Sheila: I hope you enjoy this little tale of revenge and retribution.
A deep dark blue sky.
She always thought of his eyes when the sky was painted in the dark hues of blue that came before the storm. She stood on the cliff staring out over the sea watching the waves crash on the rocky shore below. Pulling the light shawl closer around her, she shivered. She lifted her gaze to the incoming clouds and lifted her hands toward the sky. Her tears trailed down her cheeks. She heard the increasing tempo of the drums behind her and knew that her family was looking out for her the best way they knew how. They didn’t understand that her heart was what was chilling her now, not the chill in the air or the light mist of the coming storm. She closed her eyes and let her rage fuel her thoughts.
“Love,” the male voice whispered softly.
“Not now Da, please not now.” She pulled her arms in protectively to wrap around herself.
“Love, it’s time…”
“So soon? I thought I would have more time.” She sighed heavily when the comforting arms of her father pulled her close to his side.
“Wagon justice is swift. Time for him to pay for his crimes against this family.”
She nodded slowly. She couldn’t help but feel that this was somehow her fault. She hated feeling guilty knowing what was coming his way for his crimes against her. Sniffling, she reached up to wipe the tears from her cheeks. She knew her father would want her to show a strong resolve when she faced him. Lifting her chin, she closed her eyes for a moment letting her father guide her back to the camp and the trial that awaited them both. She started to hear the sounds of the camp more clearly. The drums no longer muted the sounds of the gathered voices.
“Tradition dictates that you stand tall before the wagon, Jamie. You have wronged a member of this family. You now face justice.”
“Justice? This isn’t justice! This is between Glory and myself. Nothing to do with any of you crazy people!” Jamie said indignantly. He saw his wife and her father coming closer. “Glory! Tell them! Tell them that this is between us! We can work through this! I said I was sorry! Baby, please, let’s just go home and talk about it! I know we can work it out!”
“Da, can we just get this over with please? I’m ready to be done with this whole nightmare.” Glory looked up at her father. She would make him proud. She wouldn’t let her husband see her cry.
“Jamie, you will get a chance to speak when Glory has had her say. Until she does, you are to say nothing. If you do, you will lose your ability to speak. Your tongue will be taken from you. Is this in any way unclear to you?” Kristopher asked, pulling his daughter closer. He watched the man shake his head with a smile. He nudged his daughter closer to the fire.
Glory inhaled slowly as she walked to take the traditional place of honor across the fire from her husband. She leveled her gaze on him knowing that her crystalline blue eyes were devoid of emotion as she glared at him. Her voice started slow and low as she spoke the words of their ancestors. After the words were spoken, she lifted a finger to point at Jamie. Her voice raised with the anger of his betrayal.
“Jamie, you stand before the wagon accused of committing adultery. You brought a woman to our home. Our home, Jamie! The place where we had dreamed of raising our children, of building a life! You brought a harlot to my bed! You sullied the sanctity of our marriage with her cries of passion! You committed the ultimate crime against me and my familia! You got that whore pregnant! Why Jamie?” She lowered her voice dangerously. “Was I not enough to sate your lust that you had to bring a whore to your heart?”
The gasps of the older women made Jamie cringe. He looked around wildly for an ally in this insanity. He shook his head as if to deny her words. He snapped his attention to the tall man standing behind Glory when he spoke.
“Jamie, you have a chance to answer to your accuser. Chose your words very carefully.” The meaning wasn’t lost on the younger man.
“I… Glory, I’m so…I’m sorry! I didn’t think you’d find out! She didn’t mean a thing to me, I swear! That’s why I told her I’d pay for her to get rid of the kid! I never meant for you to know!” He sobbed woefully.
“You have answered to the charges and have not denied your crimes. You now face wagon justice!” The word justice echoed through the night as the gathered crowd began to chant. Kristopher motioned to the two burly men standing beside Jamie.
Glory inhaled sharply as she watched her treacherous husband brought to the giant wooden device meant to hold him stretched out with his arms and legs extended. She lifted a brow listening to his cries and begging. She no longer felt a bit of guilt. She walked around the fire to pick up the tongs from the many tools resting in the heated depths. She looked from the red hot metal to the face of the man she once loved.
“Jamie, I hope she was worth it.” She spoke as softly as a lover’s kiss as she reached for the knife held by her father.