A crowd gathers around me. I've been used enough to know exactly what that means. The small Victorian houses huddled together surround the crowd, where people gaze out their windows, the curtains hiding their solemn faces as each gust of wind manipulates the fabric. Everything looks dull; the sun is covered by the dark clouds. In the empty clearing, where I am cleverly placed in the middle of, the crowd continues to grow larger and larger. This crowd is much different than crowds of the past, yet they all act the same. Their clothes are darker and bolder. Flamboyant dresses, suits and those silly wigs once cherished are now despised. This crowd is evolving, like crowds always do; but they all act the same. Some are shouting, a seemingly deep hatred for whoever is to be using me today, others crying, a deep love for the former mentioned, yet that same deep hatred for me as well. I've noticed over the years that love and hate are one in the same.
The man in the black mask walks up the stairs connected to the wooden platform supporting me, must be time to prepare for the event. He takes the same stone as always and scrapes it against the bottom of me, after all the times I've been used I still don't know why he does that; but the crowd seems to enjoy it. After repeated, alternating striking he thins out my lower body, satisfied with his work he leaves the platform; his head looking down. At this point the crowd has seemed to have filled in the clearing, other than a few men in blue and red uniform, the crowd is a sea of brown, gray and black. The crowd has settled back down, the weeping can be heard again. I noticed the ones weeping were the ones closest together; I suppose anger isn't an emotion to be shared but to be spread. But I often wonder why so many support this event while so few huddle together in depression. The angry ones don't even seem to notice they're there.
Then the crowd roars again, even louder this time. The man in the mask isn't alone, he brings a man in chains and places his head in the hole carved underneath me. The crowd still cheering, but one of the weeping; apparently the spouse of the man, is hiding her face. She is alone with three children by her side; the youngest wearing her prettiest dress adorned with a pink bonnet digs her face in her mother's lower leg. The sun is breaking through the clouds, the light beaming down shining on my silver body. The crowd's anger, fear, depression, and angst shows much more clearly now. Another man walks onto my wooden platform, wearing a nice brown coat and hat, reads from a paper declaring the reason for the event on this day, as if to make sure everyone knows. Then the man in the mask, with his hand on the lever, tugs it as soon as the official looking man gives him the signal.
Gravity takes over.
I fall to the floor of the platform with a sudden thud followed by a softer thud of the man's head falling into the basket below. But his head fell in a way unlike the others; it was upright and angled directly at me. His eyes and lips flickered sporadically, then several seconds later it stopped, but continued. His eyes moved normally now, as if gazing straight at me asking me, “Why?” But obviously I cannot provide an answer. I have no lips, no lungs, no tongue; I am simply a tool. Then he finally fell into the eternal sleep like all the others. The crowd roars even louder. The weeping woman is brought to her knees, the sheer weight of her sadness crippled her, and then like me, gravity did the rest. She knows what has happened but she still hides her face; she hates me and the others but her sorrow consumes her. The official looking man speaks again but is inaudible; the crowd drowns out his voice. He might as well of been saying, “This man is completely innocent! His death is completely pointless!” I find this thought somewhat amusing, but I have a feeling the weeping ones wouldn't feel the same. Several moments later the weeping crowd leaves and the angry crowd soon follow, I've done my job. The clearing is empty now and the two parts of the man are gone. All that's left is the red liquid that came from the man and the two other men who clean it up. My body is clean now and I am set back to the top of the two planks that hold me. The two simple men call me an amazing piece of human engineering.