by Faith Mudge
read by Loulou Szal
First published in Hear Me Roar
Part of our Aurealis Month, celebrating the Australian Aurealis Awards.
hosted by Cat Sparks
It is an insult to die at midday.
In the mountain country where I was born, such things take place in the dark of night: the fall of an axe, the knotting of a noose. Here, it is a spectacle. From the narrow window of my tower room, I can see the road that leads away from the castle, down to the sea; it is already lined with people, jostling and squabbling amongst themselves for the best view of my execution.
In this place, a town will turn out to watch a man kill his wife, and call it justice.
My husband wants me to see this, to spend my last hours thinking about what will happen when the sun hits its zenith. Very soon he will step from the great oak doors, and a guard will come to bring me down. The crowd will get what they hunger for then. I hope it haunts them. It probably won’t.
By this point it makes no difference. He can break every bone in my body and shed every drop of my blood and he will still be the fool. Elyse will still be gone.
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I’m Faith Mudge, a Queensland writer with a passion for fantasy, folk tales and mythology from all over the world—in fact, almost anything with a glimmer of the fantastical. I post regular reviews and articles here—my current blog project is Ladies of Legend, for which I write monthly posts about female figures from myth and legend—and I am also present at beyondthedreamline.tumblr.com. My stories have appeared in various anthologies, the latest being Cranky Ladies of History, Hear Me Roar and Daughters of Frankenstein: Lesbian Mad Scientists. I am always here for witches and angry princesses.
Loulou Szal is a school teacher specializing in English and medieval History, but is also a lifelong fan of fantasy, romance and historical fiction. She is also fluent in both English and Arabic. Besides trying to pen her own stories, she is delighted to have multiple narration credits at StarShipSofa and now Podcastle. When she was eighteen she managed to track down and interview Mark Hamill for her school magazine. She lives with her husband and two children (one of whom is a writer and editor of science fiction) in sunburnt Sydney, Australia where she’s always on the hunt for antique books to add to her ever growing collection.
Loulou’s son, Jeremy Szal, edited her narration for this story.