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brenzel

Her Last Day On Earth

Brenzel lay on a bed of straw, her chest rattling as she coughed and shivered in the cold morning light. Outside the small window, a city slowly sprang to life as animals and carts moved reluctantly into a new day.

Unceremoniously, a prison guard set down her last meal, sliding it into her cell. Only some bread and thin porridge. No matter, the smell nauseated her. “Soon it would be over anyway”, she thought, taking some small comfort that this was her last day on earth.

Refusing the priest

“My Child, God will give you absolution”, said the priest as the rusty door creaked open to her cell. Sick and tired, Brenzel barely looked up. “Confess your sins and all will be forgiven my child” continued the priest.

An old and haggard man, the priest limped slightly as he shuffled into the dungeon. Grey, disheveled hair hung haphazardly all around his face, adding to the look of disorder. Brenzel thought, “This man can save no one, not even himself.”

Hands numb from the ropes that bound them, Brenzel barely moved as the old monk gave up. “May God have mercy on your soul my child”. Brenzel thought bitterly, “If there were any mercy in this world, I wouldn’t be here”.

A ray of light

Brenzel had been to only one execution in her short life, now today would be her second. All she remembered was the look of resignation on the man’s face as he mounted the gallows. He looked dead already, she thought, as he slowly walked up the steps to meet his fate.

Lost in her despair, the king’s prisoner didn’t notice the brightening of the hallway outside her door. As if a lamp suddenly appeared, bright light began to flood her cell. Looking up through red, swollen eyes, Brenzel squinted.

Brenzel!

The voice of a man in a funny hat said, “Brenzel!”

Wheezing and vaguely annoyed, Brenzel rattled “What?”

Again, she heard “Brenzel!”

This time, she looked up and saw the face of a man smiling at her. Haltingly, she questioned, “Who…are…you?” and “Am I dreaming?” and finally “How did you get in here?”

The smiling man, obviously oblivious to her situation, knelt down and spoke into her ear, “I have a proposition for you”.

“What?” she coughed in amazement.

“Do you want to live?”

“Do you want to live?” he said in a soft voice.

Rising to full consciousness, Brenzel whispered weakly, “yes”.

“There are conditions” the man said, “but I think you will find them acceptable.”

“Oh, ok”, Brenzel said incredulously.

With a twinkle in his eye, the stranger said, “All you have to do is put on this hat”.

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