Short story about a steampunk pirate facing the gallowes.
|Please Review. I'm constantly looking for ways to improve my writing. Keep in mind this is a first draft. Please look back in the future for edited versions.
The pirate Tricula sat stiffly in the packed court room. The shackles around her wrists digging painfully into her flesh, rubbing away the skin in some places. She hoped she wouldn't get an infection, though she was on trial, and likely to hang by sun down. So an infection didn't seem too bad a compromise at this point.
She raised her arms to sniff her armpits and grimaced.
The gaurd behind her let out a throaty laugh. "Don't worry about how yeh smell now girly. By t'morrow the crows will be peckin' out yer eyes, and the maggots will be laying their babe's in yer gut. An' everyone will be coverin' their nose when they walk past yer rottin' corpse."
She wanted to explain that maggots matured into flies, and it would be flies that were laying eggs in her gut, and the eggs would turn into maggots. But his words had got to her- and her tongue seemed to heavy to speak.
She couldn't see a mirror, but she knew the colour had drained from her face. Her fox red hair was probably matted and dirty from the fitful sleep on her cell floor. No rest for the wicked she supposed. No food and water either apparently, as her throat was raw and her lips chapped from thirst and hunger. Her bones ached from the fight that had led to her capture.
She could feel a head ache coming on. Everyone was whispering about her, about the stories. The myths and legends. How she was immortal. It was too loud, much too loud.
Suddenly the room began to hush, and a booming voice sounded throughout the speakers. "All rise."
Slowly people began to stand, and a firm hand grabbed the back of her neck and dragged her to her feet. She thought about all those outlaw tales she heard as a child. How they died in battle, or saving people, how glorified they were. Would there be any glory in hanging by her throat? Would her neck break cleanly? Or will she dance for them slowly suffocating.
The room was so large and full of people, she could just see the king Sekret now, coming towards them. He was dressed in the traditional vertically pleated skirt of linen, which was so artfully wrapped it came up and looped over his forearms. His bare chest was visible, his brown skin was oiled and glittered. He was beautiful, like one of the Pharaoh's from long ago.
There was no noise in the room now, nothing but the clink of his staff beating itself against the floor with every step closer he took.
She glanced at Amira, the princess of this floating city. The Princess was seated in the balcony across from her with the rest of the royal family. She was also dressed finely like her father in white linens, her hair was combed and clean. Very unlike the clothes that had been stolen for her during her time on the Iron Horse. Her time as a prisoner, as a friend, as a lover.
She shook her head, not the time for a pity party. The bailiff gripped her neck a little tighter.
"Don't yeh try ter get free now," he said threw gritted teeth.
She thought about stepping on his toes, lifting the sword from his belt and pressing it into his throat. She thought about how there were at least 50 gaurds in this room, and how long it would take them to rush forward and gut her like a pig.
She bit the inside of her cheek.
King Sekret made his way up to the judges bench. The balcany with the royal family above him, all but one had greedy smiling faces. He stood, his mallet in hand and hammered. "Please be seated."
There was a loud russelling as everyone in the room sat.
"Would the Accused please stand," he said, his voice was like oil over the intercom.
Having barely been seated, Tricula stood again without aid. She stared straight up at him, glaring. She tried to concentrate on not shaking with fear, or looking away.
"Please read the list of crimes, Prosecution." The King waved a hand and the young man who was the prosecution stood, and walked around his bench to face the crowd of people.
He unrolled a very long scroll and taking a deep breath he began, "for the crimes of war in 1637 leading to the uprising of the nomadic land tribes and the murder of King Delano in 1638 as a result. For 378 counts of pillaging between the years of 1641-1787 up to and including the raid on Kings Sekret's treasury which took place two nights previous. For 12 counts of kidnapping, up to and including the return of Princess Amira. For all accounts property damage, fraud, flying under the influence-"
"If we could stop there," said the king. His hand raised in a silencing gesture.
The prosecution turned nodding, and took his seat again.
The kings eyes slowly drifted to my face, "How do you plead?" he asked.
Shaking, I swallowed hard. "Not guilty," I managed to get out some how, and the whole room burst into chatter. She sat back down.
For a few minutes the room was a blur of noise. It was true, she wasn't guilty, well with the exception of holding Princess Amira for ransom, and trying to break into the treasury. And since both crimes had been unsuccessful, she didn't count them as crimes. She wasn't the pirate Tricula, at least not the first one. By her reckoning, she was the 12th in the line.
Finally three cracks of the hammer silenced the room again. "Enough!" shouted Sekret, he put down the mallet. "I here by sentence you to hang by the neck until dead!"
Hearing the words out loud made her jump to her feet. The room was eerily silent and every face had turned to look at her.
"I plead on my belly," she said softly. She had meant to yell it, but the words were hard to form in her throat.
"What was that?" the king asked sharply, turning in his chair to look at her.
"I'm pregnant," she said more firmly. "I plead my belly, you can't hang me until the babe is born!"
The silence seemed to fill the room, to expand and press against her, and then all at once people were talking.
"She's lying!" someone screamed above all the voices.
Tricula glared up at the royal balcony.
Amira stood, her face turning red as all attention was on her now. "She-e can't be pregnant."
Tricula stared at her shackles, her only hope at coming out alive today seemed to be slipping away.
"What do you mean?" the king stared up at his daughter in confusion and anger.
Tricula didn't dare look up, hatred boiled inside of her. She remembered the shy little girl she had captured and held for ransomed, the gentle creature she fell in love with. The one person screaming at the top of her lungs that Tricula couldn't be pregnant, and that they should take her into the square and watch her hang.