THE FOOTMAN, by W. E. Couvillier:

He’s too weak to move, lying amongst the fallen
dying from his wounds.
What a fool am I, he thinks
while waiting for the last dregs of life
to ooze from the gape in his gut.

Will a fierce Valkyrie settle from the heavens
to lift me to the Grand Hall, he wonders, doubting;
more likely for him would come a minion
from Mother Holle’s dark domain.
He clenches; his pain battles the death-haze.

He hopes he will go soon —
other cries subside; the fallen
one by one are taken to their fate
as their breath slowly stills.
He lingers, holding in his guts.

The haze grows, too slowly —
he wants it all to end.
He can hear them, there at the edge of the wood:
Scavengers wait restlessly for twilight,
waiting to pick over the fallen.

Vultures squawk as they feast
and he, he waits.
The dark ones will bring dull daggers
to draw out his death;
he prays to avoid the scavengers’ blades.

A vulture lands on the dead horse near him —
Is that — yes! His heart lifts with her descent
the scavenger cocks its head, does it hear her too?
Her song is beautiful; her wings spread, their light
pushing back the haze as her arms open, welcoming.

The vulture hops down to feed.
He enters the Valkyrie’s embrace, ecstatic.


W. E. Couvillier is a writer currently residing in Reno, Nevada. He has been an avid reader of speculative fiction since his youth and has dreamt of writing the same for nearly as long. Currently Will (as he prefers to be known) is working on a number of projects, ranging through the full genre spectrum of speculative fiction. Also, he has been known to jot down a poem or two, occasionally speculative, but more often about some real life situation he’d noticed. Will hangs out at on-line writer forums, reads books about the craft, and enjoys a good role-game and occasional CCG. He has had stories published in a number of anthologies from Hadley Rille Books, and his story ‘The Good Child’ earned honorable mention in L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future contest for 2nd Quarter, 2008.


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