This story begins, as do many of its kind, in a land far far away; or, perhaps, not very far at all, from the myriad lands of today.
At the very beginning of civilisation or it could have been at the end of the universe; there was a kingdom built by the blood and toil of its people and held together by the tyranny of its King. Seasons changed and aeons passed, under the blasphemous rule of this King. And the people lived and perished with nary a hope in their hearts for better days or different times.
However, unbeknownst to the populace, the fates were hard at work, and as is inevitable, change was coming, much sooner than anyone could have anticipated.
“Any last wishes, you scoundrel?” The guard grunted; the disgust clear on his face. If he had his way, this prisoner would already be dead, the scowl seemed to say.
“I would like to walk upon this earth one last time,” came the feeble response. “To be blessed with the light of the Sun and blue sky above me and hear the voices of my fellow citizens. To feel the holy grail of Mother Earth beneath my bare feet, oh, what an awfully great adventure it would be!”
“You speak above your station, filth!” The guard roared, spittle flying from his mouth.
“That is my last wish. Grant it, or not, I do not care.” The skeletal figure bowed a head matted with dirt and something that might have been blood.
The warmth of the afternoon Sun hit the prisoner like a bolt of lightning. Blinking away the pinpricks of vibrant colour, the prisoner let out a sigh of relief that had been caged inside the chest, for who knew how long.
The iron chains that bound the hands and legs, clanked and jangled as the party of four guards and one prisoner, walked at snail’s pace through the bustle of the Friday market.
Shop owners stopped mid-cry, buyers struck dumb mid-exchange. The squealing urchins raised their innocent faces and residents peeked out of curtained windows at the sudden silence that blanketed their otherwise ordinary day; like a patch of dark clouds in the middle of summer.
The prisoner soaked in the warmth of nature, breathing in the fresh air mingled with the aroma of spices and cooking food.
The rough cloak that had once clothed the body now lay in rags and tatters, displaying patches of skin turned black or blue under the unforgiving tortures of the King’s soldiers. The sand underfoot was hot and the dry, chapped soles of bare feet did little to stave off the heat; but the prisoner did not mind.
Despite the torn cloak, and the torn, malnourished body underneath, the prisoner smiled. Tears of joy ran freely down the cheeks, embalming the soul with the sheer wonder of the world, and life.
The pain was good, pain meant that she was still alive!
The gathered crowd gaped at her. The noon sun seemed like a mere mirage when compared with the divine glow emanating from her face. How could anyone in such a state of apparent despair, be so happy?
At the gallows, she stood straight, her head raised towards the heavens, immersed in a silent conversation with her maker.
I come, my lord. Soon.
“A sheer waste of the last wish, witch.” The guard approached her with the black headcover, displayed prominently in his gauntleted hand. “Now, the entire populace knows what happens to those who defy the King’s wishes!”
The prisoner faced her executioner.
“Perhaps, what you say is right, my lord.” She bent her head in a slight bow of acknowledgement. “But, I do not think so.” She smiled at him; and for a heartbeat, she saw confusion in those harsh features, a lessening of the frown lines and caught a peek into the soft presence of honest, child-like wonder.
“Perhaps,” she turned to convene her conversation with the sky as she spoke, “owing to my last wish, now the entire populace knows that it is possible to defy the King’s wishes.”
She smiled in contentment as the black cloth descended on her eyes. Soon, the lowly maiden who had refused to give in to the despot King’s desires was hung from her neck; lost to the world of the living.
As her body swayed in the wind, her soul escaped its mortal cage and frolicked across the skies, leaving behind a legacy of that invaluable, incomparable seed, hated and feared by dictators everywhere – Questions and Possibilities.
After all, as they say, a revolution at its birth is often the lunacy of one man or woman.
Author: The Author likes to describe herself as a bookworm turned scientist, turned storyteller. Monica turned her lifelong love of reading into an enthusiastic penchant for writing who writes to connect with other souls like her and hopes her writing would make her readers happy.
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