pauper's grave

Obligatory Depressing Barricade Day Fic

So it’s mid exam season but I couldn’t just not do anything, so I tried my best to get this finished. It’s not great and I haven’t had much time to eat dit it and I’m just posting on mobile but I’ll gl back and fix it later. I hope it’s not too terrible.
Trigger warnings for gore, character death and mentions of torture.

The gunshots had stopped. As much as it should have been a blessing, it terrified him. Why would the guards have stopped taking potshots if there was still anyone alive? They /had/ to be alive, he couldn’t accept anything else.

Montparnasse was no stranger to horrific scenes, in fact at times he had even been known to find them rather beautiful. Blood spatter could, on occasion, make a far more beautiful pattern than most artists, and there was an elegance he could not deny in a slashed throat. There was no elegance in the scene surrounding him at that moment, the streets soaked in so much blood it painted the cobbles scarlet and bodies tossed around as though they were nothing at all. The first thing his eye was drawn to was the corpse hanging out of the window- a pretty thing who’s name he’d never actually discovered. No matter what it was though, there was no question that the blonde was dead. What a waste. There were eight bullet holes tearing through that gaudy vest of his (just by looking it was obvious it was one of Jehan’s creations) with the blood from them running in lines down his still-beautiful face.

The kid was barely older than him, but he couldn’t help but look on the grisly scene and at the very least be happy that the captain had gone down with his ship. He stared at the body for a moment longer, taking the time to cover its face with the cloth still clutched desperately in one hand, partly out of sympathy, and partly because of how angry it made him that his flower had gotten caught up in this naive pretty boy’s idiotic schemes. He didn’t think he’d be able to help himself if he found them amongst the mutilated corpses in the rubble.

Of all the bodies he’d prepared himself to see, the small child slumped on the front of the barricade was not one of them. Though he was dressed as one and had a pistol at his belt he could never have been mistaken for a man. Even with the large chunk blown out of his face he knew who it was. He’d given Gavroche that coat, finding it in the house of some bourgeoisie, and finding it fit the undernourished boy rather well despite the hardships that he had been through compared to the spoiled young man who had clearly worn it before him. His left eye was entirely missing, blasted out of existence by the same bullet that had torn away most of the back of his skull, leaving what was left of his corpse bloodied and crumbled over the mess of broken furniture. He couldn’t look for very long, each glance highlighting some new horror- a few fingers of the boys left hand had been blown clear off by another shot, leaving exposed bone where his flesh had been torn away from the once-deft appendages.

It took everything that he had not to look away and try and pretend not to see him, because God knows Gav would have kicked his ass for doing it, so he actually moved the boy, scooping his mutilated form up and laying him down properly on one of the tables of a nearby shop which seemed to have been turned into a base by some of the guards. It’s inhabits were nowhere to be seen, and there were no bodies in there, though there were a couple of knives still left on the floor, glinting in the early morning night and still covered in drying blood, showing that despite the lack of bodies there certainly had been death, or at the very least torture, in there. It was not ideal, but it was better than leaving him slumped over the failed barricade. He laid him down gently on one of the tables, and found a slightly bloody sheet to cover him in, the whole time attempting to detach from the whole awful situation.
“I’m sorry, kid.” He murmured, forcing himself to begin to step away. If he stayed longer he’d cry, and god dammit he was not the kind of man who cried at stuff like this. Gav was a nice kid, he didn’t deserve to die like that, but hey, at least he went quick, which was better than could be said for most of the poor fuckers scattered around.

He’d always held a glimmer of respect for people like Bahorel, so seeing his corpse pale and so clearly lifeless sent a strange pang through him, though not so much that he would have stopped for it. Of all of them so far, his death was the only one with any semblance of elegance. Rather than those grotesque bullet holes blowing away chunks of bone and flesh these soldiers were so fond of, he bore three stab wounds at his breast, with blood blossoming out over the front of a once-fashionable waistcoat. Old fashioned, but far more beautiful than anything he could have afforded honestly. He might have taken it, but the blood had ruined it already and so he didn’t bother to touch it, seeing no sense getting his hands even dirtier than he already had.

