Short Story from Underworks
By Elizabeth Beary
This is a scene from a novel underworks. The main character is a sixteen-year-old girl named Sarah Ewell. Four years ago she was forced into hiding in plain sight acting as a cadet for the evil Destroyers, an elite group of special forces charged by Emperor Erosion to destroy all those who dare try and stand against his authority. In the last two years Sarah was taken from her protectors who trained her to be a Destroyer and was placed with Alpha Team the most skilled of all Destroyer teams. Things have happened since and her true identity has been discovered, now she has been charged with treason and her sentence is death……..
She stepped onto the platform, the wood creaked under every step. She felt a sea of eyes watching her as she moved to the center of the platform. A gentle breeze blew against her face, before her the noose swayed back and forth slightly.
Sarah raised her eyes to the balcony in front of her, there stood the Emperor; His face was stern, his demeanor was cold like death.
The emperor leaned against the balcony’s railing, “Are you still willing to throw away your future? You had everything.” The emperor had disgust in his voice.
The young lady dropped her gaze from the emperor and focused on the crowd. She noticed there was a mixture of expressions among the people. Most were an expression of sympathetic guilt by faces she recognized well. Some others malicious blood-thirsty smirks, from those who hated her. These had been people she lived with, ate with, and trained with. She was only sixteen years old, but she could tell the difference between right and wrong. She had seen great evil and was no longer able of standing aside while it happened before her eyes. She also experienced unspeakable good and everlasting hope. It was this hope that gave her the nerve to stand before this crowd, it was for this hope that she would even give her life. For maybe, just maybe; someone would see the same hope and change this world for good.
With resolve in her heart she turned her gaze back to the emperor, and spoke,
“Your Grace, my life began two-thousand years ago. When my King died a criminal’s death for the sake of me His servant. After being dead, my King arose from His death three days later. Because He died, I live. Because He lives now, even though I die, I will live.”
The emperor shook his head disappointed and scornful. His raised his right arm and gave the signal of death to the executioner. The man came from behind placing the noose around her neck, the rope was rough around her soft skin. There was a stir in the crowd, some women gasped, children hid their faces. She took a deep breath the executioner pulled the lever. For a moment she felt weightless, Sarah felt the strangle of the noose, a sudden pain on the right side of her head, screams. Then everything was black….
Hours had passed by, they had come back to the hid-out with Sarah narrowly escaping the Destroyers that pursued them. Gearwinder’s report was that she was alive, only unconscious after her head hit the platform from the noose being cut. The rescue went according to plan, the scouts caused a disturbance in the crowd large enough to distract those nearby and get the attention of the guards. Meanwhile, Illusion was waiting for the signal from me to throw his dagger and cut Sarah free. The rescue worked, Sarah is safe, but, what now? Thought Max, the lives of every person he was in-charge of, including Sarah, was at stake.