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Short story: ‘Hanging’

The condemned man –1st person point of view

I can hear the crowd screaming outside. They are calling my name, cursing it. They are demanding justice, the end of me. Justice, bah! What do they know of justice? Was it not justice what I did? The man, whose life I slowly squeezed away, deserved worse than what I did, and what will be done for me. No, this is injustice, if anything.

I can hear the footsteps of heavy boots closing in.‘It is time’, one of the guards tells me. The rusty lock on the cell door makes a cracking sound as it opens. I wonder if the last sound I will hear is going to be a crack as well, that of my own neck. ‘Stay still’, I’m being told, as half a dozen spears ready themselves to pierce my body. A small man approaches with a rope, ordering me to turn around. His voice is wavering; he seems to be afraid. I feel one of the spears tearing into my flesh as I spit at the man’s face. The little man begs for assistance and I find myself lying on the floor soon after. My hands are tied behind my back, and after someone kicks me in the head, I’m being lifted up and dragged down the hallway. My head spins from the blow and my eyes hurt for seeing the daylight. Oh, how long has it been since I felt the warmth of the sun on my face! The crowd goes wild and as I am forced to climb the stairs of the gallows I am being thrown at with rotten eggs, dead rats, stones and sticks. I do not care; the only detail drawing my attention is the noose. I do not feel scared, only mistreated. Death is certain for every single one of us, but to die in a perverted spectacle such as this is something my soul cannot withstand. I look through the noose and the space between the ropes seems blurry. Soon it will be all over. The time has come.

The hang-man – 2nd person point of view

Why should you care, you are only fulfilling your duty. No one is going to blame you for taking the man’s life. They will pat you in the back instead and call you a hero. Hero of what, you think? A hero of murder, a hero of death? But you do as you are told, and you do so without asking too many questions. You do it because that is how it is done. That is the job of a hang-man. You did not ask for this job but it is simply your turn. Everyone in the city guard will have his turn, and now it is yours. You see the crowd throwing things at the condemned, cursing him and demanding his demise. What did this man ever do to you, you ask yourself? For all you know the condemnedonly took part in a justified revenge. Something you would have done as well in his situation. You see the anger in the face of the condemned and you feel sorry for him. But the face has to be covered along with his emotions. He is to remain faceless, and as you are placing the black veil around his head, you ask for any final words. He keeps his silence and only breathes heavily, knowing that his time has come.

Grown man witnessing –3rd person point of view

It is beautiful and a warm summer day. People have gathered to a town square to see a rare happening, the hanging of a merciless killer. The condemned himself is already standing on the gallows, waiting for the noose to be fitted around his neck. The crowd is shouting profanities at the condemned and throwing him with disgusting objects. Everyone wants to see the man hanged, everyone but one. A shadowy figure is standing still in the middle of the townsfolk, waiting for something else to happen. He is waiting for a sign. Silence falls upon the crowd, the time has come. The hang-man moves to a position to pull the lever, to end the life of the condemned. A sharp whistle breaks the silence and an arrow-head pierces the hang-man’s throat. The time has indeed come. The figure in the crowd pulls his sword and slashes down the guard next to him. The crowd goes wild in panic and in a matter of seconds the whole town square is in chaos. More of the guards fall down, as perfectly aimed arrows find their targets. The condemned is quickly forgotten in the heat of the moment and the focus shifts to the shadowy figure that is now moving towards the gallows with a blood-dripping sword in his hand. Two of the remaining guards move to face the figure personally. Swords clash against one another but soon everything that is left of the guards are their slowly moaning bodies on the ground. A third one stands up from a cover, shouts out loud and charges towards the figure, only to receive three arrows to his chest. The shadowy figure quickly moves next to the condemned and cuts the rope around his neck. There is no time to unleash his hands as the echoing sound of a dozen iron boots draws closer. The condemned looks confused, but by now he has realized that his time did not yet come to pass. He is led to a nearby alleyway and quickly pulled inside one of the houses. The veil is finally lifted and the two men meet face to face. Only that the savior of the condemned is no man, but a woman. The woman he thought of being dead. The woman whose death he avenged and the reason why he just came so close on losing his own life. The woman draws a smile on her face and lets the condemned take a moment, to realize what just happened. But the town is still in turmoil and they are anything but safe yet. No more words are being exchanged, both of them know better. They hear the guards passing the house who do not seem to know where to look. When the sounds of boots slowly fade away, the house door is opened and the only one witnessing two shadowy figures escaping the scene is a little girl feeding a horse.

Published inCreative Writing

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