A celebration by Jorge Aldegunde

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By the time I got to the large round square the event had already begun. Indeed, townsfolk dressed in rags would watch how a poor wretch was being led to the gallows. As he walked his last stretch he begged mercy to his tormentors, albeit to no avail: every time he halted and looked at them with pleading eyes they just pushed him forward with disdain. Along the years I had grown a sort of sympathy for the executioners, for I knew what awaited them should they refuse to collaborate.

However, there was still someone else to be picked out before they would get it over with; that had been people’s wont throughout a hundred years now ever since the big famine. Ironically, sentencing a couple of randomly chosen citizens to death had become a tribute to our founders’ resolution to overcome hunger. Habits become tradition, they say.

“Order, order!”, yelled the conductor as he theatrically stirred the content of wooden box.

Then, for once, the mob stood still and in silence. You could tell there was a mix of thrill, fear and great expectation in their countenances.

“Aldegunde!”, uttered the grim-looking man in a frenzy. At first, I could not believe my ears. I thought everything was going on in my troubled mind. Then I realised I had better hurry If I wanted to stand a chance.

Everyone would look at one another, as if trying to find a match but –at the same time– striving to shy away from a cruel destiny. I slowly started to walk off the place but came across my neighbour’s brat, who inevitably found me out, pointed at me and sounded the alarm.

I desperately ran off to a bystreet looking for a hideout. I awkwardly tripped and fell off to the ground. An unexpected hand was offered to help me stand up again. I held to it as if grasping at straws, until I saw our major –resolute protector and promoter of that insanity– cynically staring at me. I knew then I was done for.


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