Joia 14



When Joia was brought into the last room beyond which lay the dreadful blade, she saw the others had already been gathered there, all of them equally naked. She scanned their faces to see who might have betrayed her. But she saw nothing that gave anyone away.

It did not matter. Mistress had obviously brought them all here to see her off. It set off a fresh stirring of shamefully disturbing feelings of fearful excitement inside her.

She felt embarrassed when she saw Marsona. Joia lowered her head in disgrace. But her friend rushed over to her, wrapping her arms around her and weeping openly.

The guards should have pushed her away. But they chose not to. It was a surprising amount of compassion to be shown toward the two young women.

“What have they done to you??” Marsona cried out grief-stricken as she examined the welts that crisscrossed her friend’s body. “What did you tell them?”

“What does it matter?” Joia answered quietly. “It is done. I told her there were no others who were involved. The responsibility is mine alone to bear.”

“No!” Marsona wept, shaking her head and then crying into the shoulder of her dear friend. “You’ve done nothing wrong!”

Behind her, the other girls were sniffling. Joia could see tears in the eyes of many. It lifted her spirits to see their compassion for her, and it strengthened her resolve to face the blade with as much dignity as she could muster.

Clemencia soon burst in. She cruelly dragged her away from Marsona out the door. Behind her she thought she heard more weeping.

Joia gasped when she stepped outside and saw that everything was ready for her. The slab was in place, the leather straps at the ready. The blade was set at the top of its framework.

Her eyes widened in alarm despite her bravado, and she began to quiver anew. Several guards were standing nearby. The executioner was already at his position.

“The blade is sharp today,” Clemencia observed, looking at the glistening steel while conversing with her as though making small talk with a companion. “It is hungry for blood. I shall feed it all it can take and more.”

Mistress smiled cruelly at her, licking her lips. Then she gestured with a waving motion toward a truck. It roared to life before backing into position near the blade.

Joia gasped again, her heart pounding in her chest. She stared at what was to be the conveyance of her remains. She could see a bedding of straw lying upon the floor of the back of the truck.

She swallowed hard as the sensations swelled within her again. Once more she looked up at the blade. It set her to trembling uncontrollably.

She paused a moment to compose herself. “I am ready,” she finally said aloud.

At that moment Joia fully expected to be taken over and strapped down onto the wooden slab. But Mistress appeared to hesitate, keeping her at her side. A moment later the door opened.

Out through the door, flanked by guards, came… “Avelina?” Joia gasped in astonishment.

She frowned in confusion. What was this?? Then she watched in horror as the guards led the petite young woman over to the wooden slab.

“Mistress??” Joia gasped in alarm as her heart skipped a beat. Clemencia ignored her, her eyes glistening malevolently as she watched the proceedings.

Little Avelina was about Gemina’s size. Of her fellow sisters, she was one of two most likely to say anything to save their own skin. When Joia heard she had been betrayed, she was all but convinced little Avelina had been numbered among the betrayers. She would not have held it against her if it were true.

Now the young woman stood near the wooden slab. Her eyes were wide in horror as her naked chest rose and fell. Joia could not help noticing that Avelina’s little nipples were starting to harden.

“Mistress?” the little thing whimpered in a high pitched voice of immense fear.

“It is a simple matter, my dear,” Clemencia told her sympathetically. “I have decided to execute Joia’s conspirators first. Confess your innocence, admit to Joia’s guilt, and you will be returned to your sisters. Otherwise I will be forced to assume you are in league with her.”

This time it was Joia’s turn to gasp in horror. She anxiously blurted out, “Mistress; I already TOLD you! There are no others involved! I alone am guilty of-”

“The condemned will be silent!”

“Mistress, please send her back inside!”


Joia gulped in alarm. Avelina looked uncertainly at her. Then the young woman turned to Clemencia. Her words surprised both Mistress and the condemned Joia…

“I know of no such plot. She is innocent, Mistress, and so am I. We are both faithful to Master.”

“You will confess to knowledge of her treachery or you will die with her!” Clemencia’s voice indicated she was angry the young woman was not giving up the condemned.

“Avelina – NO!” Joia gasped, her heart beating fast. This was NOT how it was supposed to go!

The young woman flanked by the two guards took a deep breath as though trying to compose herself. Then she spoke in a quivering voice. “We are both loyal to Master, Mistress. I know of no plot. Surely you must be mistaken. I will speak to Master on Joia’s behalf.”

Clemencia was enraged. “Strap her down!” she ordered.

Joia cried out “NOOO!” as little Avelina was forced onto her back onto the wooden slab. Her head was locked into position. Her legs dangled over the end of the slab, but her feet did not quite touch the ground.

Joia noticed how the young woman’s nipples had become even more noticeable. It affected her shamefully. This was not something she desired to witness, no matter how it might affect her.

Mistress growled at Avelina, “Choose your next words carefully, little one, or they may be your last!” Joia was horrified. Her body was now throbbing with dreadful sensations at the sight of the small, yet beautiful young woman lying naked on the slab, her little chest rising and falling as she gasped for breath.

