The Last Hangman of Old Route Prose in Freelands | World Anvil

The Last Hangman of Old Route

Today I bid farewell to my grim calling
My last dance with the gallows as the hangman of Old Route
Times have changed, and the noose can’t bear the weight
Of judgment no more
  The morning sun peeks over the horizon,
A melancholic glow cast upon the old stone walls
I've stood here and witnessed the fall of many souls,
Their lives cut short by the rope.
  I dress in somber silence
My hands tremble as I don my leather gloves
They’ve held the fate of countless lives, and now
Fate shakes them
  Hood goes on, I put it on for them
Criminal or not, the last face they should see
Shouldn’t be of one that doesn’t even care
Their final thought shouldn’t be of me
  Used to be I put it on for me
I didn’t want the crowd to recognize a face
With no expression, no emotion, just another mask
Underneath the first
  I make my way to the gallows
An obsolete monument to death as of today
A crowd awaits with curiosity
To watch my last working day
  As I ascend the gallows,
The crowd falls silent, their eyes fixed upon
The man whose livelihood n’ profession is reviled
Fuck you all, avert your eyes
  Their judgment and their pity
Spare your compassion for the damned who’s ‘bout to die
The man of the hour is brought before me
Dead man walking by
  "Hood or not?" I ask him
"No hood," he says. He wants to face the crowd
I stare him down, a braver man than I
Brave, but I am still alive
  While they read his long list of crimes
I secure the noose around his neck with trembling hands
He looks at me with compassionate eyes,
He too has taken lives
  Facing him, I lift my hood
A nod of shared experience before I cover up
In gesture of good faith I give the rope some slack
and tighten the noose behind his back
  "I was defending my family!"
So said the murderer as his last and final words
I pull the lever. A clean drop, and a snap
Evidence of quick and painless death
  Today marks the end of an era
But hopefully the start of something better, something new
Now comes the time to learn a different craft
For the hangman is no more
  The hangman is no more

Song based on the first person account of the last hangman in the Freelands. Following the heavy death tolls of The End, a lot of thought went into the philosophical aspects of life and death. Lawmakers around the world sought to ease the suffering of the damned, and executions by hanging were now considered inhumane. Instant deaths were the latest fashion, firing squads and decapitations replaced the rope. The hangman would have to learn the ways of the blade, or find work elsewhere.

Cover image: by Midjourney


Author's Notes

Things mentioned here has been done, disregard.

I wrote a little story about the hangman for Summer Camp 2023's "a profession that has been rendered obsolete" prompt. I think while that is a story I would like to tell, I used a bit too many big words I wouldn't normally use, and it didn't sound like proper speech. So I made it into a song instead! Much better if I do say so myself, and I'll likely change the quote from the hangman article into an excerpt of this song instead once all summer camp shenanigans are over with.
  If you want to play this song, know that I only played it with one chord: Am. Safe to say you could play it in any minor chord. Plays as an old school outlaw country song.

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Jan 2, 2024 21:28 by Lady Arsenik

This is so somber, chilling, and beautiful. You truly have a way with words and are a gifted songwriter! I'm trying to imagine the tune in my head.

Jan 3, 2024 08:00

Thank you so much! I think every world should have some songs. I understand imagining tune and rhythm is difficult with only the lyrics to go from, but perhaps one time in the future I may have someone record it. Thanks again!

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