Mourning Clothes

“You have five minutes.”
The young woman picked her way down the dank steps to the cell. There a man not older than twenty sat with his head in his hands. Chains linked his hands and feet. His smile was uncertain when he noticed her and stood up. She was dressed in the dark mourning clothes of a widow.
“I have to pretend I care,” she said softly, motioning to the clothes. “Now suddenly everyone acts as if he was a good man.”
“And they think the worst of me.”
She said nothing, but stared at his hands on the bars.
“I regret nothing, you know,” he said
“I wanted to tell them that I pulled the trigger,” she sobbed softly. “But the children -”
“I wish I had pulled the trigger. I was a coward, nothing more.”
“I have doomed you as well. They won’t even bury you in the cemetery.”
He shrugged and the chains rattled.
“I should have -”
“I forgive you,” he said and took her hand in his. “I’ve always loved you, you know.”
“I know.” She started crying. “I’m wearing these for you.”
“Time for the hanging,” the guard called out gleefully from above.

By Carin Marais

Bibliophile, writer of speculative fiction, non-fiction, and maybe-fiction, language practitioner, doer of stuff.

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