if I had said no

I wear a shroud of white
standing before you all.
Silence erupts from all directions-
it's the loudest sound
I've ever heard.

I am led onto a pedestal
and is read my wrongs.
You jeer.

My palms are sweating,
moisture glistens off my face
my legs are about to give out.

"Death" you all shout.

I am shackled for all to see,
my piteous face
my shriveling body.

From behind me
a crackling of whip
and an immediate searing pain from my left shoulder.
Then my right.
The flaying of my back.

Wax is poured down my mutilated spine,
seeping into open wounds,
scalding me from within.
I weep.

Next, they bring out fire
and out comes an iron
glowing red and orange.
As it presses against my chest,
my skin begins to bubble,
and it begins to burn crispy black.
The letter 'X'
forever branded on me.

"Do you have anything to say?"
I can only meekly
shake my head.
"So be it."

I'm laid on shards
of broken glass
digging into
already open flesh.
They stomp
on my chest,
forcing glass into me.
I feel with every stomp
my ribs about to snap.
But they don't.

My arms and legs
are bound with rope
and tied to two horses.

They run.

As they gallop
I feel my arms
and my legs
Limb by limb
each are forced out
of its socket.
The pain is incredible.
My sinews and muscles
slowly tear and finally
with a final burst of energy
my right arm
and left
are torn away from my torso
drenching you, idle watchers
with my guilty, sinned blood.

I am dragged, armless,
my legs are still bound, useless.

"Are you dead?"
A stupid question.
I nod.
The slightest of sneers
crosses your face,
and with great reluctance
you grab my torso
yet my lungs still breathe air
and throw me
into open fire.

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