Michael leaned on his tall axe, letting the melancholy feeling wash over him as the handle dug into the soft wood of the platform. It was drizzling a little, and that made today even worse. He hated to kill someone when the weather was shitty like this. His job was bad enough as it was; normally he gained a slight amount of comfort from having his victims pass away under the sunlight of a nice day.
But then he didn’t have any choice in the matter, so it was no use bitching about it. Instead, he contented himself with doing what he normally did when waiting for the prisoner to be brought out to him: he people watched.
There was a modest crowd formed outside and a few feet below his platform, and it was always interesting to him to take note of who came to watch executions like this. These were different, after all, than the usual fare, and they exposed the strange underbelly of their town. For these were rebellion-related executions, and that changed some things. For one, the prisoners were all made to die naked, much to Michael’s chagrin. He didn’t like them to be humiliated like that. That seemed to change the composition of the crowd; he found that far more “regulars” made appearances than random faces.
He wasn’t sure how to feel about those people. Were they sick? Just wanted a chance to see an attractive nude body? He supposed so, for there were all these young and middle aged men that seemed to come to each and every one of these. The public wasn’t told ahead of time who was to be put to death, so Michael supposed they just showed up in the hopes of seeing eye candy. But then again, these poor prisoners weren’t coming out here to model for the crowd…
And that was another thing. Ever since the rebellion fell, his job got ten times more miserable, because he had to end ten times more people. And many of them had been convicted under suspect or nebulous circumstances, leading him to the inevitable conclusion that he had surely killed at least a few people who had done absolutely nothing wrong. It was enough to weigh on any man’s soul, and Michael liked to think of himself as being more sensitive than most.
A door opened from the jail fifty feet behind the platform, and he turned to look as a thin, frail looking female form was brought out, carried by both arms by two surly looking guards. He knew those guys; they were total assholes. They tended to verbally abuse the prisoners before bringing them out to Michael.
He shook his head as he watched their progress. The woman had the customary black bag over her head, which was to be removed when she reached her final destination. It was times like this he questioned yet again why he even did this job. But that wasn’t hard to answer of course. All his mind had to do was conjure the image and smell of the wonderful dinner he’d had last night with his family, the delicious seared meat, the crunchy, delectable loaves of bread, the fresh, crunchy vegetables. All he had to do was compare that with the gruel he used to bring home to be forced down by his thinning children, and that was enough. He had to do this. He hated it, but he had to do it.
The woman was brought up the stairs to him, and he could tell from here that she was shaking like a leaf. She was skinny, but had some muscle on her. It was worth wondering what she’d done for a living before finding herself here. Normally that was an easy question to answer, with criminals like thieves or corrupt politicians. But these rebels… It was nearly impossible to say. She might’ve done anything, maybe just got caught up in a raid while minding her business.
He shook those thoughts from his head. The only thing he couldn’t do was get too personal with his victims. That could ruin him, as he’d seen it ruin executioners before him.
She was brought to him, and one of the guards sneered something in her ear that Michael couldn’t make out. The bag was ripped from her head, and he set eyes upon her face for the first time.
She was a mouse, a timid, terrified creature with a head of straight, pretty auburn hair. Glancing down, she had a small, perky pair of breasts, and he didn’t let his eyes wander further south than that. That was private, and he generally refused to violate that privacy. The second the bag came off, she did what nearly everyone did: she looked at him, then his axe, and finally the mass of onlookers, who cheered at the sight of the attractive young lady.
As was typical, her hands were bound behind her, probably with rope. She whimpered audibly as her eyes fell on his large, wicked looking weapon. She tried to back away, bent double and pushing backward with all her might. It was no use; it never was. She was dragged forward now, and forced to her knees by the much bigger, and much stronger guards. She gave a little cry of pain as she was forced to kneel, and one of the jailers shoved her head down, squishing her neck against the granite block. Her breathing was raspy due to the pressure, and Michael couldn’t help but take pity on her.
He placed a hand on her back, and then nodded at the guards, who let her go and backed away. He knew he shouldn’t do this, but he couldn’t help himself.
