Tag Archives: execution

The Accused

(I may have posted this story before, I cannot remember and it doesn’t matter, it’s a question of conscience, feelings, and a particular burning remembrance in my heart.)

The Accused

                                   [a short story from  ~ burning woman~   by Sha’Tara]

A black hood is pulled over her head and tied around her neck.

She is propelled into the interrogation room down a flight of four cement steps to fall blindly against a metal table leg.

Grabbed from behind, she is roughly pulled up and her wrists shackled to a bar above her head.

Through the torn blouse and knee length skirt her flesh shows deep bruising and bloody cuts.

She hangs motionless .  Silent.

The interrogator’s voice is harsh, cutting,

“You are accused of treason.  How do you plead?”

No answer.

“You must answer me.”

No answer.

“Make her talk.”

Torture.  Moans.  Gagging.  A scream escapes the hooded prisoner’s lips.

“Stop!”

Silence, except for the prisoner’s halting breathing and low moans.

“Are you a traitor to the state?”

No answer.

“Again I ask: Are you a traitor?”

A sigh but no answer.

“Make her talk.”

More torture.  More screams.  No pleading for mercy.

They tie her ankles to keep her from kicking.
Blood drips down her legs and bare feet;
falls to pool on the cement floor that has accumulated same on many previous occasions.

“Stop!”

“You are accused of sedition against the State.  How do you plead?”

Short gasps, moaning.  No audible word.

“Answer me!”

A high-pitched moan, no verbal answer.

“Make her talk!”

Scream!  Scream!  Long, piercing blood-curdling scream… loud moan and silence.

“Stop!”

The interrogator stands up from his chair and walks around to face the woman.  He looks at her bleeding and shaking form for several seconds.  He unties the hood and pulls it from her head.

“Oh God, no! … NO!  This cannot be happening!”

“Father,”  whispers the girl through her broken face, “you assured me you never tortured prisoners.  I had to know if you were lying to me.  At least I am not dying in ignorance.  I forgive you…”

Her head drops forward.

“Get an ambulance here — now!  Unshackle her, lay her on the table, get blankets, get water, cloths, move!”

From the shadows the attending physician comes forward, checks the prisoner’s pulse and the severity of her wounds and pronounces a physician’s most dreaded words:  “She is dead sir.”

What does it mean to die a Martyr?

[a dream by   ~burning woman~   ]

In the midst of all my writing activity… I fell asleep outside at my back yard computer “desk” while listening to Ana Vidovic playing “Recuerdos de la Alhambra” by Francisco Tarrega.  I had a dream, almost a lucid dream. 

In this timeless dream I stood  in an old Middle Eastern or Turkish city square – the ground surface was of beige stone, as were the houses and walls surrounding this square.  There were many people around but deathly silence.  I was a tall blonde woman wearing a long white cotton robe draped from the shoulders down to my ankles with the neck carefully and deliberately exposed.  I wore long blonde hair down to my waist and I had large, bright blue eyes.  What had I been before this ordeal?  A captured royal princess?  A slave?  

My wrists were tied with ropes at my back.  Two swarthy men stood at each side of me and in front was an execution scaffold with a depression for a human neck.  A very large bald headed man holding an over-sized scimitar stood by the bench, looking down, waiting.  All so well staged, I would have smiled had it been a play. 

I looked over the crowd and they were all staring at me.  The overall impression I was getting was, I was trying very hard to decide how my situation should make me feel.  Frightened?  Angry?  Desperate?  Hopeless?  Distant?  I wanted a feeling to hang on to but each feeling flitted across my mind and none would stick.  Should I again try to beg for my life, to argue my innocence?  But I already knew it had nothing to do with justice, or innocence, but with religion and politics; with machinations I could not begin to understand.  I wasn’t a human being, I was a tool, perhaps a weapon of state craft.  My death was necessary to make a point.  To whom?  I had no idea.  It occurred to me then that I did not understand the language being spoken, and no one had ever translated anything for me.  But could they understand me? 

I would not beg; I would not speak a word.  I could not speak. 

I realized then I was already dead, so prepared for this inevitability that I had gone past my physical body and was looking at myself from the other side of the ordeal.  I could already see my head on the ground and the blood gushing out of my severed neck, over the ground and what had been a pristine white dress and in my mind it was all over.  That’s death, I thought. 

What does it mean, then, to die like that?  I thought about it as I walked slowly to the place of execution, and as I knelt down to put my neck in the curved mold.  It means to be utterly alone; it means being just yourself for the first time since the day of birth.  It means a new birth, however frightening, however painful, however devastatingly stripped of everything that your life, your beauty, your dreams or everything else that ever meant anything to you or anyone.  This is it.  One life’s, however brief, final crossroads.  Did I see a friend, a lover, a possible “knight in shining armour” to save me in the crowd?  Honestly it would not have mattered, I no longer desired to be known, loved, or saved.  I no longer belonged here.  My feelings were dead.