THE ISLAND OF CONSENSUAL EXECUTIONS
The Peace Treaty
Author’s note: This is written by request for Arachnid with his permission and with him previewing the material, being as how it is his original idea.
An impoverished Caribbean island nation nears bankruptcy. In order to raise cash income from “tourists”, the nation’s leaders in desperation pass a law — consensual executions of sane and un-coerced foreigners by other foreigners will be legal in public execution areas on the island. (Original idea for the Island of Consensual Executions created by Arachnid.)
6 Family Beheadings
During the night I am restless, constantly getting up and going to the window. I awaken Gabrielle several times with my stirrings, but I cannot help it. I am filled with thoughts of how I drowned my dear, sweet sister and how I beheaded Akiel my betrothed. There will be more family executions in the morning; still more during the day. How I have grown to hate this peace process.
Gabrielle awakens in the morning. Together we prepare ourselves before going down to breakfast in the hotel restaurant. But once again I find it difficult to eat. In order to consummate this so-called peace treaty I must execute more of my family members before I wed that Bakir filth Prince Osman.
Mother and father come down and eat quickly, allowing me very little time for conversation with them. I ask her how things are going and why there seems to be complications to the negotiations. She tells me she does not know but that something does not feel right.
“Be brave, little one,” she tells me as she strokes my hair. “I know how hard it will be for you today. But peace between our two peoples is more important than the lives of our family.” If only I could believe that.
My oldest sister Shareel and her husband Nathan appear in the restaurant. Shareel is wearing the dress she wore to court her husband while Nathan sports a rather dashing suit of Navy blue. Mother excuses herself and rushes off to say her goodbyes to them.
I cannot look at them, knowing that sometime today I am destined to execute them both. My actions will leave their children as orphans. It is almost enough to make me sob with grief and shame.
Gabrielle looks at me and then looks around to see what has affected me thus. When she sees them saying their goodbyes to my parents she puts a hand on mine as it rests on the table. “Be brave, little one,” she tells me. “Be strong for their sakes.” I nod, but now I am unable to finish the meal on my plate.
It is not long until Gabrielle is summoned along with my sister and brother-in-law to see the hotel concierge. I try to swallow the lump in my throat, but it refuses to go down. She soon returns to retrieve me.
“It is time, little one,” she says softly. “There are to be some beheadings on the deck outside the hotel. The public is invited to attend. Even the camera that witnessed Anoria’s drowning will be there.”
So soon? Am I to execute Shareel and Nathan so soon? I never even got a chance to spend any time with them.
I rise up from where I have been sitting and numbly follow Gabrielle out of the restaurant. Out on the deck a crowd has gathered to watch the gruesome spectacle. The video camera with that female operator is there as well, dutifully recording it all to send back to her country. I would spit at the filthy Bakir, but I decide she is simply not worth the effort.
Shareel and Nathan wait quietly nearby, their hands already having been tied behind their backs. Thankfully I will not be required to bind them. But I see two other females in modest attire who also stand bound and waiting.
I look at Gabrielle questioningly as I ask, “Who are they?”
“That is Danae and the other is Charlese,” Gabrielle says simply. “They filled out the requisite forms and wish for you to execute them as well. Both have lost husbands in the war and wish to join them in the afterlife.”
I look at her in consternation. But she quickly reassures me. “They are both of sound mind and appear to be looking forward to the event. They even seem to like the idea that you will be their executioner. They are willing to go first in case you need the practice.”
I look over at the two young women who nervously smile back at me. I cannot help wondering if they fully grasp what they have signed up for. Then I sigh heavily, giving them a perfunctory nod. If they wish to be executed then I will endeavor to be as efficient and as professional as possible.
“Where are the Prince and his family?” I ask, looking over at the empty block next to mine.
“I do not know,” Gabrielle says, appearing as confused as I. “He should be here. I will go make enquiries.”
She slips away, talking to the camera operator as well as a couple of other people who appear to be of some importance. But they all shake their heads. She returns to me, appearing confused and somewhat alarmed.
“No one knows why they are not here,” she says in a huff. “But we are required to proceed whether they are present or not.”
“What about the peace process?” I demand. “I thought this was to be a joint effort.”
“I do not know, little one,” my handmaiden replies, shrugging her shoulders. Apparently she is just as much in the dark as I am.
