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Ixtlilxochitl Knelt Down Crispin Best

From The Ampersand Review, Vol. 2


T h e

A m p e r s a n d

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There was something impersonal about the world. People felt it in their shins. They saw it in the ripples that blew across the surface of their soup. There was this unshrinkable distance between everyone. People wept and other people quietly watched. Still, no-one could quite put their finger on it. Ixtlilxochitl turned to his son, who was in a basket, and said, - Son, what are we to make of all this? What are we to make of this unbridgeable gap? Should we at least talk about it? His son looked up to him and gurgled. People tried everything. They ripped other people's hearts out, placed the still beating organs in a bowl and tossed the quavering bodies down stone staircases. There was still this distance. They placed the severed heads on display. They brought more people to die. They burned them. They drowned them. They hit them with whips until they died. They shot them with arrows and let them bleed and they watched. They fed the entrails to the animals in the zoo. They waited for the distance to disappear.


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They stood watching with their fingers crossed. One of them whispered to another, - Any minute now. But they were not hopeful. Ixtlilxochitl watched the people die. He turned to his son, who was in a basket, and said, - What should we do? Are we making a mistake? Why do we still feel this distance? His son opened and closed his hand. He looked at his fingers and blinked. He grabbed his bare foot and pulled it towards his mouth. Ixtlilxochitl ordered more people to be brought. In the foothills, Ixtlilxochitl was running away. He was being chased. He had made a mistake. He knew this. Ixtlilxochitl was carrying his son in his arms. He looked at his son, - Here we are. He was repeating the words. - Here we are. His son started to cry. He told his son to stop crying. His son kept crying. He told his son to stop crying. His son stopped crying. Ixtlilxochitl looked at his son and said, - Here we are.


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Ixtlilxochitl lifted his son up and placed him in the branches of a tree. He put one finger to his lips for his son to be silent. Ixtlilxochitl walked away from the tree. He made sure his son could not be seen. He started walking back down the path, toward the footsteps. He placed his sceptre on the ground. He removed his headdress. He removed his robe. Ixtlilxochitl knelt down.

Crispin Best lives in London, right next door to the house he grew up in. Cold gravy sits in a boat on the countertop because he forgot to pour it on his potatoes. He is currently putting together a collection of stories dedicated to every year since 1400. He gets a little sad when he thinks about the moon, but other than that he is ok. Please visit http://wewillallgosimultaneous. blogspot.com


Ixtlilxochitl Knelt Down, by Crispin Best