He Stands in Front of the Mirror…

Posted on Jan 9, 2012

He stands in front of the mirror and looks into his own eyes, as he might look into the eyes of a stranger. He wonders if his father’s eyes were as dark.

His breathing is remarkably even, he thinks. It is important to show the other three that he is not afraid. The younger two are very nervous, he knows, though they are trying not to show it. Particularly his brother. Death is a man’s business, and they want to prove they are men too. They’ve already dressed and prepared. Are waiting for him outside.

He takes his sash and presses it lightly to his lips, then winds it around his waist. He mumbles a short prayer as he does. As he always does. It fills him with a sense of calm. There has been so much crowding his head these last few days. Train time-tables. Maintaining secrecy. Police movements. And that vision of the wrecked train. The roar of it spilling off the rails as its sides splinter. The cries and scream of bodies lying askew in the mud.

Blood and steel, he thinks. That’s what he needs to show them with. It will be a signal to his people that they will not endure oppression any more. Will not endure the police harassment and the perpetual prejudice of those in power against them.

He mutters a curse upon those he sees as his oppressors. Then he takes another deep breath. It has been so difficult to plan for it all. So easy for it to go wrong.

He dresses quickly, strapping the body armour they have fashioned to his chest. It is heavy with the weight of metal and the power of destruction. He has told the other three that these garments will protect them, not kill them. Will ensure their destiny.

He leans forward and fits a small woollen cap onto his head. He thinks of his sister who has knitted it for him. He is glad she is not here today. She is too headstrong to keep from wanting to join him. He whispers a prayer for her.

Then he covers his face leaving only his eyes showing. He imagines how a photograph of himself would look. It would be something his mother would like to have. Something to remember him by. A shot of the four of them. Standing together. Faces hidden, but eyes blazing like bright stars in a winter night’s sky.

It’s the picture that all the newspapers would run. They wouldn’t ignore him this time. They’d know the full force of his words. Would sit up and listen. Words are dead until we give them life with our blood, he thinks.

He takes a final long deep breath and lets it out slowly.

It’s time.

He steps out into the other room and looks at his three friends. Steve Hart. Joe Byrne. And his younger brother, Dan Kelly.

‘Alright lads,’ he says. He can hear the intermittent shots of police surrounding the small hotel in the dark. He clangs his pistol but onto his metal chest plate. ‘Let’s send ‘em to hell!’


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