that can't be spoken,
There's a pain goes on and on.
Empty chairs at empty tables,
Now my friends are dead and gone."
Enjolras' face appeared in my peripheral. I didn't dare turn to stare at my boy - my friend. Out of the shattered window, he stood on the brow of the barricade, his hair a blonde halo as his rose coloured flag fluttered like an angel's wings. He was cheering, elated in his speech. He was shouting. His voice calling to others. He hung a banner of melody, depicting the wonder of revolution. Fighting for our freedom. The glory and peace we could achieve. And he called me naive. His youthful naivete lost in the sea of red: his crimson blood, his ruby coat, his scarlet banner. They say his body was draped over the windowsill: a red flag of defeat.
"Here they talked of revolution,
Here it was they lit the flame,
Here they sang about tomorrow and tomorrow never came."
I saw Gavroche - the little scoundrel. He stood in the far corner of the room, perched on his dwarf-sized throne of tables, which now lay in splinters on the floor. He was a boy, a babe. He was laughing, his voice rose among the older men, with his powerful accent and furiously flapping flag. He was our little Hermes, our messenger, our trickster, our best scout. I remember his bravery, as he crawled through the barricade, valiant in his effort to retrieve gunpowder and bullets from the dead. I remember the musket ball piercing his little body as if it was I who was shot. And yet, he still moved - still fought. Foolish child. His voice rose in defiance one last time, before being cut off by a second shot.
(There were two coffins built into the barricade: a large red one and a smaller blue one. How morbidly fitting. I remembered with a fond yet disconsolate clarity Enjolras' bold red tunic and Gavroche' constantly dirty blue jacket. Oh, fate is cruel.)
"From the table in the corner,
They could see a world reborn,
And they rose with voices ringing,
And I can hear them now
The very words that they have sung
Became their last communion
On this lonely barricade, at dawn."
Tears ran unbidden down my face as I saw Eponine, beautiful, loyal, poor Eponine. She stood before me, wearing a smile that made me tremble in pain. Dressed in her plain brown clothes, the only splash of colour was her proud tricolour boutonniere. My fingers spasmed as I recalled holding my Eponine in that rain. That gentle, caressing rain. We sang together about flowers and heaven's salty tears. She reached for my face, brushing my skin with her shaking fingers, before the life left her battered body. I think it was then that I realised that she loved me - enough to die for me. The tears that I shed then once more made their appearance known as I felt my cheeks become wet with my sorrow.
"Oh my friends, my friends, forgive me,
That I live and you are gone.
There's a grief that can't be spoken,
There's a pain goes on and on."
I stood, unable to bear to be the only one sitting here. The only one left. I survived with nothing but a broken arm when my friends were dead: shot to ribbons; mutilated by canonfire; torn apart by swords.
Ashamed of my wretchedly lucky fate, angry at my continued existence, grieving for everything that I lost, my voice raised to a thunderous volume, filling the room with my emotions - but my stentorian voice was muted by my heavy woe. As I turned to face the room again, before my eyes the others manifested from the shadows. The other people I had dishonored by surviving.
"Phantom faces at the window,
Phantom shadows on the floor,
Empty chairs at empty tables where my friends will meet no more."
I could see them: diaphanous bodies and translucent clothing, dancing and moving. I could hear them: raised voices and spontaneous, contagious laughter. But I could not taste anything but my tears on my lips and on my tongue. I could not feel their bodies pressed against mine in a celebration of camaraderie, nor their hand on my back. I could not smell anything but the stifling odour of smoke and blood. They were no longer here to summon up my will to live, to carry on. I had Cosette, my dear, sweet Cosette, but she doesn't know the hardships we had to endure here, in this wooden cemetery.
This one building, which housed their happiness and their deaths, stood silent as the dead themselves. My cries of anguish shook the foundations of this fragile hollow, as the ghosts of my friends shifted around me.
"Oh my friends, my friends don't ask me
What your sacrifice was for
Empty chairs at empty tables
Where my friends will sing no more."
Enjolras, forgive me for abandoning you.
Gavroche, forgive me for not protecting you.
Eponine, forgive me for not loving you back.
My brothers, forgive me for failing you.
As I stood at the door, ready to leave all my pain locked away up here, my eyes listlessly roamed across the space. The empty chairs at empty tables stood silent, still, soundless. No more. I closed the door behind me.