Friday, October 24, 2008

The Hanging

The children always came early to the hanging. And they were usually the loudest. The man could hear them, even though they were out of his sight.

He walked slowly, with his head bowed. He had known it would come down to this some day.

He had no regret for his sins whatsoever. That family had wronged him one too many times. His was an act of rightful revenge. He had been unmerciful in his onslaught.

The trail had been swift and the sentence heavy. But that was expected of a multiple homicide case. He hadn’t uttered a word.

A group of people surrounded him now. There were soldiers in arms, the high priest, the mayor, a few members of loyalty, and a swarthy guy from the family he had taken out, other clergy and a few merchants that walked alongside him.

The thought of that swarthy guy, really angered him. He hadn’t been successful in taking out the entire family. It weighed heavily on his chest now and it hurt deep. Curbing these feelings made him get a bad taste in his mouth.

It started raining softly. It felt fitting somewhat. It helped to calm down his emotions a bit. He resolved himself to go on strong. He wouldn’t give anyone the satisfaction of seeing him break down.

The crowd was within sight now. The children ran towards them. The stones they threw were aimless, and even the ones that hit were ineffectual. Their antics and curses were more like a competition among themselves.

The adults were different though. The jeers and curses were more hurtful and profound.
But he shut out all sounds and only looked dead ahead as he walked.

The posse of people reached the gallows. The soldiers split into two groups and stood guard in front of it, armed and ready. It was at times like this something always happened. The crowd was waiting for the man to break down, try to escape at the last moment, for a woman in the crown to swoon, for a rattling old woman to start cursing hysterically.

The man stepped onto the wooden stairs of the gallows. The made a loud creaking sound as he stepped on them. He reached the top and turned to face the booing crowd.

He had always been good at hiding his emotions. His face was like a mask. The jeers turned more hostile as a few soldiers, the swarthy guy, the mayor and the high priest followed the man on to the gallows.

But he still showed no emotion.

The people, angered now, by the lack of response, were only waiting for the mayor’s signal. Chants of ‘hang him’ ‘hang him’ rent out loud. The high priest finished his prayer and closed his book. The mayor then nodded and bowed his head. That was the signal.

The crowd erupted. The children, however, were staring fascinated - too strung out to make any noise.

The man stepped forward and placed the noose on the swarthy guy’s neck, and tightened it expertly. He stepped back and released the lever.

The ground under the swarthy guy gave way. His neck broke with a loud snap.

The man allowed a faint smile on his face now.
He had, at last, gotten them all.

The crowd was mostly quiet now. They were watching mesmerized, as the dead body, caught by a breeze, started to swing slowly in a lazy circle.

Even if anyone in the crowd caught his smile, it wouldn’t have mattered in the least.

The hangman always seemed happy after a clean hanging.

6 comments:

srikanth said...

If I got the story right: What a Psycho, he deserved it...
If not: Duh...

Even without the ending twist, it was a great read, captured the atmosphere

Dha said...

@srikanth
thanks...

i more or less think that you got the story right, man..
:P

evilsense said...

He should have hated himself so much! A very good story, after a long time :D

Dha said...

thanks
:D

Nithin "Kitta" Shenoy said...

One thing that I greatly liked was the vivid description of the execution scene. Very dark and creepy. Great work. And the narration led me to believe that 'he' was the convict! Great ending. :)

Dha said...

and thanks again...
:D