‘Silence, all. We must begin,’ Father Jones bellowed. ‘Lady Williams, please step forward. John, please pass her the candle,’ he gestured.
John picked up the candle and walked towards Lady Williams, ‘I’m really sorry, but it must be you that begins. The wax…’ head down, his voice trailed.
‘That pours the first drop,’ Lady Williams finished.
Taking the candle, she continued down the table. She ignored the whispers that were directed her way. No, she will not inhale the poisonous gas. She ignored the heat of the candle wax that slid down and touched her skin. Each drop was a taunt that told her what her son will face. But, she still continued walking. The click of her heels, each step, reverberated against the walls, the only sound to be heard in her ears.
She refused to look across the table. Knew at one point, she would need to. But, not yet. ‘Not yet,’ she whispered to herself. Reaching Father Jones, she looked up.
Father Jones looked down at her. She hadn’t taken in his appearance earlier. Would a mother ever pay attention if her child was hurt? No, forget hurt. Hurt was a mere scrape on the arm, small drops of blood on the shin, a bump on the head. No, this was about her child’s life. The room may have been dark, a sinister feel, but she could see his eyes and feel the hostility. It told her not to hope for the best. It told her, her child was evil. It told her, for an evil spirit to die, he would have to too.
‘This life is not about living, it’s about fighting. If he could not fight an evil spirit, what, or rather who, can he fight?’ Father Jones whispered.
‘Fight? Father, he is only a child. Who was he supposed to look up to? Peter died. Michael had no-one but me. Father, please understand,’ she could no longer hold it in. She, herself, was going to hurt her own child.
‘Death is our best friend from childhood. It is just lost in this cruel world. When it finds its friend, what happens, only it decides. Has Death found its best friend? We will find out tonight,’ Father Jones calmly stated. ‘And whether Death decides to take Michael, is its choice, not mine and certainly not yours!’ He smacked the table with such force that his last word was lost amongst the sound. The crowd gasped, shadows danced around her, but she still could not care. All she could think of was the small body stretched out onto the table.
She finally turned to the table. ‘My child,’ she whispered to herself. She felt the tears sliding down her cheeks. ‘My sweet child.’ She wished she knew what was going through her son’s head. She wanted to know his thoughts. She wanted…wanted…just wanted something. ‘Tell me, Michael, what are you thinking,’ she softly asked her son.
Michael lay stretched out on the table. His hands and feet were tied down. The candle on the table exposed his facial expression. There was no smile present, no lips showing worry. He neither moved his head, nor attempted to undo the ropes. His blue breeches showed no sign of struggle, and not a single wrinkle appeared on his jacket. He was buttoned up to his neck, his usual style of dressing, nothing different. But, his eyes told her everything. She did not require a smile from him to know he was happy. She did not require a yell from him to know that he was angry. She did not require a tear drop, no trembling lips, to know that he was frightened. His eyes told her everything.
‘Forgive me Michael, please forgive me,’ she whispered as she tipped the candle.