The next man was someone he recognised, though not just from his silly endeavours with Prouvaire and his friends. Despite how many years he had been away from that place and how hard he had attempted to suppress the memories there were still a handful of vague suggestions in his mind about a copper haired child in the next bed to him at that dreadful orphanage. There was a brief moment upon first seeing him when he’d feared the worst, but upon closer inspection the fan makers hair was more copper than the fiery orange of Prouvaire’s, and it was shorter, since he doubted it would be practical to have long hair falling in your eyes when engaged in such delicate work. Montparnasse did move this one, though only to check the little gamin whom he had been protecting when he was shot and was now laying on top of had not survived- which he hadn’t, if the wound in his stomach was anything to go by. He covered the man’s face with his cap, before quickly moving on, ignoring the gamin all together. He couldn’t be distracted by childish sentiments now. Prouvaire was his only concern.

Another corpse stood out, since someone seemed to have tried to help him after the fatal shot to the throat, if the bandage wound around them was anything to go by. He wondered why they would waste bandages on such a hopeless case, assuming it must have been a close friend doing it. The only distinguishing feature left of him, however, was the lack of hair on the man’s head, since his facial features caved in and ruined by soldiers scrambling over his corpse to execute his friends with seemingly no care at all he’d once been human. It was odd really for Montparnasse to even care about that, after all he’d left so many bodies dumped in his wake, often with no more cause than the desire for some pretty trinket, and yet this was so indelicate and inhumane it shocked even him. People of honour were capable of such cruelty.

Searching the barricade proved fruitless, and so he was forced inside, uncovering two bodies left on back tables in the musain, an old man who Montparnasse had not known and therefore had no real desire to see, and a dear friend with a bullet tearing through her tattered clothing and her more tattered body. Montparnasse recovered her very quickly, unable to look into those glassy eyes a moment longer than he had to. If he looked too long then he would not have had the resolve to leave her unburied, and he did not have time if he was to have any hope of finding them alive. He apologized to her corpse, but left it laying there on a table, resolving that he would reunite her with her brother and bury the two of them together when he was given the chance to do so. Better than letting them be tossed into some paupers grave as their mother already had been.

The stairs had been obliterated, but that was no cause of concern for a man such as Montparnasse who was well used to spiriting in through the windows of wealthy houses in the dead of night. He moved as a phantom, pulling himself into the upper floors and still searching desperately. Three bodies, non of them armed, made his climb a little more difficult. He sent one of them crashing down to the bottom floor of the shop once more as he grabbed it in place of a solid hold on the top floor, taking a moment to check it wasn’t them, and relaxing some what when he saw a slight man with a mop of dark curls, the handle of a sword clutched in one hand with the blade long since snapped away, and a bullet lodged firmly in his chest, as well as another leaving his foot mangled. At least it wasn’t them, and not were the two others laying at the top, since he found on closer inspection a slight young man who looked hardly more than a boy with a small bundle of bandages still clutched in one hand, and a far taller man wearing broken specials who seemed to have been trying to protect the others judging by the amount of bullet damage to his body compared to the others. Montparnasse tried not to disturb the other corpses, a little annoyed that he’d already pushed one of them over the edge. One glance around the room revealed only the bodies of goldilocks and his pet drunk slumped near the window.
Still no Prouvaire, but no body either. Perhaps they’d managed to escape.

The leader, the drunk, the doctors, the angry one, the clumsy one, the excitable one, the worker, the girl and the gamin. And yet no poet. It should have been a good thing. A miracle. So why on earth couldn’t he feel any of the hope which should have been creeping into his system?

He scrambled back down the skeleton of the staircase, this time careful to avoid the corpse at the foot of it, and stepped out into the street once more, refusing to look back in the direction of the wine shop and see blondie’s obnoxious face again. He’d caused so much carnage with his pretty words- and all for what? There was no pay off worth this.

Taking to a side street away from the barricade, down the side of the shop where he had left Gavroche’s bullet ridden body. He had not expected to see anything, except perhaps the body of a soldier or two who had been brought here to avoid being mutilated after their deaths in the same way many of the children of the barricades themselves had been, and so at first upon seeing the body lying abandoned there he did not run to it. As he got closer through the darkening ally, however, one thing stood out. That atrocious outfit was not the uniform of a guard, and he recognised it even through the amount of blood.

That was when his world collapsed.

