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Medieval Methil - Once Upon A Death

Short story By: John Chukowski
Flash fiction



Flash fiction set in Methil, Scotland in medieval times.


Submitted:Jul 29, 2013    Reads: 12    Comments: 0    Likes: 0   


As I walked to my death, I had the sudden urge to release my stomach's contents over the executioner's face. It wasn't the fact he was going to remove my manly physique from my good-looking cranium, from the shoulders down. Nor was it for the jubilant look on his smug face, but for the hideous looking lump that protruded from between his neck and shoulder. My killer, The Hunch-Neck of Doon the Dam.

Big Dan the Ladies Man, as he was also mockingly known, was a right bastard of the highest order and no women would ever willingly lay with him, for his soul was as grotesque as his malignant mole-shaped parrot, perched atop his shoulder. He was the only executioner lawfully employed by His Royal Heinous, Our Majesty the King, who did not wear an executioner's mask. Some say it was because he loved the fame, but we all knew it was only because he'd need an extra hood for his ever loyal companion.

Anyway, as I approached my final destination, kneeled and placed my head upon the axe-man's block, I noticed wee Jimmy Munro from Kirkland Walk amongst the spectator's baying for my blood, cheering and chanting,

"Aff wi his heid, for his dirty deed. Aff wi his heid, for his dirty deed." along with the crowd.

Wee Jimmy Munro, poor, wee, starving Jimmy. The ungrateful wee shite I'd stolen that morsel of bread for in the first place. It should have been my hands for the chop, but when my pleas for mercy fell on unforgiving ears, my reasoning abilities departed with great haste as the mist of anger descended, clouding my usually sound judgement. In other words, I'd swiftly planted the tip of my shoe upon, His Royal Heinous, Our Majesty the King's crown jewels. His balls.

Afterwards, I'd tried to explain my nifty piece of footwork by saying,

"But how can a hand-less man provide for his family?" but the King replied,

"More so, than a dead one." and roared, "For the crime of thievery and the sinful act of striking one of God's own, treason none the less. Off with his head." and a cheerful chorus filled the air.

"Aff wi his heid, for his dirty deed. Aff wi his heid, for his dirty deed."

Now as I lay there with my neck defenceless, axe bearing down upon me, I thought upon my life as a youth, my Ma' and Da', and my sister's. I thought of my wedding and the birth of my children and thanked God for my blessings. Finally, I thought of that stolen loaf, for a poor, starving boy, an act of kindness that would cost me my life. And as the axe came down and my head detached, my last sight was of that ghastly lump on Big Dan the Ladies Man's neck.

It was in this concluding moment as my soul lifted Heavenwards, I looked down upon the baying crowd, cheering in rabid ecstasy. Down upon His Royal Heinous, Our Majesty the King and The Hunch-Neck of Doon the Dam, enjoying the crowds adoration with the sound of, "He lost his heid, for his dirty deed. He lost his heid for his dirty deed." filling my ears. I looked over the crowd and saw my wife and children, my Ma' and Da' and my sister's. My whole family huddled in a little circle, comforting each other in their grief. And as I floated higher, I saw in the distance, an army of uncountable numbers with swords and spears and torches of fire, with bows and arrows and blood in their eyes. They were marching this way and I prayed God would spare my family.

However, my tale does not end here with the macabre, for this is a joyous story of redemption and of God's grace. I awoke in the night with a jolt and roused my family from their slumber, narrating to them my premonition of things to come. I gathered them all and we packed what was needed, then left the town. As dawn broke, and with several hours between us and our old homes, you could see the smoke of a burning town fill the air and I thanked God for sparing my family, myself included. And as I sat there resting, I thought I heard the wind carry a cheerful chorus through the air. Now I'm no liar and I wouldn't like to be taken for one, but for a moment there it sounded a bit like,

"Aff wi his heid, for his dirty deed. Him and a' his royal seed. Hooray, Hooray, the King is deid."





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