1. The Hangman's Rope
Cries of “kill her” and “hang her in the gallows” resonated loudly in the packed room. The place was teeming with bodies, all squirming and fighting for a seat. Sweat made my shirt cling to my skin and made me itchy to be free of the material. I imagined myself standing naked with my heart bared in front of these people who looked down on me. It was such an odd thought that I almost smiled. That would surely have killed me straight away. As it was, my fate was in the hands of the very people who hated my kind most of all. I hung my head low and searched the room discreetly for a possible escape route if things got ugly which judging by the escalating volume, they would and fast.
“Anna Malkin.” At the sound of my name, I looked up at the judge while the room hushed to hear what would be decided. “For the crimes of thievery, assault, murder and highest of all, for being an Assecula I hereby sentence you to death by hangman's rope!” Judge Green yelled out, banging his gavel like the crack of a whip on the table. There were whoops of joy all around me as people celebrated my impending death. A child no older than six spat at me while his father patted him on the head and laughed. I couldn’t even wipe the spit away as my hands were firmly tied behind my back. These people were animals. Later tonight they would raise their gasses and drink to my death, smiling at the idea of crows pecking out my eye balls while maggots nibble on my flesh. I was no longer a threat to them. One down, a colony to go.
“Have you anything to say?” Judge Green asked me, peering over his desk to get a good look at the girl he just ordered dead. I could just about see his bulbous red nose and squinting eyes.
“What I am is no crime. I may not be by your definition human. You think me a parasite on this earth, come to cause you harm. It could not be further from the truth. We wanted to heal and help, live in harmony. We did not ask for this fight.” The room had gone silent as my words sank in. They must wonder why we were banished, what ungodly powers we possessed that made us so disgusting to them.
“You asked for this fight the minute you were born.” A woman sneered from the jury. I shook my head sadly at her.
“Being able to heal sickness, that’s a bad thing? We are the same, you and I. It’s only the things we want that separate us. We might once have been sisters or neighbours until you forced us out. You consider yourselves superior, just because you can kill us? That does not make you superior, it makes you weak. A weakness that I cannot heal you of.” I was done speaking but the room was in uproar. People yelled insults at me, threw whatever was at hand in my face. I was caught in the face by a rock and I felt blood drip down into my collar, mixing in with the sweat. I couldn’t reach my hand up to heal myself so the blood continued to pour.