Tuesday, June 25, 2013


There was a hangman in our town... a true sadist... a devil much worse than any life-eater (vampire). He had a way to let the victim swing. No snap. No neck break. No quick drop into oblivion. Just a pendulum swinging in the breeze.. They gasp.... They drool.... They pee and shit. The crowd laughs. They clap and throw chestnuts. Throwing chestnuts is a tradition here. 

If the family of the victim can afford it, they give the hangman three silver crowns. This happens during the final visit. He ushers the victim into a marginally cleaner and brighter cell... No greasy stones... No black soot from eons of cheap, fatty candles wafting smoky dreams to nowhere. Three dirty bowls of stew. Well, not too dirty, but you know what I mean. And the beef is fairly free from mold and mildew. One for the victim. Two for his chief, not yet mourners. Most bring their own spoons. They sit on stools and eat. They talk. Some people cry. The crowns trade hands. The victim mouths a heartfelt 'thank you,' then silence. After a bit the clergyman comes in. What a coincidence... Everyone believes the same as the king and has done so for one thousand years. They even control the souls.

Then, when it's time, they do it. The poor soul walks out. Peasants cheer. They throw the nuts. Children caper about, miming 'the hanged man'... lolling tongues.... eyes rolled back... twitching arms... kicking feet. Bawds sing songs and flash their wares. as churchmen take down names. But death will be quick, for the rope is long and wound just so. 

Does the crowd like that? No, they don't. Dirty faces droop in disappointment. Eyes dart about. Perhaps there's a witch to burn? Or a heretic? Or a Jew? But the Jews were banished years ago. And they burnt their last heretic after the witch flew off. That one really could fly. Pity they didn't grab her feet before she got away. Young toughs began smashing market stalls run by immigrants, Walloons and Lombards and the like...... Oi, what they jibber-jaggin' about? Smash 'er teef.... And they did.... At least she had teeth.

I fixed the hangman. I fixed him good. Not that he was the biggest villain in all this. But that night it was his turn. Made him swallow each and every silver crown he had. Kept them in a secret niche within the stout stone wall.  Tipped a pewter chalice and spilled them out.... like rain upon the floor. No one heard. His cell was like a fortress, though he possessed the key. And moonlight filtered in to gild the coins. 

How he cried. Was I a demon, or a witchy-man? He wanted to know. And I just laughed. Sublimation is a special talent of mine and stout stone walls meant nothing to me. Though some of my ilk might have been scared. Condensing in stone is a terrible way to die. And had he lived in a more public venue, say a room over the tavern, I might have passed him by. Night-folk shun notoriety.... Well, back then they did. 

First I bit his nose and chewed it off like gristle. He moaned and trembled. Then I licked the blood that poured down from the wound. Then he went limp... dropped through my arms and rolled under the bed. I grabbed his legs and pulled him out. He whimpered like a puppy, as I sliced into his nethers and drained him dry. 

They all expect the neck. They all protect the neck. But me, I like variety. And it's disorienting to the night-meal when the lungs and heart and brain are still intact while the blood is drained away, like a great, internal tide rushing out to sea.....

He gasped... He wheezed... The whimpering stopped and then I watched the flames....' Spontaneous human combustion' they call it...

When it was over and he was gone, I scooped up all the coins. How greasy they were. So I took them home to wash them and gave them to the poor.

'Saint Francis' they called me, as I blessed them and mumbled prayers...

Was I always so honorable? No.... But that night, I was....
see more at ~>NIGHT-FOLK UNIVERSE ... visit me on Twitter at~>@wilkravitz ... your COMMENTS mean a lot...

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