by John Savage
In an ancient kingdom, hanging or beheading were the traditional ways to put a condemned criminal to death. But then a particularly evil monarch orders his High Executioner to devise new ways of killing the numerous prisoners his tyrannical reign has filled the dungeons with. What ways would he find to make the executions into graphic and impressive shows for both the King and crowds? What hideous forms of agony and pain would the female criminals have to endure as they slowly died before eager crowds and a blood-thirsty ruler?
The executioner finds himself in this exact position. His imagination works overtime and, with the aid of his assistant, the lovely, ebony-haired Ravena, devises numerous diabolical, torturous and inhuman ways for the prisoners to die. As they are both turned on by their evil acts, it does not take long for them to indulge in a passionate, often violent, love affair. Ravena loves to be tied, used and abused. The Executioner loves to do it just that and quickly finds himself madly in love with this beautiful assistant executioner.
But evil forces are at work within the castle, and the executioner is faced with the prospect of having to perform one of his horrible killings on the woman he loves!
34,700 words: Strong S&M content, including graphic executions.
This story contains a lot of bondage and torture and sex, not unusual for one of my novels. But this one has a main theme built round the idea of a man charged with the task of creating more, shall we say, showy ways of executing prisoners. So, yes, there will a lot of gruesome and unpleasant deaths.
Usually I stay away from deaths and serious bodily injury in my stories. Pain and suffering, tight ropes and nearly impossible bondage, sure, lots of that. A good whipping, fine. Spankings, caning, even branding a slavegirl now and then, that’s okay. But death and maiming are usually not present. So why the change in this book?
The answer is simple. Some people want fantasies that are much rougher and sadistic. One of my publishers informed me that, although he thought I was the best writer he had, I was not the best selling. The reason, he went on, was that I wrote about submissive females who loved bondage, non-submissive females who are kidnapped and turned into slavegirls, and such. His audience, he maintained, wanted something much more blood-thirsty and vicious. So I wrote this novel. What could be more vicious than a guy and his girlfriend going around killing people?
Please understand that this is fantasy: ideas put down on paper for the entertainment of those who find such entertaining. As they say, don’t try this at home.
The woman walking up the stairs of the scaffolding was holding her head high, no one could deny that. She wore the simple white smock of a prisoner and her hands were bound behind her with rope tightly corded about her crossed wrists. Her small feet were bare, as was her head. The gentle breeze that almost always blew off the Western Sea moved her raven hair restlessly. She was slender, with a long neck, and pronounced aristocratic features on her young face.
Another daughter of some noble family, thought John Wyequest as he watched her approach. He was standing on the gallows platform beside the hangman, a large man dressed the traditional attire: all in black leather, including the hood over his face. The eyes that showed through the holes darted to John then back to the girl. Yes, John said silently, she is a beauty. Too bad we have to kill her.
The woman reached the top step and stood defiantly before him. It was time for the Lord High Executioner to do this thing. Pulling a scroll from his pocket, he rolled it out and read in a loud voice so that all present could hear: “Here ye, here ye! By order of his Royal Majesty, King Frederick the Third, by Grace of God ruler of all these lands, we are gathered here to witness Royal Justice in its swift and sure execution.” The crowd became silent. The good part was coming now.
“This woman, one Elizabeth Cardolay, has been convicted of the crime of High Treason against the Crown. For this she will be put to death by hanging. May God have mercy on her soul.”
He rolled up the scroll and returned it beneath his robe. “Hangman, do your duty.”
Taking her bare arm, the black-clad man guided her two steps over to where the trap door was cut in the floor. Bidding her stand still, he placed the noose over her head and snugged it tightly about the slender neck. He was careful to place the coiled knot next to her right ear. The Lord High Executioner was watching her face and saw her lower lip tremble, a mere hint of the emotions within. She’s braver than most men, he thought. At least we don’t have to drag her up here, kicking and screaming like that one last week.
The hangman stood back and placed his hand upon the lever. It was John’s turn to step forward. “Naked you were born, and naked you shall leave this world!” he proclaimed in a loud voice. Then he ripped the smock from her body. As it should, the prepared, weakened threads parted easily and the garment fell to the platform. The body that was revealed was just as nice as the curves in the smock had hinted at. The waist was narrow, and the tummy flat. Her breasts were not huge but of nice shape and firmness. The patch of black curly hair that guarded her sex almost shone in the morning sunlight. She grimaced as her nudity was exposed to the crowd, but said nothing, her head still held high.