“The paperwork for these beheadings has already been signed. You must proceed.” Then she leans closer and whispers into my ear, “Is it not wrong to delay the executions, making those who are to be beheaded made to suffer through an agonizing delay?”
I nod at her logic, blinking tears out of my eyes. Then she goes off and retrieves one of the widows. It is Danae whom she brings back and helps kneel before the block, gently adjusting her head upon the crimson stained surface. She then moves the long hair out of the way to give me a clear target to aim for.
“I am ready,” the young woman says in a trembling voice, her breathing labored. “This is for my husband and for the pride of Capree.” She tries to sound resolute but I hear a distinct note of fear in her tone.
I nod, taking a deep breath to compose myself. Then I hold the scimitar out above her, gauging her neck. She gasps and whimpers as I lift it above my head…
Danae’s head seems to leap off the block, bouncing twice and then rolling to a stop. Her body falls over onto its side, bucking and spasming as blood spurts out of her severed neck. I feel a shiver of something shameful course within me. But at least my blow was true and she did not suffer long.
I walk over, pick up her head and then display it to one and all. I am almost certain there is a flicker of consciousness in her eyes before her expression ultimately sags in death. There is polite applause: for the victim’s willingness or for my skill I do not know.
Two members of the military rush over and quietly remove the head and body. Then Gabrielle brings the other widow over. Charlese pants heavily as she is forced to kneel.
She looks up at me with a wild look in her eyes. She seems quite excited by the whole thing, and I lean forward in concern. “Are you all right?” I ask… not that it matters. Either way she will be dead in a matter of seconds.
“Yes,” she gasps in a trembling voice. “Forgive my excitement. I am prepared to die for my husband and my beloved Capree.” Then Gabrielle helps me by gently forcing her head down upon the block before stepping away.
I hold the scimitar out above her head, gauging where I will bring it down. But as I measure my swing I hold the weapon of execution a little closer to her neck than I intended. The blade accidentally nicks her, and she gasps and moans.
I curse inwardly as I heft the blade. But now Charlese writhes and squirms. Silently begging her forgiveness I quickly bring the blade down before I lose my nerve as well as my aim…
Her head tumbles forward as her body jerks in spasms. Blood spurts out of her neck stump as she pitches onto her side, bucking and convulsing noticeably. If I did not know better I would swear she has experienced some sort of sexual climax the moment the blade went through her neck.
I lift up her head and show it to one and all to polite applause. There is this incredible look on her face, almost as though it was the grandest moment of her shortened life. Then the two military men rush forward again to collect both the head and the body.
I suddenly spot four coffins that have been brought over for the event and are now lying nearby. I am reminded that two of them are designated for my precious family members. I look at Gabrielle with a pained expression on my face. She nods and then escorts Nathan over to the block.
He looks at me and smiles lovingly. “It is okay, little one. Do what you must. We are here of our own free will.” I am not certain of the truth of his words. But I vow to accomplish my task as swiftly and as proficiently as possible.
Gabrielle helps him kneel behind the block. Then she helps move his head into position. I have to blink the tears out of my eyes, knowing my aim must not be hindered in the slightest.
I glance over at Shareel, expecting a look of condemnation from my oldest sister now that I am about to behead her beloved Nathan. But all I see is love and understanding in her eyes. When I turn to Nathan I see the same love displayed there as his head rests upon the block.
I lift the scimitar and take careful aim. Then I bring the blade down swift and smooth…
Nathan’s head rolls off the block as his body topples over and begins spasming in the throes of death. Blood spurts out of his severed neck to pool with the crimson that has already accumulated upon the deck. Then I reach down and lift up his head for all to see, again receiving polite applause.
Shareel looks away, gasping in anguish as my heart breaks. I know they have volunteered and I know they do this for me and for our country. But it is still exceedingly painful. Thankfully the men rush forward and take the head away from me as they also gather up the body.
Gabrielle solemnly goes and retrieves my sister. Shareel and I exchange looks. Does she see the agony in my eyes?
She pauses near me long enough to quietly whisper, “I would stroke your hair if my hands were not bound, little one.” I have to fight against the tears that wish to flow.
Gabrielle helps her kneel as her breath quickens. She brushes the hair away from the back of her neck, giving me a clear target. Then my handmaiden steps back as I prepare the scimitar.
