The King Is Merciful. Long Love the King.
“You gonna stand there watching me or you gonna say something?” the executioner continued to hone the edges of the sword.
“Do you know what the King has decided?” I asked.
“He is the King. I do not question his wisdom.”
“He is executing an innocent. Maybe even a child,” I continued.
“The king would never execute an innocent.”
“The entire village will be there,” I said.
“Of course they will. All of the King’s executions are in public.”
“You don’t understand.” I said. “I am to remove alphabet letters from King’s purse. After each letter, those villagers with that surname are moved to the back of the commons awaiting me to draw the next letter.”
“Why the letters?” the executioner’s curiosity was finally piqued.
“This village has given comfort and shelter to the bandits. They see them as Germany’s version of Robin Hoods. The King has decided that the village has offended him- the village should pay the price.”
“I see,” responded the executioner.
“Do you?” I asked. “After the first letter is drawn, I will continue to remove villagers according to their surnames until it is just one family remaining. Then I will draw letters for their forenames.”
“Makes sense to me,” responded the executioner.
“The last person remaining will be the person you execute.”
“I understand that.”
“Have you ever been called upon to execute a four-year-old child?” I said.
“Never. The King would show mercy,” replied the executioner.
“There will be no mercy. I am here to hold ransom your son. Should you fail to execute the King’s commands, your son will take the villagers’ stead.”
The executioner stroked one last stroke on the sharpened blade. “It seems the King has thought on everything.” Putting on his hood, he slowly walked toward the scaffolding.
Written for Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner: 2020: Week #46,