Hangman | Ope Olum’degun

It baffles me that he won’t stop crying, even after the priest has absolved him of his sins and his hands have been tied to his back. Not tied to each other and hanging above his ass; I mean tied together and strapped to his lumbar with a triple braided nylon rope, which also pulls in his potbelly like a crunch belt. He is naked from the waist up; the rope strains each time he inhales; dark tracks crisscross his belly; the dried blood has tinted the dirty rope a shade darker.

He is my four hundred and sixty-second, and perhaps the ninth that I have no remorse for. If you’re so stupid you can’t commit a real crime in this land without getting caught, you deserve to be hung upside down and have your head clubbed till it turns into batter.

His leg chains make an eerie rattle as I guide him up the steps, his head swinging back and forth with every third syllable of his unimpressive dirge. I look down at my hands – throbbing and aching and unforgiving. My fist folds around the blindfold and the pain sears through.

I just wish he’d stop wailing like a mourner.

Sharap! the warden yells at him.

My sentiments exactly. The ones before him were all sober at this point.

He quiets down.

What is so sad about being escorted to the gallows like a champion? The warden continues. It’s like early retirement. Leave sorrow to the living.

Better yet, to your executioner.

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