“Avelina – PLEASE!” Joia begged, her heart pounding in her chest. “You must confess my guilt!”

The young woman, frightened though she was, was unyielding. “My sister is innocent, Mistress,” Avelina pronounced in a trembling voice. “Sh–she and I serve M–Master!”

“OFF WITH HER HEAD!” Clemencia bellowed.

Joia cried out “NOOOO!” as the executioner reached for the rope. Avelina looked up at the blade above her. In a loud voice she started to cry out, “JOIA IS INNO –“ Then the blade silenced her forever with a loud thunk, leaving her body to buck and jerk in the straps for several seconds.

Joia jerked as she watched the blade land… as though it had been her own neck. She choked back a sob as Alvelina’s head dropped and rolled once. It ended up face down in the red earth.

The hooded executioner picked up the skull by her brown locks. He showed her face to Joia and Clemencia. The poor thing’s eyes were wide in shock.

Joia shuddered involuntarily. She sobbed quietly as a shameful wave of warm pleasure washed through her body.

“Dispose of that… thing!” Mistress demanded, motioning at the body which had stopped spasming on the slab. “Toss her into the truck. She will soon be joined by her fellow conspirators!”

Joia was absolutely horrified. She stared in shock at Clemencia. Mistress gave her a smirk of sadistic cruelty.

The executioner carelessly tossed the head into the back of the truck. It bounced twice in a collection of loose straw. Two other guards quickly unstrapped her body.

They hauled it over by the arms and legs to the back of the truck where they swung her up and in. Joia choked back another sob. Then Clemencia snapped her fingers.

The two guards who’d brought little Avelina out rushed back inside. This time they brought out Osanna. She was the other one whom Joia suspected might have betrayed her.

She was half a head taller than Joia. She had a beautiful head of reddish-brown hair and a fully formed chest. She had pushed for her own way during her stay in the compound until quickly learning that settling into an attitude of servitude would keep her alive much longer.

She looked into the back of the truck as she was brought forward toward the blade. Osanna could clearly see Avelina’s headless, naked body lying inside. Blood was still oozing out of the severed neck.

She stared for a long moment. That’s when she appeared to start shaking a little. Then she turned to face Joia and Clemencia.

Mistress wasted no time with her. “Do you have anything to say to me, Osanna?”

“Please…” Joia murmured quietly. “You must!”

Her heart pounded in her chest as she nodded at her former companion to speak up. If the young woman said nothing, she would suffer the same fate as Avelina. Joia was not sure she could tolerate a second beheading.

“You must condemn me!” she murmured at her as more tears welled up in her eyes.

Osanna looked kindly at her, giving her a warm smile. But when Joia nodded at her (You MUST!) Osanna calmly shook her head (No). Joia felt a lump in her throat… and then winced as those shameful feelings intensified again.

“Strap her down!” Clemencia barked in frustration. “Perhaps that will loosen her tongue!”

Osanna was forced down on her back onto the slab of wood. Her neck was fitted into the path of the blade. “This is your last chance to announce your innocence and Joia’s guilt,” Clemencia told her, barely able to control her fury.

Osanna turned toward Joia and smiled. Then she looked up at the blade, closed her eyes… and simply waited in silence. Joia had never felt so honored, nor so grief-stricken as she watched helplessly.

Mistress looked sternly at Osanna. But the girl’s eyes remained closed. She seemed unwilling to speak, although her fear was obvious as her chest rose and fell.

She appeared to be trembling. Joia watched in horror as her own heart thumped loudly in her chest. “You will not speak??” Clemencia observed in anger and frustration. “Then you can speak to Avelina when next you see her!”

She nodded at the executioner. With a pull of the rope, the blade fell. Joia jumped with a start… and then gasped in horrified disbelief as it came down.

Osanna’s naked body jerked and spasmed as her head dropped onto the bloody ground. The executioner picked it up by her hair to show them. Remarkably her eyes were still closed, although this time in a wince.

Joia choked back another sob. This time she had successfully held back her body’s shameful response to the scene before her.

With tears in her eyes, she turned and looked accusingly at Mistress. But Clemencia paid her no mind. The stubborn refusal of the first two girls to admit to Joia’s guilt had infuriated her.

With a dismissive wave of her hand, the guards proceeded to unstrap Osanna’s unmoving body for disposal. The executioner tossed the second head up into the back of the truck. Then he raised the blade in preparation for yet another execution.

He gave the work his full concentration. Mistress was clearly in a rage. He did not wish to attract her undue attention. Further angering her now might result in the compound needing a new executioner.

“This is an outrage!” Mistress yelled. She glared at the guards until they fidgeted nervously. “Who is responsible for this treachery??”

She turned and glowered at Joia who shrank back in terror. Then Clemencia smiled cruelly at her. Apparently a wicked thought had just come to her.

“Bring me Marsona,” she told the two guards. “Perhaps she can bear witness why the tongues of her sisters remain silent.”

They nodded obediently. Joia went pale with horror as they quickly went inside to fetch the young woman…

2010; 2021 (written for Aravanna and Hitomi Mar 14 ’10; ed. Jun 21 ‘21 by riwa)

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