Shareel pants heavily for breath as I lift the blade. But my sister appears to mimic the actions of the beheaded widow Charlese. Is it possible this is also affecting her in some sort of sexual manner??
Her body writhes involuntarily as her head quivers on the block. “Be still, my dear sister,” I whisper anxiously.
“I am trying,” she whispers back anxiously. “But it is so hard. I am so excited I cannot help myself.”
I heft the scimitar and take careful aim, determined to do my very best. This one worries me and I take a few extra seconds to size up the path my blade will fall. Then I bring it down…
At the last possible moment my sister flinches. Thankfully my aim is close enough, coming much nearer to her shoulders than I wish. But the blow is effective and mercifully quick.
Her head seems to fly as though liberated from her neck. But it is her body that bucks and jerks around as though caught up in some shameful sexual self-masturbation. I lift up her head and display it to polite applause, my body tingling with extremely disgraceful stirrings.
I take a brief look at her expression. There is something in her eyes as though she was all caught up at the moment of greatest pleasure before my blade came down. Then her expression sags tiredly in death, bringing tears to my eyes.
The men come and retrieve her head and body, concluding my assignment with the scimitar on the deck. At least I was able to perform my duties in a manner worthy of their sacrifice. But inwardly my heart breaks.
“Let us go,” I tell Gabrielle solemnly. I need something to settle my nerves. She nods understandably and together we walk away. I nearly slump against her in exhaustion and psychological torment as we head for the hotel bar…
7 Serving as Witnesses
“Little one!” mother exclaims in dismay when she finds us sitting at a booth. “There you are.” She scowls at the drink I have been nursing over the last hour. But apparently there is more on her mind than just my intake of alcohol.
“You and Gabrielle must come at once. They cannot start without you as witnesses.”
“Witnesses to what?” I ask numbly. I am still haunted by the expressions of my sister and brother-in-law after I beheaded them.
“The deck,” she tells me as she reaches out and grabs my arm. “Have you not heard? Prince Osman is out there preparing to execute members of his family this very moment!”
I snort in derision. “Have you not heard, mother? His family is exempt.”
“The deception has been uncovered, little one,” mother gasps breathlessly. “The negotiations are in chaos. The first of his family executions are about to begin. You must be there as witness or the negotiations may very well collapse.”
I look at Gabrielle in surprise as she looks back at me. Then we rise together, following my mother out of the bar. She leads us back to that dreaded deck and the bloody wooden blocks.
A larger crowd has gathered; I see that same camera still sits in place. That same female sits behind the equipment duly recording the event. I cannot help but dislike her.
An important looking man waits impatiently upon the deck near one of the blocks. When he sees us approaching he reacts as though the proceedings must now begin. I watch him brush himself off with his hands and then nod at the camera before starting to speak.
“Ladies and gentlemen. We are here today to continue our consummation of the peace process between the people of Bakir and the people of Capree. As some of you might have heard, there has been a slight misunderstanding as to the nature of the joint executions that are to take place.”
“Unbeknownst to us,” he continues, “some brave family members from the country of Capree have been executed without a corresponding sacrifice from the country of Bakir. There were executions earlier this morning… brave and noble sacrifices for the peace of our two countries without the full knowledge of the Bakir. This was purely unintentional.”
“Unintentional my eye,” I murmur under my breath with disdain. “I sincerely doubt they did not know. They never intended to execute any members of the family of that filthy Prince Osman.”
“Hush!” my mother whispers with an alarmed look on her face, nudging me to silence as though fearful someone might have overheard me. “We are at a delicate moment in the peace process! Do not make things worse!”
“…it is our intention to right this wrong,” he goes on. “Their brave sacrifice must not be in vain.” But I get the impression this is simply an attempt to gloss over the deception.
He gestures as he solemnly proclaims, “Without further ado I present to you… Prince Osman of the Bakir.”
The Prince comes forward wearing formal attire as he steps up onto the deck. He retrieves the scimitar as his best man comes forward with a trembling young woman, her hands bound behind her back. She is in a simple dress, but she has a natural beauty I cannot help but admire.
She is led over to the Prince who kisses her forehead. I see something haunted in his eyes. Is it indeed possible they are related? Then the best man helps her kneel in front of the block.
