Photo by Angie McNeill
He’d lain there listening to them work since sunup. The sounds of hammers and taunts, saws and curses, couldn’t force him to look. There was no point. He knew what fate lay below the window, just as sure as they knew his guilt. Stretched out on the wooden bunk, he’d focused on the sound of his breathing instead; watching the rise and fall of his chest from beneath the brim of his hat.
He hadn’t strained to hear hooves pounding in the distance or gun shots blasting in the street like the last time. There would be no “blaze of glory.” No “one last stand.” There was no one left to come.
This wasn’t the end he’d imagined. At forty-two, he’d survived more brushes with death then he cared to count. He just never thought it’d come to this. Of course, he had never offered a choice to his victims either.
It had been a long, bitter road, and the world was through with him now. Their backs turned, the night coming. A flame burned in his gut, urging him to fight like the sun for that last drop of light. But a small part of him was glad to be done.
The rope burned as it tightened across his throat. One last glimpse of the blazing sun. And the world stopped.