R. C. Smith Short Stories and Vignettes

Do not read my works if you are offended by descriptions of sexuality and violence.
(Do not read them just for those descriptions, either.)

Mercy

I walk down the street that leads from the temple to the main square. I have spent the night at the temple, alone.

I am naked, and I am shaven, body and head. I am cold, the morning sun has not yet warmed the air and the stones.

At this time of the morning, the street I am walking is usually a very busy place men, women, children, doing business, strolling, playing, talking, watching, laughing a bustle of life, to be seen, and heard, and shared ...

Today, though, the street is empty, the windows and their shutters are closed, I am the only living being here, and I am walking towards my death. Silently, as my bare feet make no sounds upon the stones of the pavement.

Behind the closed windows some people are inside their homes, not looking out to see me pass, but most of those who live here, or anywhere else in the town, are out on the main square, waiting for me.

~

I reach the square now, it is at the center of the town. There are stone buildings all around it, and between them eight gates lead onto the square.

I enter it from the upper side the square is not level, it is sloping towards the opposite side, where the town hall stands. This way, from where I come, I can survey it all, above the heads of the crowd that fills it.

I have a good view at the stone tribune in front of the town hall, with the spiked statue of the Goddess on it, with all the implements of torture that await me, with the big gong, and with the torturer, dressed in his traditional hooded black garb, standing solemnly, looking like a statue himself.

I feel a trace of pity for him he will have to stand like this for many hours, through the heat of the noon, until by some sign that I do not know he will discern that the time has come, and then he will strike the gong and call me to him.

Even as a child each year I had wondered how a man can stand almost motionless for so many hours, and then do his work, for many hours more.

Maybe the Goddess gives him the strength that he needs.

As I hope she will give it to me.

~

They have seen me now, as I stand at the gate. The crowd is dense, there are thousands of people, men and women, it is not easy to move among them, but when I enter the square they make room for me, and I walk towards the center, where the fountain is.

They all touch me with their eyes, looking at my nakedness, at the shame of my involuntarily erect nipples and opened vaginal lips, but they do not touch me with their hands or their bodies.

Not yet. It is for me to take the first step.

There is a man. I know him. He had been our neighbor when I was a child, his son and I had played together.

"Have mercy, please," I say. "Please save me, sir!"

He hesitates.

"Save me, please," I repeat, "or, at least, have the mercy to give me a quick death!"

I kneel down in front of him, look up at his face, and say "Please!" once more.

He opens his pants and draws out his penis, that quickly becomes erect.

When I'm done, a girl about my age puts her hand between my legs.

"Please, lady, save me!" I say.

She inserts two fingers into my vagina, then she presses the nail of her thumb into my clit.

Soon her fingers are replaced by another penis. Hands grope me, fingers pinch, nails grate, teeth bite into my breasts. They do not draw blood, this will be the privilege of the man in the black garb.

"Please, save me, have mercy," I say.

I know that no matter how often I will ask for mercy, of how many I will ask it from, I will not receive it.

~

The hours go by. I am in pain, and I am exhausted the last three days I had fasted, and today all the food that I get is sperm, but I can drink water from the fountain, and the worst of the noon heat is now over I look forward to when it will all be over for me, before the night.

~

There is this man, the clothes he wears show that he is a stranger, and his expression shows a strange confusion of emotions. I have noticed him for a while now; he is following me, but he is not getting closer to me I try to avoid him. But, he pushes on, and as he can move freely while most of the time I can not, he is finally standing before me now.

I ask him to save me, as I ask all.

"I was told not to interfere," he says.

"Then do not," I want to reply, but what I say is "Please!"

"How could anyone save you?" he asks. "How could I save you?"

Before I can answer, a woman tells him: "By taking her hand and walking out of the square with her, of course."

"This is all?" he asks.

"Yes," I reply truthfully, as I know I must.

He takes my hand, and we walk away, towards one of the gates, through it, down an empty road. We rest after we have left the walls of the town behind us.

I cannot stop crying. I should be a good slave to him, but I am not, my misery is overwhelming me.

How can I live with this horrible shame? Why can I not die from it?

How can I live with the knowledge of the doom I may have brought to those who had trusted me, live with the wrath of the Goddess who has been betrayed of her sacrifice?

How can I be a good slave to the man who has done this harm to me, and to all of us?

How can he expect me to ever stop crying?

Why had nobody told him, why had he not seen for himself?

He does not understand, and I cannot explain it to him.

I keep crying, and he leaves me. I cannot go back, it is too late. I lie down, and hope to die. What a useless death it now will be.

I hear footsteps approaching, and look up through the tears in my eyes I see the torturer's black garb.

"Come," he says. "The fire has been lit, and in its smoke, the statue of the Goddess has shed a tear. The Goddess has forgiven you, if you are willing to return."

I kiss his feet, and he reaches out his hand and helps me to get up, and the late afternoon sun falls upon his face and shows the ardent beauty of his dark eyes.

We walk back to the town, and I am happy again.

(04/2008)

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