Status: its in lowercase bc #aesthetic

A Life in Intervals


you were twenty-one when you were first the executioner.

it was a televised, public event, and you remember the locals were rabid.

you and the team had gotten up at moonrise, just so you'd be able to make your way through the crowd, and it was still a challenge.

you remember that you'd joked amongst yourselves as you nimbly tied the rope to the gallows with practiced ease. you were the youngest, fresh out of novitiation, and would have the honor of pulling the lever.

you were executing them for first-degree treason. plotting of a coup with intent and capability of regicide.

the five nooses swung in the wind, their dark silhouettes distinct against the pale gray-brown sky.

the gathered crowd was hungry, watching with glimmering sharp teeth and yellow, glowing sclera. some are so young that you were sure they were so fresh off-planet that they still had dirt under their nails.

the first one was a scraggled, starved member of caste four, with eyes bloodshot with verdant.

the second was a scruffed member of caste one, reddish blood dripping from several cuts on his body.

the third was a twitchy member of caste three, head bowed, their skin tinted with saffron.

there was a break in the line, and then came two people, who would perplex you for years.

the last two were high up the caste system, caste ten, pelagic. purpure and plum with gills, fins and webbed hands and feet. they walked with their head high and their shoulders square.

still, nearly all caste privilege had been wiped away. they all were almost painfully skinny and wore repurposed burlap sacks.

nearly does not equal completely.

you could hear the confused murmurs from the crowd. why would a high caste, let alone two, join a coup? it perplexed you when you read the case as well. you would not understand for many years.

someone else placed the ropes around their necks. you stood at the lever, head held high.

all of them were trembling, shaking, looking afraid and defeated, except for the female pelagic, who stood with a straight back and calm eyes.

hang! someone cried, and you pulled the lever.

you remember that, of the five of them, three of their necks were broken. for the caste three and five, they struggled, feet kicking, searching for purchase that was not there. the crowd went wild, shrieking and laughing, barely restrained by your comrade's pointed swords.

you would return several hours later. by that time, the crowd had dispersed. the bodies were mangled. fingernails and chunks of hair and parts of their sacks had been taken. everyone had wanted some souvenir. one of the caste four's eyes were missing, the left one.

you were alone with the mauled bodies.

you approached the female body. she was not proud in death. her neck was bent at an unnatural angle, with unseeing purpure eyes. her skin was bruised and she'd begun to bloat and insects had begun to settle on her skin.

something glittered on her neck.

with careful fingers, you removed it. executionees were not permitted to wear jewelry, but ten was practically royalty. some exceptions were made.

it had a small thin pendant on it, clearly not meant for public wear. you know why. you recognized this symbol.

the penalty for writing this symbol was death. the penalty for wearing this symbol was death. the penalty for referencing this symbol was death. the penalty for having this symbol on you was death.

you snapped the chain and pocketed it.