The headsman missed with purpose, striking the man in the shoulder instead of his neck.
This was no royal execution, but a butchering.
From my holding cell in Northwich Keep, I could not see too well, but that did not stop me from hearing everything.
Shrieking, wailing, and screaming, the man begged for mercy, but the citizens of Northwich jeered, enjoying every second of it.
It was old man Kenyon.
Now, I had not met him personally, but old man Kenyon was said to be the nicest man around, always making toys for the little kids and spending time with them.
He must not have been as nice as everyone said, for they set the example that children were not to be molested.
This was a Northwich tradition from long ago.
Way back when Northwich was commissioned to be rebuilt by Emerson Berengar and seventeen criminals.
One criminal, Jeffrey Stein, never made it. There are some crimes even criminals won’t tolerate and they killed him before he arrived.
Many times, such men as old man Kenyon died much younger and did not have a public execution, but the townspeople preferred it.
As for my case,
I didn’t deny being on a horse that wasn’t mine, and I sure wasn’t going to get my cousin Jacob involved. He was blood relation and wasn’t right in the head.
The Preacher man, John Eli, pleaded to the crown on my behalf that I was training to be clergy, but we learned horse theft from the crown was a non-clergyable offense.
There was no trial, just a judgment date posted so folks could prepare lunch and make a day of it. That was several weeks long, an eternity for me, and they weren’t allowing visitors.
Well, my hanging day came and everyone I knew was there. My mom and dad, Jacob, Jabez, Melonie, Aunt Betty, John Eli and the Northwich congregation, Harper the musician, Orson Berengar, and even that pretty girl Ellie Mae and her family were there.
Everyone else was there as well. The folks of Northwich, the O’Hagan clan, the Heron tribe, the neighbors, and folks from as far away as Silverfinch were there.
Hanging is a scary prospect. They say your neck sometimes just snaps and you die, but if you are particularly skinny, you could hang a while before you and folks watch you dance around a bit, trying to get air.
I was particularly skinny.