“We never thought we’d see him again. After hanging, a person should be dead but not him. He twitched and quivered at the end of the rope like anyone else; he even crapped and pissed himself. This one though…” I hear the magistrate almost sob.
“You let them take you too easily,” it growls in my mind.
They did not take the hood from my head before throwing me back into the cage. My hands are tied securely behind my back with coarse jute. I can just listen to the Darkness berate me and the magistrate cry about the injustice.
“Now what do we use a crime deterrent? This is such a mess. We cannot hang him again and hope better for the second round.”
“Sir, if I may?” A soft spoken man speaks for the first time. He sounds as though he will jump out of his skin. “Why don’t we ship him away to somewhere else?”
“And danger a ship full of people?”
“We could leave him tied and caged.”
Silence covered the room as the magistrate considered the option. My head sweats in the burlap hood. The sound of tapping, metal on metal, rings in front of me, then thick sniffling.
“We would need a portable cage.”
“We can have made swiftly.”
“Where do we ship him though?” the magistrate’s voice sounds more steadfast.
“What about America?”
“Sounds like a grand idea. Thousands of people go there every day looking for something better for their lives. Make it so.”
I hear one set of footsteps trod off down a corridor unknown to me before a heavy door slams. Even though I cannot see the soft-spoken man, I sense his presence. He is close, probably too near the bars but my hands are tied, literally. I feel the burlap slide forward and off my head. He stares at me and I can see that even without speaking the fear that quaked his voice is shattering his nerves.
“How did you do it?” he asks quietly. “How did you manage to cheat death?”
“Let me free, then maybe I’ll show you.”
“You don’t look anything special. There’s only fading rope burns on your neck. What’s your trick? My uncle is scheduled for hanging next week and if you can do it he can beat it too.”
“Like I said, let me out and I’ll show you.”
I see his hand rush into his pocket and retrieve a key.
“Too easy,” the Darkness howls with delight.
A tremor shakes his hand as he pushes the key toward the lock. He looks back into my eyes and swallows hard. I do not think he will be able unlock the cage but something changes in him, maybe the thought of saving his uncle from death. The door squeaks open and I turn away to give him access to the scratchy knot around my wrists. The rope loosens and I spin around on him, my freed hands rip through his face.