A Gladiator's Freedom

Written by: Andrea Dietrich

On sand soaked with blood, two young men are breathing hard. The taller one has armor, a sword and a net. His opponent has only an arm guard and a dagger, but no encumbrance. Thus, moving quicker, this man avoids the constant thrusts of the taller one’s sword. Finding his chance, he lunges and his dagger pierces through unprotected flesh. Crimson red blood gushes forth from the tall man’s thick midriff. The crowd screams delight! Spurred on by their approval, the shorter man strikes again. This time his dagger finds muscle, sinew and bone. Hot pain consumes the tall man, but he can't cry out. His life blood is draining and the net and sword are useless. By oath he is bound to endure a violent death. . . and so he lifts his finger. To his friend - his opponent - he offers his throat. No mercy handkerchiefs wave. The editor gives thumbs down. As his fellow man buries the blade in his throat, a young man embraces death. The death of this slave is the gladiator’s lot. Another slave lives today, but his death also is imminent; then he too will finally know freedom. For Amy Green's Choka for a Chokehold Poetry Contest