Often a priest would have come forward to give last rites, or some kind of blessing. But the King had ordered that ritual bypassed, which made John understand that this woman’s crime was of a religious nature. It was part of her punishment to deny her the last rites of her church.
Following the ancient custom, John lifted his right hand, fingers flat, and made a quick downward cutting motion. The hangman pushed the wooden lever over. There was a snick of a wooden dole being pulled out of the trap door, followed by a gasp from the naked woman. Just before the wooden door fell out from beneath her, John saw her eyes widen with fear and her mouth open as if to say something. Perhaps she was going to make a last second plea. Perhaps she wished suddenly to repent her religious sins and beg forgiveness of the King. Or perhaps she was going to curse him to hell. No one would ever know for the words never came out.
The scene was a familiar one to the Executioner, and it passed before his eyes as if in slow motion. The look of fear changed to one of surprise, and then her body began to move downward. It picked up speed. He could see the rope taking up its slack, then the jerk as it halted her fall. For a very long second the scene was frozen. The naked woman hung by her neck from the taut rope which was pushing her head to one side. She did not struggle or move — but only for that one second. Her eyes turned to John and he saw the hate in them. Hate and sadness, which was all you could see of her emotions as she realized that they had given her what is called a “slow noose,” and she would not die quickly with a broken neck from the fall, but instead experience a slow death by strangulation. Her mouth opened but no words came out for already the rope was constricting her slender neck hard enough to close off the air passage.
As they always do, she began struggling. Her hands twisted around her side to try and reach up to her neck but fell far short of that mark. Her legs began to kick at empty air. He watched, fascinated, as her fingers spread wide and then formed into fists. She was trying to pull her hands apart, to actually ripe the rope apart by shear strength. She was doomed to failure, of course, for the rope was far stronger than a mere woman. Because the rope had been set for a very short drop, part of her body was still above the floor level of the gallows, while her hips and legs were below. Those in the crowd could see both, because they were in front of the wooden scaffolding, but the lower part of her was blocked from John’s view by the floor. Not that it was important, he had seen this many times before.
Her struggles grew less as time slowly crept by. She twisted her body from side to side, not because it did any good, but because she had to do something. Her face grew red and her eyes began to bulge. He was close enough to hear the tiny rasping sounds she had as she tried desperately to pull air down into her lungs. He knew that those lungs would be burning in their demand for oxygen. Her head would be pounding and her vision blurring. He had heard what it was like from a man who was once hung in another country. For a minute or two he had hung, then the rope broke. In that country, they had a law that only one attempt at execution could be made. If something didn’t work, it was considered God’s will and you went free. That man had a vivid scar around his neck and an interesting story to tell to anyone who would listen and buy him drinks in the tavern.
The young woman, she couldn’t have been more than twenty-five or so, must have been getting a little air down her throat, John thought. She was lasting longer than most people could hold their breath. Her face was dark and her tongue protruding between her open lips. He noticed, as he often did, that her nipples were standing out erect and stiff. It was amazing, in a way, that, as a woman was dying, her body reacted as if it were having sex. He had once, in a non-public hanging, placed his finger into a woman’s vagina as she was dying. It had been very wet there. Often he wondered if a woman would have an orgasm while her life fled. It would be interesting to hang a woman but retrieve her at the last second, then hear what she had to say about the experience.
At times during the next five minutes, this one’s twisting turned her so that she was facing the Executioner. Her eyes caught his and held them. He could see the hate was gone, replaced by pain only. Then she closed her eyes and the struggles diminished, until there was only a twitch or two. Then he heard the sound of her bladder letting go, and knew she was dead.
She hung there with eyes closed and her tongue protruding, face discolored and turned to one side. Going over to the trap door, John knelt down to administer the test for death. From under his robe, he withdrew a stiletto, long and thin and very sharp. He plunged the knife into her left breast. There was no reaction. He withdrew the knife, wiped the blade on her raven hair, and returned it to its sheath. Standing, he turned to face the King’s box.
“As per Royal Decree, Sire, this woman has been executed,” he said in a loud voice.
The King, he saw, was already leaving the Royal Box. The crowd was dispersing, too, going off to whatever it was the peasants did. John turned to the hangman. “Your usual good job,” he commented. “She died slow enough to give the crowd a good show. And, of course, his Royal Majesty.”
The hangman grunted.
“You may remove the body.” He counted out ten silver coins from a leather sack and handed them to the hangman. “The dungeons are nearly full,” he added. “No doubt I’ll have need of your services again, and soon.” The man in black grunted again and began to cut the rope. Before John was down the stairs, the naked body fell to the ground with a soft thud.