The Hanging Man



A super short tale of punishment. P.S. Not a full story, just the start of something. Feedback appreciated :)

The crow circled above the roaring crowd, watching their soaked bodies push each other around, and their arms lifting to shake their fists or throw rocks at the man waiting to be hung.
      The heavy rain poured down, drenching the mob. This didn’t stop them. They were angry, relieved, excited; rain would not stop them from watching the criminal’s life come to a tortuous end.
      The crow squawked and swooped down towards the hanging, trying to get a better view. He settled on top of the gallows, eyeing the crowd, the guards, the prisoner.
      The crowd overall are filthy. They were dressed in poor clothing, most of it ragged and thin. Their bodies were small and bony, white from the cold. They looked hideous. The furious expressions painted on their faces showed that they were not afraid. They have all been waiting for this moment; they’ve prepared themselves, storing their emotions inside them ready to be unleashed on this day.
      The guards stood erect and emotionless, hands on the hilt of their swords. Unlike the swarm of skeletal figures beneath them, they were dressed in the finest of clothing – thick coats, firm hats that protected their blank faces from the rain.  They were waiting to break their steady composure and pounce on any threats they may face, waiting to unleash their weapons and eradicate any unrest. How is it that the crowd of weak people appeared more terrifying than the guards, who were far more powerful?
      The weakest of the lot is the criminal, standing at the gallows with a noose around his neck, whispering his final prayers while he can. Once the exhortation finished, that would be it. He’ll die. A mix of tears and raindrops glistened on his face, he was covered head to toe in dirt, as if he’s been living sleeping in the fields. The crow smelt the scent lurching from him – body odour, urine and rain.
      The clock tower struck eleven, and the trapdoor dropped, leaving the man dangling from the noose. The crow spread his wings and flew. 

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