Through Pain and Suffering. Flash Fiction.

“I hate this.”
“We all do, but it needs to be done.”
“Did you hear who it is this year?”
“Jack McGuire. Won by two votes.”
“Huh. Yeah, I’m not surprised it’s him, wasn’t he caught stealing a few months back?”
“Yeah, there’s also been rumours he’s been beating his wife too.”
“I think I’ve seen her around town with a black eye once or twice.”
“She’s been trying to tell people that it wasn’t him, that she’s just accident prone, but I don’t think anyone believes her.”
“Do you?”
“No, but I’ll feel a bit embarrassed if the black eyes don’t go away.”
John rubbed his hands together, “How much longer is this going to take, I’m freezing.”
“Shouldn’t be too much longer. He did a runner, but I think they caught him this morning.”
“Fuck sake. They were supposed to pick him up once the nominations were revealed.”
“Apparently he had an idea that he might be on the list. He was hiding out for a few days now, he was up in those caves, the ones the kids like to play in during the summer.”
“Not a bad choice as far as places to hide in go, but a bit stupid. That’s one of the first places I would have looked.”
the crowd shifted slightly as a man was brought out onto the stage, a black bag was over his head and his hands were cuffed behind his back, a few people in the crowd called out jeers but most watched in silence. The mayor stepped forward, “Ugh, look at the smug grin on that prick. He’s always hated Jack.”
“Hush will you, don’t want to find yourself nominated next year do you?”
“Eh, there’s bigger pricks than me in this town.”
The mayor cleared his throat, “Thank you all for coming today, I would like to lead us in a short prayer, Dear Lord, thank you for all the blessings we have received throughout the year. We purify this unclean soul and return it to you and we ask that you in turn purify us of all our sins and wrong doing so that we might know you’re eternal grace. Amen.”
Jack was cuffed to a metal frame, his arms and legs spread, the priest stepped forward, the knife glinting in his hand. He made a long cut along Jacks wrist, carefully he caught the blood in a large golden cup. Once it was filled he carefully placed it to the side and started cutting Jack’s arms and legs, Jack’s cries were muffled by the hood. Once he was satisfied the priest stopped, the crowd pushed forward slightly as the priest picked up the gold cup, one by one the townsfolk stepped forward to receive their blessing. The priest said a prayer over them before dipping his forefinger into the blood and used it to mark a cross on their foreheads. Behind him Jack continued to moan weakly as the blood drained from his body. After receiving their blessing most people began to drift off, it was a few hours still before the annual dinner, the time was to be used for quiet contemplation and reflection, though most people had a few drinks with friends. Fewer still took it as an opportunity to indulge, after all their sins would be forgiven at the stroke of midnight, when Jack was finally sent to the lord. His pain and suffering would cleanse them of their sins, just as those who had come before him. It would ensure God’s favour and his protection for another year to come.

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About Alan James Keogh

I am a 24 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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