Peer Review by stormguard798 (Singapore)

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We were once brothers

By: R.j.Elsewhere


The stars began to fall faster now; a collection of combusted souls all white with woe, dripping like wax off a lit candle. The sky was near half-empty now, I couldn’t help but ponder like a child were might they end up. Will they crater the earth in faraway lands? Or hollow out the grounds of my very backyard? Or simply smash apart our neighbouring kingdoms to rubble and ruin? Maybe they were angels? High Seraphim of judgment and order ascending down to deliver us into the place which troubles the minds of every great philosopher since Man began to first ruminate. Lie I will not, that would be impressive.

Or maybe, just maybe, I was delusional from the hole in my chest and there was nothing in the sky but a lonesome moon. Blood-loss – such a nasty affair, making me see such beautiful things at my last hour. I grin. No, it was a well-deserving kind of end.

    “What are you smiling about?” That voice – so full of granite and odium; when will he ever let me have my peace? “You are dying, you fool. Bleeding out like a throat-slit pig. How can you wear such a thing while your death looms so near?”
I did my best to shrug, but drowse works likes earth on the shoulders of Atlas, and I’m weighed down. “The sky is falling, old friend. Our fortune must be rich for seeing such a sight occur at our last breath, no?”

There was no answer, no sound nor noise to indicate whether or not he agreed. Just an echo of complete Nothingness. A sort of Nothingness which left us both to soak in the carnage-air of late night, chewing on the thoughts of our own deaths – a thing so thick with fright and blood and tragedy that you could take it by the mouth like cream or jam. Sweet on the tongue the first hour, then too mouth-drying the next. Though after a handful of stolen minutes, I began to worry.

    Was I all alone?

I couldn’t hear the small inhuman gasps coming from Iago anymore, his breath had stilled in my ears – whether it be my body caving in on itself, or Iago gave his last breath to scold me on my own folly – and I feared I was truly left alone with only my open chest and a dying sky to keep my lonesome soul until I too, drifted.

    “I hate you, Othello.”

Ah, I guess I am not as alone as I thought.

    “I loathe you will all my being; with all my soul. My nightly dreams are filled with your torment while my days are spent lost in a fantasy with you on your knees, withering in agony.” Iago spat both blood and word at me like war cry, “my God how I hate you.”  

    “I know,” I said, because it was true, he did hate me. Iago hated me more than anything in this world – but it never use to be like this, all this hate and envy and bad-blood between us. There was a time where there was once amity within our hearts for the other.

    “I know you hate me, loathe me even,” It pained me to breathe, but for a foe I once called friend, I wanted peace to be with us both when judgment came. “But now we fight for each breath together because we are both stubborn-born bastards shaken by the thought of being friendless at death’s hour. So do not fill your mouth with cries of hate, but instead with babe-like awe at seeing the heaven’s fall; praying your own death will be just as superlative. ”

    “…the sky truly is collapsing.”

    “Maybe,” I say with a sly smile; stubborn may we be, but children we will always. “Or maybe God has sent his Angels of Judgment to gather our souls for discernment. Either be it that or doomsday, I hope they do away with us in a gentle fashion. I ache too much as it is.”

The blood between my teeth has started to taste of poetry and age now, and I wish to give Iago one last look.

    “I bet,” he begun, a little tired I may add. Like sleep was heavy in his throat, “that the Good Angel Gabriel will come down with that damn gold harp of his.”

    “No old friend, I bet that the Good Angel Gabriel comes down with that damn gold tunic of his, and an extra set of arms and wings included.”

Though it be faint, I hear the bitter-sweet chuckle come from the deep of Iago’s gut; it must have been agonising, seeing that I did stab him there not too long ago.

    “It will hurt wont it?”

I frown, “I hope not.”

Again he laughs at that – this time less bitter, and more sweet. Another star shakes loose from the night and perishes with Iago’s laugh, and his life; and I am alone.

    “I hope not.”

Okay so new series I'm starting/working on called, Rewriting Shakespeare. This is just a little piece between Othello and Iago watching a metro shower whilst they die. Anyways, tell me if you like it! 

Message to Readers

Rewriting Shakespeare:
~Horatio's Oath (Unedited, sorry)
~We were once brothers

Peer Review

The inevitable existential crisis that comes just about when you're doing was well-captured, and the element of desperately wanting to have no regrets was present throughout. Also like the possibility of this essentially being one long continuous dream sequence and that Othello may be just hallucinating, given the unsure, ethereal feel to his thoughts.

As someone who has no idea the background behind any of the characters, I have no background as to what happened between them - if you're re-writing Shakespeare, still be sure to include some context? It might also be interesting to provide Iago's perspective to the exact same moment to provide a contrasting attitude. However, since this is what I presume the ending, how you ended it was very effective and provides good closure.

Reviewer Comments

-Maybe try to just stick to one style of grammar - either archaic or modern - as the contrast between the two was rather disorienting.

-Consider a little more description of the scene itself beyond the actual dialogue: physical descriptions, proxemics, etc. that could help to add to the overall melancholic, final feel of the piece.