Title: Garnets and Sand
Word Count 400
Rating PG for violence and misery
Garnets and Sand
They were not going to shoot him. He understood this when he saw the triangle. At sea of course they used a grating, but this would do as well. He saw, from the corner of his eye, the other prisoners lined up, ragged and shivering, to see the show.
The Don was speaking now, in English, for their benefit. “...Tried twice to escape, ought to be shot...” How the man went on. Archie wished he would hurry, it was cold without his shirt. The Don said something about Archie’s extreme youth. He said more too, about honor. By that time Archie had decided not to listen.
The ropes were put around his wrists. They stretched him tight of course, up on his bare toes. of course they did, that is how it was done He had seen it done, after all. He knew what to expect.
Time slowed horridly after that. He had time to hear the whip draw back, and the air driven from him as it struck. He was small and remote, within himself, cold except for the fire on his back. He had time to hear his own flesh tear. He had not known that was a sound that could be. There were other sounds, after a while Somewhere nearby a man was crying out in pain. He made a sound like a kicked dog, made it over and over. Archie wished he would stop.
After forever, it was over. Archie was drooling blood from his bitten mouth. He had stopped trying to hold his head up, and so the blood went down his bare front to the sand at his feet.
Two men, took his arms. He was propelled back into his own small cell. The punishment cell, this. He had a blanket and an empty bucket. Some kind soul had provided another bucket full of water. He should drink now, he knew that, but he was small and cold and far now, and he leaned his hot face against the cold stone.
After some time he sat. After some time he slept.
He dreamed of a necklace of garnets on a woman’s neck, the smell and the voice of so long ago. The voice had been his to love, the neck his to cling to. The garnets were nothing at all like the spray of blood as it soaked into sand.