The Hangman and the Heart

Flash Fiction

I jostled for a pocket of airspace to observe - pried  between shoulders of my ignoble peers, on tips of toes, peaking past plebeians. On tongues, the congested cobble stones roared with a frenzy at the culmination of the longest trial in the Shires history. 

The gallows stood stoically, silent, raised above the hysteria of the crowd, the town square frothing in a red mist. The noose swung with wicked calm on the delicate lips of the wind. 

The song of a doomed man. His final words, as his neck slipped through the knot, to be left unrecorded, unheard but to the ear of the hangman. The condemned – my beautiful son. 

The cruelest revelments murdered the air. Be silent! I cried his name. Nothing. Only mouths are we. 

Who sings?

The distant heart which safely exists in the centre of all things. 

My son.

Written for dVerse’s Prosery, a short prose, in 144 words, incorporating the line;

“Only mouths are we. Who sings the distant heart which safely exists in the center of all things?”

– from Rainer Maria Rilke, “Heartbeat.”


Story by © Darius the Mate


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14 thoughts on “The Hangman and the Heart

  1. Such a powerful image. Flung me immediately into the scene. And such a heart-breaking story. The lines included so smoothly into the prose. Well done 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is absolutely stellar writing, Darius. Such a chilling, potent description of those gallows, I clutched my heart when I read, “I cried his name. Nothing. Only mouths are we. Who sings? The distant heart which safely exists in the centre of all things. My son.”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Stunning writing, Darius. That is a chilling description of the gallows, especially ‘The noose swung with wicked calm on the delicate lips of the wind’. I gasped when I read the words ‘my beautiful son’. Well done for manipulating the prompt line with punctuation.

    Liked by 1 person

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