Summertime Sadness.

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Historical Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic


Katherine Howard languishes in the tower, thinking over her life on her last night on Earth before she is due to be executed by King Henry.

Submitted: August 21, 2018

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Submitted: August 21, 2018

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She thought she would have been able to dance forever. She thought she would  remain always in the sunlight, looking down as  her subjects fell to their knees. ‘god save our queen,’  they would say. She would have loved them. She would have  done all she could to keep them happy, as any queen should. But that time of glory was past. The sun had set  upon the short reign of Katherine Howard.

Her happiness had been so fleeting. She had held riches and wealth in the palm of her hand and now, her own husband had stolen that wealth from her. And yet, she couldn’t bring herself to hate him.  Henry had saved her from abject poverty and had lifted her onto a pedistol that many women envied. Katherine Howard had  warn  the god  anointed crown. She was sure that the  people had loved her. But now, she wasn’t so sure.

She  lay in the cold tower room, the  candle light casting shadows upon the wall as the wax melted and the flames burned low. She shivered, desperate for warmth in the last few hours before the king  dealt her the death blow. They hadn’t seen fit to give  her much in the way of comfort.

Katherine lay in the almost total darkness, thinking on her time spent in the tower. She had spent a total of two nights in the tower and both had been received in radically different ways.

 Upon the first night, Katherine had been preparing for her  eccession as queen. That had been an exciting night of glorious triumph. She had been the one to sweep the king of England off  his feet, and the jewels and finery had been enough to make her heart sing. People had exulted in the very name of Katherine Howard and she had thought that joy would never end.

Tonight’s stay was different. She dwelled here in sadness and frustration, her heart  seeming to use up the rest of its beats as it pounded frantically, stjirring her blood as the young woman lay in fear.  Katherine felt like a caged bird. The king  had given her the power to sour high above the low born mediocrity, and now he had clipped her wings and she had fallen helplessly to the ground, unable to  reach the skies any longer.

Katherine sighed and rolled over, fighting against sleep. This was her last night on this earth. Very few hours remained to her and she didn’t want to waste them sleeping.

A sense of desolation crashed over her, threatening to break the damn that was keeping her emotions at bay. She was clinging desperately to her sanity, knowing that if she allowed her grip to slip even slightly, Katherine Howard would have allowed the king to win. That was something she was not at all willing to do. Henry was used to commanding meakness and obedience. His subjects were fearful of him. His  two daughters, Mary and  Elizabeth had  been  declared iligitimate because they were of no more use to him, and  his wives, including herself, had always been  dispensible. Henry had had many infatuations  throughout his reign as king. He had devorsed a true queen once Anne Boleyn had managed to get her claws into him, and Anne of Cleeves hadn’t even been given a chance to prove herself to be a good  queen. Now he had  decided that Katherine too  was no longer a valuable asset to him. He clearly had his eyes on another. Katherine sighed,  squeezing her eyes shut as the tears threatened to spill over. King Henry had many victims, all of them  lying along a path of destruction he had trod for years. Katherine was the next paving stone to be layed along the rocky  road of  King Henry’s reign.

To think of who she could have  been if only she had been allowed to keep a hold of that crown. Katherine had  risen quickly up the social ladder, and she had fallen just as fast, hitting the ground very hard on the way. What would her  parents have  said  if they could have  been sitting with her in this drafty tower room? ‘Why, Katherine?’ That was what they would have asked. ‘Why?’ they of all people must have known the danger she would have placed herself in once she was inside the king’s inner circle.

 But Katherine hadn’t listened. She of all people knew better. Katherine Howard didn’t make mistakes. She was certainly paying for that mistake now, and as a thrill of dread and fear shot through her slender body, Katherine realised that she was going to pay for that mistake with her life. She only hoped that God would take  pitty on her. The only sin she had committed had been the sin of trusting the king for as long as she had, and she hoped that the holy father would view it in that way. Surely, even she deserved a place in heaven. She didn’t think God would ever  begrudge her that.

‘You may have taken my life away from me, your  majesty,’ KATHERINE THOUGHT DRAMATICALLY, ‘BUT YOU MAY NOT TAKE MY SPIRIT.’


© Copyright 2018 Murron Cain. All rights reserved.

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