Gladiator

Debris of the crumbled columns were everywhere…the pieces of a once beautiful edifice lie on the ground…Despite the wreckage, it’s evident that the architecture of the structures that once stood there were astounding. Glints of gold shine among the wreck as the sun’s rays strike them… There’s no chaos more beautiful than this one. The perfect ratios, the symmetry, the stability, the magnificence, the grandness, the foundation—nobody would have imagined such perfection to sink into oblivion. Dust and smoke filled the air…exaggerating the havoc. An acrid smell hung loosely in the air—burnt flesh…blood…the putrefying smell of death itself… It might have been Rome…the ruins of a rich empire makes it look like Rome…

From a distance, you’ll see a shadow…You’d need to squint to be able to see—a slow-moving-figure engulfed in smoke and dust and soot. Everything else is lifeless…and the moving figure looks just as lifeless as everything else…almost like an apparition…a mirage…but IT is alive. (it’s more appropriate to use IT instead of he/she because IT looks more like a pair of clothes dancing through the breeze than a human being). The shadow took numerous steps…even from a distance they seemed agonizing…The shadow endured them…nonetheless… IT might have been a Roman…the bravery and strength and will of Romans throughout the history and stories and myths makes IT look like a Roman…

There were guttural cries echoing…exasperating sighs filling the voidness…sounds of small stones crushing beneath someone’s feet—the only signs of life from IT…The figure got closer…walking away from the chaos. Alas! IT is a girl!!! She might have been a Gladiator…no, she doesn’t have the armor, or the shield, or the sword, or anything else…she doesn’t even have the energy to walk and it’s a miracle how she mustered to take those steps…She’s a walking-bruises-and-wounds…each one looks more painful than the other. Still, I can tell…she is a gladiator…a champion of her people…a champion in her own little ways…

As soon as she left that beautiful mess where she was found…she started to blend in. There is indeed something beautiful that can spring from the ruins…In her own little actions, she never lose the ‘Gladiator’ blood in her veins…She doesn’t need a colosseum…or a skilled warrior and killer as her opponent…or the roaring cheer of heartless people…She only needs her animal-like fighting spirit…She’s a predator refusing to be a prey… She’s a prey acting like a predator…

Her life is a long, unending combat…She emerges from her daily battles wounded but never defeated…She made a mental list of all her plans and dreams—all of which has a corresponding fight she has to win…all of which is a level higher and harder than the previous one…But, she’s a Gladiator…she’d rather get killed fighting…than doing nothing at all…She’d rather be the ‘show’, rather than sitting and sinking and blending with the crowd to just watch it. She became obsessed of it—not the battles…but the victories…She wanted more…she couldn’t stop now…not ever.

She has to tackle the drudgeries single-handedly and throw them to the ground like a weightless rag doll. She has to dodge the blows and strike the unseen opponent…She gets thrown to the ground so many times…and getting up is always harder than the last one… But she is a Gladiator. She’ll keep on standing up even if she’s getting beaten up to a pulp…

Sometimes, it gets to her…You know, a life-long combat is exhausting even for a fighter…even if she happened to defeat her opponent today…it will resurface again tomorrow. How can you fight an immortal?— a darkness that never dies…a negativity that never leaves… She’s unstoppable though…She’s addicted to victories that even when she can no longer think straight, it fills her brains…She’s restless…She’s fixated on attaining her next dreams…

She took off her helmet, she removed her armour, she threw her shield down, she put down her sword…She stood on the battlefield as bare and as bold as she could ever be…she exposed her vulnerability…her flesh inviting arrows and blows…She’s fearless…or that’s what she wants people to see her at least…She held her head up, just like what a warrior should…

She bolted…she ran towards the enemy as she pretended that she’s not shaking in fear…exhausted beyond words…She ran faster…and she pretended that there’s nothing within her but that animal fighting spirit…She ran faster—faster than she ever had—towards her enemy…and before the collision, she shouted…no, scratch that, “I”…I shouted… I AM A GLADIATOR…I AM ‘THAT’ GLADIATOR…from the ruins… and into the ruins… and the ruin itself…I AM HER.

-AA

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