The Executioner’s Masque

The Day of Reckoning

Slam.                Clink.                Jingle.


Step, step step.

Shadow.      Hand.            Arm.            Shoulder.            Face.

Her definitive custodian, her impudent concierge stood facing her with a bleak yet humorous gawp washing across his face.

Then the words she had heard at many funerals, in church, even in the day to day chores of her life…The Lord is my shepherd…I shall not want.

The pace quickened, the prison warden read the decree. She was handcuffed and pulled to the room that would be her last place of reckoning.

She could see the white tiles and still whiter floor of the adjacent room from her cell. She could not see it all, but she knew. There was more in that room.

And now here it was.

The appliance, with the 45-degree blade, as big as her cell door it seemed. Nothing else in this white room with men dressed in black garb. Soon it would have the accessory color of crimson. Even with these last moments, did she beckon back to her love of color and life.

The guard pulled her from the cuffs at her back, wrenching her shoulder.

“Please sir, that hurts!” she cried

“It won’t soon enough,” he growled back

No, expect nothing but scorn here. Even knowing she would not be here 5 minutes from now, why couldn’t she be allowed some form of benevolence?


She looked at the brown step made for that purpose. Not even a slice of felt, or perhaps a piece of burlap. And it was brown. Somehow creating converse in this black and white room only tainted by the pale skin of her enemies.

She knelt on the splintered kneeler as he pushed her head to the half ellipse carved to make her neck fit in a utilitarian fashion.

She thought of her family. Her husband, who finally found her, but denied her.  Her baby sister Mary, who sailed across the sea to help her live out the lonely days of being an officer’s wife during these war torn days of World War II.

When she left the apartment she shared with her husband and Mary, she could never have envisioned she would never see them again. She had heard of Mary’s pregnancy. She didn’t pay attention to the hearsay that the child was her husband’s. She didn’t believe it. Mary, 10 years her junior was her first love. Never would she betray her in such a fashion

Mary may very well be pregnant. She was quite smitten with a gentleman in the building.

Perhaps they are married now.

Oh to have seen it. Mary dressed in white, walking to her love. She would have guided Mary through the wedding night, keeping her from feeling fear, or shame.

She just wished she could be there to see her through the difficulty of childbirth, if she were, indeed, with child.

She prayed Mary never knew of this incarceration and it‘s inevitability, and she hoped she never would.

Then the slice, whip!

The blade came down with such speed; thank God, it would be over.

All she could see was red. A very slushy pinkish red. Then the tugging pulling.

Oh my GOD, I am not dead yet.

For God’s sake please!!!!!

But she could not here her own screams, so they certainly couldn’t. Her vocal chords were cut. Of course, nothing was going to come out. It was so painful. There was more red, she tried to close her eyes, yet they pulled and pulled on her head.

She tried to move her arms but they felt pinned to her side instead of cuffed behind her back.

She tried to cry, but the tears would not come.

She tried to open her mouth and give a silent scream, but it felt as if her mouth were being compressed against her nose.

Will this stop?

Please make this stop! Oh, death is such a tormentor.

She could hear talking, yet it was muffled, as one would hear behind a solid door, or when you put your head under a pillow.

She heard “pull pull….“

no, not pull, it was ”push“.


No, she was right the first time…

“I am pulling the head out. Just wait, please, just hold still.”

Finally, someone had compassion.

“I can see the eyes open” “Hand me the scissors”

What were they going to do now?  What could he use the scissors for, to poke her eyes out so he didn’t have them stare at him?  Cut the last of her neck off?

She opened her eyes and saw an unfamiliar face. A huge unfamiliar face.

She felt her head being carried.

“I am not dead”


She cried she could feel her tears, this made her stop.

Then she saw her husbands face. Her dear sweet love. He was smiling. She must be dead and this was the after thoughts spoken of so secretly among those that believed in a MORTAL afterlife.

She then saw her sister and she was clam. It’s over and this is my reward. The faces of those she so loved…

Then her husband’s voice.

“It’s a girl…your sister would be so happy for you, we have a baby girl.”

All comments / critique  welcome.

“On-Line novel”Playlist of “If It Seems Too Good To Be True” ©   The Executioner’s Mask is the copyright Dianne Schuch Lindsey and cannot be duplicated in any fashion without the express permission of the Author.    All rights reserved


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