This is a short story I wrote for a class assignment. I hope you like it. Should I write more short stories, or stick with poems?
“That was it! That really was the last straw!” He stood up, breathing heavily, his eyes flashing. He was clearly shaking, and had to grip the edge of the table to steady himself. He took a few quick breaths, glancing unemotionally at the old man sobbing in front of him. He walked quickly out the door, slamming it with a thud behind him.
* * *
Marie knew why she was here, in this dark, wet room that stank of fear and death. She knew it was through no fault of her own that she had been trapped here for what seemed like years, but in reality had only been a few months. It was her father’s fault. That spineless, slimy git of a man she had the misfortune of being related to. Him, and his stupid ideas and ideals had gotten her into this mess, and she knew there was no way he was getting her out of it.
She had resigned herself to her death. She knew it was inevitable: the men that lived above her head had no regard for her life as a human being. To them, she was simply a tool they could use to their advantage in this game they called war.
She had been used to wearing rags before she was brought here. To fit in with the kind of people her father had needed to fit in with, she had needed to pretend to be an ordinary girl. But the level of disrespect she was paid – that still hurt her every time.
As for the pain… she managed to block most of it out. She could see how much it hurt her father to see her go through so much abuse and cruelty, but she knew he would never give up. Even if- no, even when she was killed, he would not tell them anything.
Out of all of them, the one she hated the most was the one the other men called Sir. He had never directly touched her: his tactics were much more subtle than that. No, he didn’t want to dirty his own hands, but he had no problem telling the other men what methods he thought would be most likely to make her crack.
He was always there when she was being made suffer, quiet for the most part, but leaning over occasionally to whisper something into the ear of one of the men on either side of him. He always carried this notebook as well, and was constantly writing in it.
It wasn’t even that he enjoyed seeing her suffer. It seemed to be more calculating, like he was trying to work out why she was suffering. That thought made her so angry, that the only reason he was doing all this was for some sick experiment.
She heard footsteps. She straightened up, wiping the fear off her face. If nothing else, she wanted to appear brave in front of her captors.
It was him. The one she feared and hated the most. Except… he was different. His normal cool composure was gone completely, and he was breathing heavily. Sweat dripped from his face, and his clothes were dishevelled. He fumbled with the lock, almost dropping the key before finally getting it open.
He charged into the room, grabbing Marie by the hair, and pulling her into a standing position. She just managed to stifle her unexpected gasp of pain, but could not stop a fleeting grimace from crossing her face.
He smiled, a twisted smile, at the look on her face. “Your father has pushed me too long. I have let him make a fool of me, but no longer. It’s not working, and I don’t care any more. Maybe when he sees your pretty little head detached from your neck he’ll change his mind.”
He pulled her out of her cell, still holding her by her hair, and dragged her down the corridor. She was too shocked to do anything. Finally, the time had come, and even though she had thought she was ready for this moment, in reality she wasn’t. She didn’t want to die.
But it wasn’t like she had a choice. This man, pulling her towards her death by her hair, was the only one with power over her life now.
They finally reached a new part of the castle. Marie was flung into a proper room, the first she’d seen for months. Yet, although it was cleaner, this room smelt just as strongly of death as her last prison.
And it was still a prison. He closed the door, with a final click, and locked it. All that was left for Marie was to wait. Wait for her final goodbye.
* * *
She did not have to wait long, but it seemed long enough. A large woman arrived in her cell, and ordered her to strip off. As Marie stood there shivering, her body and hair were scrubbed clean with freezing water, before she was handed a threadbare towel to dry herself off with.
After that she was dragged off to another room, by armed guards this time, where three more women waited, with one of the monstrosities she used to wear for special occasions and fancy dinners. Her makeup was done, white skin with dark eyebrows and rouged cheeks. A white powdered wig was placed on her head, with strings of beads and leafs looped through it. She was forced into a too-small dress, blue, with a white and red trim. She could see his idea now. It was his final humiliation, sending her off wearing a mockery of her old life, in the colours of the revolution.
Finally, she was dragged into a carriage. As it bumped along the road to the town square, she used the time to reflect on all she could have done, the places she could have seen. Too late now. She would just be another noble slaughtered by the revolution. Her name would probably not even be remembered.
The carriage jolted to a halt. They had arrived. She stepped out of the carriage, almost tripping over her ridiculous dress. She refused the hand offered by one of her guards. She wanted to leave with dignity, and pride.
She reached the guillotine. She was disgusted by all the people who had turned out to see her die. It was made into such a show, a mockery. She walked slowly up the steps, almost stumbling on the first. As she reached the guillotine, she took a deep breath, and braced herself. It had finally sunk in. Even when he had told her she was going to die, she had still not believed it. But now she did. Tears dripped down her face, and she made no move to wipe them away. What was the point of trying to hold on to her dignity now?
As her head was placed in the stocks, her powdered wig slipped, concealing one eye. Her last conscious thought was the motto of the revolution. Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité – all lies.