He could still see the poet (his poet) standing there that morning, buttoning the gaudy waistcoat over the too-large white shirt which had once been Montparnasse’s. As every morning Montparnasse had chided them for their lack of good sense in their choice, and had moved over to help them tie their cravat (Prouvaire was still hopeless at it even with all of Montparnasse’s teachings) and they had shared a light kiss. He had said his piece the night before, about why he hoped they Jehan would have the good sense to stay away from the barricades, and yet his poet was still going.
“I will be back, my dear,” they didn’t make their unkeepable promise binding, rather allowing the words to hang in the air as Montparnasse pulled them into a much deeper kiss than what he would usually have done. The last he would ever give the one who had brought sunshine back into his life after living most of it in the darkness of poverty and crime.

The gaudy yellow pattern was not much helped by the drying blood saturating it, and yet it was the state of the man’s skin concerning him more. It was lacerated hundreds of times, from small cuts to stab wounds running all the way through his hands. Two fingers of his right hand were totally severed while the eight remaining were snapped wildly out of place, bending back on themselves in a way they never should have been able to. Upon closer inspection their foot was mangled as though crushed under a soldier’s boot repeatedly, and their arms both seemed to be broken in numerous places. It spoke of beatings and torture much worse than anything experienced by the others, and it made bile rise on Montparnasse throat to know how much they’d suffered. Their glassy eyes stared up at the sky from out of a freckled face left pallid from blood loss, and Montparnasse found himself on his knees by their side within moments, a broken sound escaping as all semblance of callousness was removed, and he pulled the long dead poet up into his lap.

He’d said his goodbyes in private, the moment that Prouvaire had left the house he’d malnourished collapsed under the crushing weight of the realisation that they were lost to him, and yet knowing it and being permitted to grieve privetly and actually seeing his lover stretched out bloody and broken were two very different thing and he found that where his chest had been heavy with grief all day now it felt more as though he had been ripped open and the white hot agony of loss wouldn’t ever go away. Jehan had suffered, the bullet in their stomach would have left them to bleed out, looking up at the stars and knowing that they were alone. They should never have been alone.

He remained until he was forced to flee the scene when guards came back to retrieve the bodies of the wealthy and by the time he returned Prouvaire was gone, taken back to the family they had worked so hard to escape in life, and the only bodies he could recognise which lay unclaimed were Gavroche, Eponine, the worker, the drunk and the leader (who, though wealthy, he presumed had brought far too much shame on the family to be reclaimed, as well as the bald one, already too far gone for recognition.

He knew as soon as he found the body gone he would not see them again, and yet he couldn’t bring himself to leave the spot they’d killed him,‘sitting with the gore soaking into his clothing without a thought in his mind except for them. As time passed Babet would finally track him down and drag the sleepless dandy home before he could fulfil his promise to burry the abandoned.

Once his silent visual was abandoned, the only trace of the poet which remained in that God forsaken place aside from the blood bleeding into the cobbles was the rose which had once sat proudly in Montparnasse’s hole laying on the bloody street an utterly unremarkable gift, for a truly remarkable person.

The Weirdest Trial in History,

One of the Popes of the 9th century, Pope Formosus’ reign was fraught with war, chaos, and political intrigue.  During his five year reign Formosus made many enemies, among them was his successor, Stephen VI.  Pope Stephen hated Formosus so much, that he would take weird to a whole new level in order to exact revenge on his former enemy.

In January of 897, about seven months after Formosus’ death, Pope Stephen ordered Formosus’ corpse exhumed from its grave and put on trial.  In what would become known as the “Cadaver Synod”, Pope Stephen charged Formosus with a number of crimes including perjury and having ascended the Papacy illegally.  During the trial, Formosus’ rotting corpse was propped up on a throne and clothed in Papal vestments.  Stephen himself acted as prosecutor while a church deacon was appointed to serve as Formosus’ defense attorney.  While judges were appointed from local priests, the synod amounted to nothing more than a show trial in which Stephen maniacally screamed, raved, and hurled insults at the dead corpse.  Formosus’ was declared guilty on all charges.  As punishment, his corpse was stripped of its Papal vestments, three fingers on its right hand were removed (the fingers used to conduct blessings), and all orders issued by Formosus’ were nullified.  Formosus’ corpse was buried in an unmarked paupers grave.  Later it was again disinterred and cast into the Tiber River.  