“Shhh,” he whispered, just loud enough for his quivering victim to hear. He’d always been told he had a soothing voice. “You’re ok. It’s gonna be ok.” He held her down, but gently, and she offered him no fight or resistance.
“What’s your name?” he asked softly.
The mouse uttered a tiny squeak, which he couldn’t make out. He leaned down closer to her, still holding onto his axe as it stood straight up.
“I’m sorry, sweetheart,” he said. “I didn’t hear you.”
“Amy,” she said, her high voice trembling and barely audible.
“Okay, Amy,” he said, sliding his hand up her back and to her neck. “Listen to me. I want you to close your eyes for me. Can you do that?” To encourage her, Michael stroked her from the top of her head down to the base of her neck. It was soft and gentle, but it would allow him to stop her from trying to escape if she so dared. It didn’t seem like she would, for she obediently fluttered her eyelids down while he petted her.
He could feel her ragged and shallow breathing. She was so scared, he wouldn’t be surprised if she ended up peeing herself. Hopefully she’d been allowed to use the bathroom before coming out here. Sometimes the asshole guards didn’t let them. She was shivering so much, she might’ve been mistaken for dying of cold.
“Shhh,” he said again. “I want you to do something else for me, now. I want you to think about your family, your friends. I want you to think about the last time you had fun with them. The last time you felt safe and happy. Picture that scene in your mind. Can you do that for me?”
He felt her nod imperceptivity beneath his loose grip. Good. She was taking his suggestions, and that would make this a whole lot easier.
“Good girl,” he cooed. “It’s going to be ok. Right now you’re there, with your loved ones. There’s nothing else going on.”
Her eyes stayed shut, and he saw them moving a little under their lids. This was going exactly as he’d hoped. Her shivering calmed considerably.
“I’m gonna stop touching you now, Amy,” he said. “I want you to keep thinking of that happy time. You’re going to be ok.”
He let go, and she stayed where she was, on her knees and bent over, her neck stretched out and laying compliantly on the block. As quietly as he could, Michael picked the axe up with both hands. It was critical that she didn’t see or hear this coming. He assumed his stance, allowing him to keep his balance as he raised the weapon above his head.
It stayed there for just a second, hanging in the air, and then he brought it down. He didn’t swing softly, for an incomplete decapitation wouldn’t be kind to her, so he swung it with all his might, aiming just below her skull, where her hair fell to the side and gave him a clear target.
With a resounding WHACK, his axe met the granite block and stuck there. Bullseye. Her severed head fell forward, hitting the wooden platform forehead-first and then rolling to the side. Her body just crumpled, losing its balance and landing on its left side. She was laying out kind-of flat, which was nice. Sometimes they fell in embarrassing poses, but this wasn’t too bad.
Her eyes had shot open when her head hit the ground, and she looked wildly around. Michael left the axe where it stuck in the stone, and picked her head up with both hands. He supported her under either side of her skull, rather than hoisting her up by her hair as so many others did. He looked her in the eye, and she stared back at him in horror and pain. She was already losing consciousness.
“Go to sleep, baby,” he said. “It’s all over. You were a good girl, Amy. Go to sleep.”
In one last act of obedience, the mouse closed her eyes, and he could tell she was gone in a moment. Blood dripped from where her neck used to be, and her mouth hung open limply. Her body, meanwhile, was less at peace. It was busy spraying her blood all over the platform and the block. It twitched, as if not accepting that it was dead. The heart that used to be hers was pounding wildly, but it was losing strength. The jets of blood from her neck stump grew weaker with every pump. He was happy to see she hadn’t relieved herself; he hadn’t wanted her to be embarrassed like that. Eventually her body quieted itself as well, and Michael handed her head to one of the guards, who grasped her by her beautiful hair.
She was their responsibility now, as they were now tasked with burying her body, and placing her head on a spike above her grave, as had become custom for beheaded rebels. Michael, for his part, turned from her and walked down the steps of the platform and back toward the jail. He thought of his own family, and how he could just focus on them, now. It was time to collect his pay, and try to forget what he had just done to earn it.
Not a furry myself, but the quality of the writing is fantastic, manages to be descriptive, yet not so much as to overwhelm. We need more execution fics of this quality.