(A/N: This is actually an old short story of mine that I recently revised)
I put into place the scarlet zucchetto on my bald head. My shiny black carriage pulls to a halt and my coachman opens the door for me.
I step down with my cassock flowing freely, like the banner of the Church I represent. I have a large smile, waving, greeting, and blessing the people that are pushing their way up the front just to see me. I majestically climb the steps of a wooden pedestal set up in the middle of the square, my seat of privilege, to see everything that will transpire and to grant the request of everyone to see me.
From that bird’s view, I see hundreds of people crowded in this small plaza. They are all surrounding the center stage. It’s another platform of the same level as mine, except that it was much smaller.
To consider the whole point of all this, it seems ironic how I, representing a Church that offers salvation, can bless this gathering and declare it a ‘lawful slaying’.
The last thing that I am to do in my life is to entertain.
They say that I had violated women and I had exploited their feminism but in my defense, women were created to service our manhood, weren’t they? But none of that matters now. What matters is what I am doing at the moment.
With my dirty torn clothes, the putrid smell of the prison cell that stuck to my skin, and the chains that tethered both my hands to each other, as well as my feet, I walk to the center stage.
The people diverge to make a path just for me. To think that they managed to do that when they were already crammed in this small plaza was very flattering. They must really want to see the star of the show.
I walk towards the high-rise platform. The large man that was already standing there hit my knees such that I was forced to kneel down. He takes both my hands, removes the chains only to replace them with another set that attached me to the wooden floor.
The large man whom I joined raises an axe he holds with both of his hands.
Yes, I am about to provide entertainment.
This is the… sorry, I don’t really know whether this man is the twentieth or so this month I’m executing. Exaggeration, but sometimes it feels that way.
At first I was nervous to bring down an axe on a man’s neck.
Although, it wasn’t hard. I got to practice on objects and I have a good aim. It wasn’t because I wasn’t very good in what I was doing (on the contrary) but like everyone, the first day of work is uneasy because it’s the day that sets the tone to the rest of your life.
Now in this line of job, people will inevitably ask if I feel guilty taking a man’s life. But I always answer the same thing that there’s nothing to be guilty about. It’s just a job. In fact, why be guilty; be grateful for it puts bread on the table.
Another question people ask is if it bothers me. Why would it? I’m not killing anybody. When they mount the scaffold, they’re already dead. It’s the people in tall chairs who kill these criminals when they pound their small wooden hammer. I’m just the guy who escorts them out of this world and opens the door to the other side.
So without further ado, the criminal kneels down before everyone in the square and I take my place beside him raising my axe to great heights feeling like a hero.
He looks at me.
I hate it when they do that. They look at you; stare at your eyes with those teary eyes of theirs. What are they trying to say, that this is wrong? First of all, it’s not my fault and second, it’s not as if I’m detaching the heads of angelic people. They’re here before me because they don’t deserve to enjoy the remaining time left in their lives after the horrid things they did.
If he dares look at me like the others do, this whole thing is going to be bloody.
But he didn’t. Instead, he looks at me and beams, as if to greet me a ‘good day’.
For a fraction of a second, I didn’t want to bring the axe down. But I had to.
“Travel well.” I say kindly to him. He gives a little nod to acknowledge my words just before he closed his eyes embracing his departure.