The Cadaver Synod turned out to be Stephen VI’s undoing, as the people of Rome were too weirded out by his bizarre and insane behavior.  He was quickly deposed and imprisoned, where he was strangled to death during the night.  In the meantime Formosus’ corpse had been recovered from the Tiber and reburied in its proper grave at St. Peters Basilica.  The next Pope, John IX, nullified the Cadaver Synod and issued a Papal decree banning the trial of a dead person.

a love song for the handprints in the Pech Merle caves (pt. 2)

Did you know that Genghis Khan 
met a scribe and fell in love
with the way words tie things down? 
He had them draw up the laws 
of his Mongols in blue-bound books,
because blue is the color of the sky;
and to the khan of horsemen and great 
broad steppes of grass, the sky was holy.
So is the law, so are all things 
that tie man to man to man.

For every mummy, carving,
cave painting, scroll, tablet,
or footprint that we find
there are those that have been lost–
washed away, sand-scoured, 
worn-down, decomposed, 
collapsed, overwritten. 
For every story passed down,
every exquisite tomb,
there are men dead unsung,
paupers’ graves,
lovers unrecorded 
whose lovers are unrecorded 
whose children are unrecorded
but not unmourned.

Wrap things in sky, because everything you love 
should be as watched over 
as the rolls and rolls of grassy earth. 
Press your hand up against the cave wall,
dripping, and leave a mark. 
Wait for the storms to come, 
the earthquakes and the burrowing things. 
Wait to be lost, and press your hand up, 
watch the color dry. 
No matter what will come, 
unmade or not, found or forgotten,
listen to the silence tell you:
this is yours, here, now, forever.

—  ejl.

Tokyo Dream Yoshiwara Jinja BC#➒

BC#➒ TOKYO DREAM/Yoshiwara Jinja-Yoshiwara: 300 years as Tokyo’s biggest red-light districtIn 1956, Japan’s Anti Prostitution Act shut down Yoshiwara, easily Tokyo’s most infamous red light area. For the previous three centuries, this neighborhood northeast of Asakura had been one of only a handful of licensed vice districts tolerated by the authorities. Over its long working life, Yoshiwara was home to the courtesans in decadent robes who were depicted in the ukiyoe of Kitagawa Utamaro and the charming, difficult women of Nagai Kafu’s novels and diaries. Poetry of the time often compared the women to cherry blossoms, alluding to both their beauty and their short lives. Inscribed on the wall at Jyokanji, the 350-year-old temple where some 20,000 prostitutes were interred in paupers’ graves, is the saying: “Birth is pain, death is Jyokanji. Read Tim Dunleaveys review of Tokyo Dream @ DNB◉UNITED.COMVandergrift, Pennsylvania, population 5200, is a town in Southwestern, PA. Once home to the largest sheet steel mill in the world, it exists entirely within a peninsula jutting into the Allegheny River. One suspects it also inhabits a place and time within the artist. This is a love song to a memory, or maybe a semi-sweet lament for a simpler time of playful youth. Two vocalizations flow in and out of the music, one sounds, to me at least, like the word Home.
From the start, “Vandergrift” demands your immediate attention.

First, the song makes an announcement, after which it drives ,then rests, then drives again. Every seven bars of pounding beats is followed by a soaring interlude that includes a voice that often exclaims…Home. Then, having caught our breath we jump back into the hard driving verse. We repeat the cycle long enough to internalize the sounds and feelings that BC#9 seeks to share with us, at which point we are brought back slowly. “Vandergrift” then ends as it began, only this time announcing itself to the world.
There is a video of “Vandergrift” at DNB UNITED.COM. It’s a compelling montage of real and surreal images that move at the same frenetic pace as the music. The first half of the video invokes the industrial past of its namesake town with a late 20th century sci-fi theme, then pushes into the present and all of its big city consumerism. It’s a wild ride, check it out.
This is a strong entry by an established artist, BC9, and a strong launch for DNB UNITED RECORDS. The label is promising to be a positive force for unity in the often fractious world of musical performance and recording. Let’s face it; the competition sometimes causes us to be our own worst enemies. Cheers to BC9 and DNB United Records, and to all they hope to accomplish in the future. Buy Link: