The wood dragged against masonry leaving a shadow of splintered earth.
The wailing was muted by his breath.
Deep and long
Strides in sandaled feet.
Pausing to move weathered hands
Blistered and cramped.
Eyes never falling--
Fathers and sons.
Mothers whose breath pulled from clenched
The executioner's voice looming.
Fist-back drawing beads of sweat.
Freezing and holding up that hand to silence the voices.
The one that called his name and made prickly skin crawl.
Eyes wildly dance among the crowd.
Who calls he?
The mallet raised and slicing through sun beam.
Again the voice as the strike is blown.
The deafening ring.
Low groan that swells from gut to drown the sound of his name.
Lightning crash and thunder roll.
Fingers that curl around handle worn--
Barely holding as blood pools at both men's feet.
Remorse caught in the back of his throat is like bile.