Her hair is pulled away from her neck, and I find myself breathing hard. It is a totally different matter witnessing this from the crowd. I watch as he measures her neck and then hefts the blade. A moment later he swiftly brings it down…
I jerk at the sound as her head drops forward and rolls onto the side of her face. Her body falls over onto its side and instantly goes into convulsions. Amazingly I feel a shameful surge of tingles as he picks up her head and displays it to the crowd to polite applause. Then he tenderly kisses her forehead before those same two men come to take away her head and body.
I cannot believe my shameful response. I am caught up in the spectacle of bloodshed just like everyone else. I force myself to stand there rooted in place like a giant oak, fighting to hide my emotions.
After her head and body are taken away, his best man leads a young man up to the block. The prince grabs the bound individual by the shoulders and hugs him with obvious affection. Then the young man is helped down onto his knees before the block.
I can see he is trembling as he dutifully stretches his neck outward upon the stained block of oak. The Prince measures his strike and then lifts the scimitar…
I jerk again with a start as the young man’s head leaps forward, bouncing twice before coming to rest. His body jerks in response as though fighting to remain alive before finally toppling over onto its side. The Prince grabs the head by a handful of hair and lifts it up to display to the crowd, again receiving polite applause.
This one is worse than the last and I feel something completely shameful stir within me. I may loath the Bakir – may believe these sacrificial lambs are getting their just due. But I should not react thus to the willing surrender to the blade of each one. My breath catches in my throat as these disgraceful feelings intensify.
Another female in a plain outfit with a down-home charm is escorted forward. The Prince does not react with the same meaningful gestures as he did toward the last two. Perhaps she is not related and only wishes to volunteer.
This time my eyes are upon the Prince as the woman kneels and obediently stretches out her head upon the bloody block. I watch as he hefts the scimitar and measures his strike. Then the blade falls…
I inhale sharply as her head lazily tumbles forward, blood pumping out of her neck stump. Her body spasms as she falls over, jerking and convulsing as her muscles react haphazardly to messages no longer being sent by her brain. Then he bends down, picks up her head and displays it to polite applause.
I wince, almost caught up in a shameful climax. This time I honestly do not know if it is in reaction to the executed… or to the power of the executioner. I loathe him as a Bakir. But strangely I find myself being drawn to him.
Another bound male is brought forward and forced to kneel. The Prince emotionlessly hefts the scimitar and then brings it down… THUNK! The male’s head appears to jump off the block, forcing the Prince to take a couple of steps to fetch it and then lift it up to that same infuriating applause. I am barely able to hold back my climax as I pant heavily for breath.
His best man leads one more bound woman up onto the deck. She is in a beautiful dress and appears to be quite attractive. But I do not fail to miss the tears in the eyes of the Prince.
He grabs her by the shoulder and holds her close. Then he kisses her deeply. His best man finally pulls them apart and then helps her to kneel before the block.
I find myself wondering who this woman is. She does not have the same facial features of one of his sisters. Could it be someone he loves, just as I loved and then had to behead my Akiel?
He takes a few extra moments to size up his swing. I find my breath catching in my throat. She turns to look at him one last time before offering her neck to him. Then he carefully hefts the scimitar…
Her head flies away, her body toppling over in convulsions as I stand there orgasming shamefully. He picks up her head and displays it to the crowd to polite applause. Then he tenderly kisses her lips.
I can tell he is deeply affected by this last one. But a part of me is not the least bit sorry for him. He is a filthy Bakir who finally knows what it is like to suffer loss as I have. And yet I feel a certain empathy toward him, having experienced the pain of executing my beloved Akiel.
The Prince comes down off the deck as the important looking man steps up. “This concludes the morning executions,” he says formally. “May these brave sacrifices between both sides emphasize our determination to bring a lasting peace between our two countries.” Then he walks away to the applause of the crowd.
“I have seen enough,” I scowl, motioning for Gabrielle as I try to cover the fact I have shamed myself with my sexual response. “Let us leave. Are you coming, mother?”
“I am sorry, little one,” she sighs heavily, “but I cannot. There is so much that still needs to be done.” Then she runs a hand tenderly through my hair. “Perhaps I can catch up to you during the lunch hour?”
“I will look for you then, mother.”
Everyone else is leaving. Gabrielle and I slip in amongst those who are walking away. For now the spectacle is over. But I feel a certain bloody stain upon my soul from my own use of the scimitar earlier that morning, a stain that I feel can never be washed away…
(written for Arachnid Dec 18 ’11 by riwa)