Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Scene of a Hanging

The scene of a hanging:

The guilty walked slowly as their heads were covered in white linen, they could only see their feet as they awkwardly stumble walked to their hanging fate.  Their motorization restricted by tightly bound ropes which twist in the dirt and rake the skin red on their bare legs, goose pimpled from their short but cold journey.  They are covered by dirt smudged sheets, like pretend ghosts; some rank drunk offering foul repentance for any approaching onlookers, others chillingly quiet and resolved as they make their death march.  

The warden leads them one by one into a cart, led by pike and sword to be dragged behind a horse’s ass and displayed to the carnival that waits.   More indignation before the end; the town is crossed, a half mile march to the gibbet.  They can smell the thunderous aroma of horse shit; hear the gaffs of the quant village folk further condemning them, mind split between the spectacle passing by in the street and their morning choirs.  A chaplain sings verses and offers final salvation expertly ignoring the bellow of the buzzing crowd assaulting the cart from all sides, natives now thirsty to see the final act of the bloody ritual.  As the fevered pitch of slurs peaks the chaplain hits an even higher octave, until at last all singing is done, and there are no more psalms to offer.     

The noose is placed, the cart is pulled, and all hang as one.  The friends and relatives of the damned pull at their feet to ease their way to death’s embrace.  After a few moments the sky dance ends, and it is over.

But the hangman’s job is never done, he strips the clothes from the bodies of a few, sells their final fur to relatives, and the rest of the mess goes to surgeons.  Teeth are pulled by pliers and placed in decorative baubles to be used later as dentures.  The truly damned are left to hang, covered in fat and tallow, bound by heavy chains; there they rot in public until they are reclaimed by dust.