The voices crescendoed as the curtain pulled back. A light like the sun blinded my already sore eyes, and I blinked away from it. The intensity of my senses at that moment was astounding: I smelled the pine from the newly polished floor, tasted the cool dampness of the air that wafted in from the open windows, sensed the heat of bright lights on my skin. When I finally got my eyes open again, my heart broke.
I saw the hatred and betrayal of my city on the face of every man and woman. I saw the poise of an attack in every one of them, ready to strike their Traitor. My teachers, my neighbors, my classmates. My parents’ friends from work, the little old ladies I’d helped step into the carriage, the recluse who sold tiny flowers in the marketplace. The janitor guy who always tipped his hat politely when I walked by, the hummer trainer, and the couple whose little girl I’d played with years ago. Everybody I knew and everyone I didn’t. I spotted my friends’ families, staring at me, unaware that their kids were part of this “plot” as well.
And then I saw my parents. In the third row. With flickering spears and arrows. Unaware of who was before them. I screamed for them, but the chain around my neck cut off my voice.
On the screens flicked up a list of options for my demise: Beating, Beheading, Hanging, Drowning, Burning, Poisoning, Stoning, Crucifying, Devouring, and the worst of all sat accursed at the very bottom of the list: Confiscating.
“Behold your Traitor, ladies and gentlemen. Do as you may.” The announcer ended ominously and walked offstage. His boots clapped like thunder against the stifling silence. And to think this was the same guy I heard on the news almost every night. Even the breeze had halted its soothing movement in the curtains around the Courtroom.
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