Do You Want To Live – A Short Story

Dear Readers,
Are you shocked? I live, I breathe…and I have more going on than apparently, I’ve stopped by to say in awhile.
Well, the time has come for us to…erm….wait wrong thought. The time has come for me to share a short unedited story with you all! *gasp* I know the horrors of an unedited story is terrible, scold me in the comments below if you wish. However, this story came to me in a rush of a dream this morning, I don’t think I’ll have the time to pursue this little “dream” story any further. Yes, this really is a dream, I had it this morning…this is the dream life of Jessica Greyson. Seriously, it gets quite interesting at times, and people ask me where I get my ideas, mostly. I dream them up. Hahaha! Very funny, not really, but seriously I’ve had ideas and lynchpin moments come from dreams. It all gets quite interesting in the realm of sleep.

Also sorry for the formatting….I guess I shouldn’t pre-write posts on my computer….
“Do you want to live?”
I blinked. Wondering for a moment how to answer this question. Was not my name on the lists? Wasn’t I called to die? They had taken my father and brothers out the day before. I had been separated from them in the women’s cell—but that too was now empty, and I sat on the stone steps waiting for my summons—wondering why I was left for last.
I looked up into the black mask of the executioner, his bloody ax resting at his side, dripping with what had been days of work.
“Do I want to live?” I repeated the question back to him.
“You’re name is not on the lists.”
“But how?” I questioned.
He shrugged one shoulder.
“The question is, do you want to live?”
I sat on the steps, wondering how I could live—everyone I had ever known or love had me the fate of the ax in the past few days—the kingdom had changed hands. I was no longer noble. I was common as dirt to be trod underfoot—traitors no matter how innocent they are never survive.
“What is your name?”
For a moment I hesitated—I could say I was someone else—but to die under someone else name would be no honor. I gave it.
He looked over the list of women’s names and shook his head. “You are not here.”
I bit my lip and looked at him, my brain muddled in the fog of grief and betrayal, the chains of accusations. Did I want to live, or did I want to die—everything I had ever loved was dead—and to join them in the after realm it would be no crime, to go, to let my life’s light be taken from me. But I had the choice to live—and what would I do with that choice? How could I do anything? What would I do with my life if I had it? There was none to protect me, none to whom I could be harbored under the shelter of their wisdom and protection—I would be going out into the brutal world without a defender, without the ability to take revenge. I would go into the worlds with little more than what I had born into it…didn’t that mean that I was ready to go out of this world with nothing just as I had come?
“I-I-I don’t know.” I stuttered out at last.
He took a coin from the heavy purse at his side.
He’d been paid a for every traitor he had slain. Blood money. I wondered for a moment—in his life of luxury and ease—if it would be easy to live on.
“Shall we let the fates decide?”
Without waiting for my response, he flipped the coin.
I knew instantly what I wanted to answer.
Now that the scales of fate were out of my hand, I knew what I wanted. I knew how I wanted the coin to land. My heart leapt into my throat strangling my voice that wanted to scream the words that I now knew the answer to, blood pounded in my ears.
He slapped it down, and glanced at me.
“I want to live,” I whispered.
Moving his hand he revealed the coin to himself.
I blanched.
The end.
I was suddenly unprepared for death—all of the serenity and surrender I had collected in the last few days fled. The wild urge to live flooded my veins even as I sat frozen to the spot, wanting to flee, with nowhere to go.
I wanted to live.
The hooded man turned and walked away.
Screams of terror built in my throat, I held them down with sheer will power. Fingernails dug deeply into my palms a painful agony, and yet relief to be able to express my pain and feelings.
He appeared a moment later, shoving something through the bars.
“Change, you don’t have much time. I will be back for you in three minutes.”
He walked away and I lost no time. I shed what I was wearing for the small clean—but raggedy common clothes. The clothes of a boy, I tucked my hair messy braid into the woolen cap, just as I heard steps returning down the stone hall.
A man opened the cell.
“Follow me. Keep your head down, don’t say a word,” it was the executioner—he had removed his mask…I didn’t want to look any longer, as two emotions collided in my stomach twisting it into heaving knots.
I did as I was bid, following his steps—steps that had led so many to their death—was leading me to life.
We reached the outer courtyard.
“Find your way out,” he said with a nod—and turning went back to the inner sanctum of the castle. It was a bustle of activity, carts wheeling in and out with goods—the King was ready to celebrate…I needed to leave before I heaved—dryly. I hadn’t eaten in days.
Spying a cart, leaving with a trail of apprentices behind it dressed not unlike me. I joined in hoping, an extra head wouldn’t be counted at the gate.
With my head down and tailing the troop of baker boys, I barely had time to react as a nearly empty basket was shoved into my middle, I grasped it and then glanced up to see kind brown eyes looking into my own.
“Make yourself useful,” he muttered.
I glanced hungrily at the two rolls in the bottom of the basket.
“No one will notice.”
Primal need overwhelmed the senses fighting in the pit of my being. The wrangle of horror, hatred, fear, the knowing I need to forgive—all vanished at the thought of soft, golden-brown bread.
I glanced up at the one who had shoved the basket into my stomach and there was a slight nod.
What if this is his ration…guilt bit into me, but the pinching howl of hunger swallowed it up as the first nibble of bread touched my tongue. Never had food tasted better, manna in the wilderness must have been like this.
We were outside the gate, and into the streets, the boy reached back and grabbed the basket.
I want to follow—but where can I go, what can I do?
I don’t know how to make bread, and I am certainly not a boy. My steps slacken as we go around the corner, and out of sight of the palace. I need to decide what I am going to do—where I am going to go.
I will look unto the hills from whence cometh my help—I am in a city there are no hills—But still, I look up and see in the midst of the hills of rooves. A steeple towered above the rest.
The nunnery—I need to go to the nunnery. They will take me in…

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