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A man stood on a large stage crowded by a mob of people below him. Sweat drops began to rapidly pour down his forehead which, painfully stung his dark brown eyes as they fell. His throat felt incredibly dry when he gulped which, caused him pain further. He wondered why o smoldering summer day like this he was shivering. Although he already knew the answer.
He gazed down at the mob of people who were all dressed in very proper clothing.
‘It was Sunday after all,’ the man reminded himself. ‘And I foolishly thought with them all attending church that it would be a clean getaway from the vault.’
The people despite their civilized appearance were screaming obscenities that the man knew were directed at him. Lines of deputies bellow the stage were all that kept the mob from storming up there and killing him themselves. Their bloodlust felt almost palpable to him as they waited eagerly for the moment.
The man stood still and saw a face that he recognized from long ago. He assumed that the face belonged to his executioner and was proven correct as a thick noose was wrapped around his neck. The executioner turned to face him directly in the eyes while smiling and searching for any trace of fear. Although the man was on verge of vomiting, he wouldn’t allow himself to give that b*****d that satisfaction of showing it.
“Finally after all these years we found your sorry hide,” whispered the ugly executioner in a low voice that only Taylor could hear. “The great James Taylor who was once a living legend. Who murdered and pillaged for ten years and never was caught even with a million dollar bounty on your head. And soon you will pay for every crime.”
James Taylor said nothing in retort but gave him the dirtiest look he could muster.
“James Taylor you stand here at the site of your soon to be execution based on the horrible tragedy that you bestowed upon our village seven years ago,” boomed a voice of smug satisfaction that echoed across the entire crowd. It must have belonged to the mayor of the village. “You have been convicted of one count of first degree murder and nine counts of robbery.”
“Convicted? I don’t recall ever having a trial.” snapped James loud enough that everyone among the mob could hear it.
“A trial? hahaha. You think someone like you deserves the privilege of a trial? No you wont be able to smooth talk your way out of this one. The village committee has reviewed your case and has agreed upon your guilt.”
A cool breeze graced James’s neck in the unbearable heat. ‘This is really happening,’ James realized. This was far from the first time he had ever been close to or contemplated his own death due to his line of work. However, he had always imagined
that he would die in a gunfight in which he would take out fifty or so men. The thought of being captured alive and having his life dangled in front of him never occurred to him nor did it sit well with him. This entire thing felt like a dream up until now when James realized just how real it was.
“As I said you have been convicted upon the murder of Phil Donivan in the first degree as well as nine counts of robbery,” continued the voice of the mayor. “If you have any words of apology and regret and you beg for your life the committee may choose to spare your life.”
“Phil Donivan,” muttered James under his breath. “I admit to doing more than my share of murder. A lot of which now looking back I regret. But Donivan is one of those which, I don’t regret one spec. He got what he deserved.”
“You choose death then?” The mayor asked. “You never were very bright were you Taylor?”
A surge of warmth suddenly spread through James’s body. The overwhelming fear which had him on verge of trembling suddenly left him in a matter of seconds. He smiled looking back at the mayor with a feeling of comfort that he had never felt before.
“If living means groveling on my knees over a piece of s*** like Donivan,” proclaimed Taylor with a grin “Then I would rather die on my feet with my head held high. Come on lets get this over with.”
A series of gasps fell over the crowd who were dumbfounded with shock. They had clearly been expecting nothing less then James Taylor kneeling over kissing the mayor’s feet begging for his life. James smiled clearly amused at their reaction.
“Very well then,” snarled the mayor who was clearly frustrated.
The executioner pushed Taylor forward over the trap door that would open within seconds. James realized this would be his last few moments on earth but he was not afraid. ‘Funny’ he thought ‘that someone in his line of work would ever be truly free from fear.’
The cracking sound of a loud snap echoed over the of the wind. All the excitement of the crowd mysteriously had gone with the breeze.