The Gallows

The young man had started to believe it was no coincidence that the hanging hill was placed directly across town from the Baron’s dwelling. The dwelling had been a heightened point of judicial inquiry, or, rather, corporal punishment until proven indistinguishable within your own eyes when given a mirror.

This young man watched as the Baron ambled towards the door, grinning back with crippling hate for the young man, a man who felt, although he couldn’t be completely sure, he had done nothing wrong.

The doors gave to the Baron’s force and blinding light filled the young man’s eyes, stinging and blinding for  short, anxious period. The cross from the steeple across town was the first thing to come into view, but tucked behind the steeple was the end of the road. It was the hanging hill.

Although his legs has been striped many times in the last few weeks, walking was as easy as breathing, if not instinctual. A part of this young man struggled to stay alive, but the other part of him had seen just how cruel this new world had truly been and \ started to feel that sometimes there are fates worse than death.

The placement of the hill seemed to such a perfect absolution. Once you knew it was final, stepping through the doors of the Baron’s house was a strange welcomed feeling.

He began his last journey.

The Baron walked ahead with his broad shoulders cocked back to hold out his chest, almost as if he was proclaiming a trophy. ‘But, who could blame him,’ the young man thought idly. ‘It’s not every day you find someone who ended the world.’ This is what the young man had been told, anyways.

Down the wide strip of main street, between the Baron’s dwelling and the hanging hill, a few thousand people had lined the streets. The young man welcomed their silence; he had heard enough shouting to last the rest of his short life. Their looks of equally crippling hate, however, were welcomed by the Baron.

They had gathered, all dressed in clothing as tattered as the buildings at the edge of town, to watch the dweller make his last walk. No sorrow was written across the faces of any of them. The townsfolk, the people from the hills, and even some of the rebels all glared as the young man passed.

His pants, rags before, had been striped with his legs, stained with furling patterns of crimson and reduced to sailing flags that had hardly stayed put. His shirt was nothing more than a hanging drape, masking the harsh cuts and bruises left by the Baron’s goons. His hair had been mangled, overlaying bald patches where the goons had tried for skins. His face was a ripe swell.

After struggling to the hill, a quarter mile walk for the Baron’s doors, the young man was dragged the rest of the way up the platform and brought to his knees. ‘Thanks for the ride, boys,’ he thought. The masses gathered round.

“I see the hate in your eyes,” the Baron said, “but make no mistake. I know some may feel a pity for this young man. It’s in the nature of the good people throughout the wastes to feel such remorse. But, this young man,” he continued, staring at the crowd and pointing at the broken remains that swayed with each breath, “is not to be pitied. He knew what was happening, yet he pressed onward in the pursuit of appealing to false gods. I only think it’s fair to ask him a final question.”

The Baron looked back at the young man, lowering his hand and dropping to look at the young man face-to-face. With a guttural gruff, The Baron whispered slowly “Where are your gods now, boy?”There was more than twisted hate in his voice. There was anger present as well.

The Baron and the young man looked out to the crowd. The Baron shouted, “WHERE ARE YOUR GODS NOW?!”

The crowd started to join in.

“Where are your gods now . . . Where are your gods now . . . Where are your gods now!?”

The sound was droning, whining on into as sea of hate and jeering pleasure. The young man would have finished the job himself if he was given the means, i only to spare his ears from hearing the ignorance any longer, but, as the thought crossed his mind, he started to hear something spread within the whine. It was low at first, very low, then started to soften the sounds of the crowd’s jeering

“Where are your gods now . . . where are your gods . . now . . . Where . . . are . . . you—”

The young man heard it first because he wanted nothing more than something new. The crowd heard it soon after, the sounds of the engine. A contraption that used fire from fuel to give  motion to a metal contraption. It was loud, like streaking thunder that broke the crowd’s roar.

The young man saw it, ripping through the main street he had just walked down. A monstrosity of fused metal, a machine unlike any other. It roared yet again, but the crowd had already been broken, as had the young man’s want for a swifter end. He began to see the hope again as his monstrosity kicked up dust on it’s way to collect him.

 

 

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