I walk down the street that leads from the temple to the main square. I have spent the night at the temple, alone.
I am naked, and I am shaven, body and head. I am cold, the morning sun has not yet warmed up the air and the stones.
At this time of the morning, the street I am walking is usually a very busy place — men, women, children, doing business, strolling, playing, talking, watching, laughing — a bustle of life, to be seen, and heard, and shared...
Today, though, the street is empty, the windows and their shutters are closed, I am the only living being here, and I am walking towards my death. Silently, as my bare feet make no sounds upon the stones of the pavement.
Behind the closed windows some people are inside their homes, not looking out to see me pass, but most of those who live here, or anywhere else in the town, are out on the main square, waiting for me.
I reach the square now, it is at the center of the town. There are stone buildings all around it, and between them eight gates lead onto the square.
I enter it from the upper side — the square is not level, it is sloping towards the opposite side, where the town hall stands. This way, from where I come, I can survey it all, above the heads of the crowd that fills it.
I have a good view at the stone tribune in front of the town hall, with the spiked statue of the Goddess on it, with all the implements of torture that await me, with the big gong, and with the torturer, dressed in his traditional hooded black garb, standing solemnly, looking like a statue himself.
I feel a trace of pity for him — he will have to stand like this for many hours, through the heat of the noon, until by some sign that I do not know he will discern that the time has come, and then he will strike the gong and call me to him.
Even as a child each year I had wondered how a man can stand almost motionless for so many hours, and then do his work, for many hours more.
Maybe the Goddess gives him the strength that he needs.
As I hope she will give it to me.
They have seen me now, as I stand at the gate. The crowd is dense, there are two or three thousand people, men and women, it is not easy to move among them, but when I enter the square they make room for me, and I walk towards the center, where the fountain is.
They all touch me with their eyes, looking at my nakedness, at the shame of my involuntarily erect nipples and opened vaginal lips, but they do not touch me with their hands or their bodies.
Not yet. It is for me to take the first step.
There is a man. I know him. He had been our neighbor when I was a child, his son and I had played together.
"Have mercy, please," I say. "Please save me, sir!"
"Save me, please," I repeat, "or, at least, have the mercy to give me a quick death!"
I kneel down in front of him, look up at his face, and say "Please!" once more.
"Suck my cock, cunt," he says.
When I'm done, a girl about my age puts her hand between my legs.
"Please, lady, save me!" I say.
She inserts two fingers into my vagina, then she presses the nail of her thumb into my clit.
Soon her fingers are replaced by a penis. Teeth bite into my breasts. They do not draw blood, this will be the privilege of the man in the black garb.
"Please, save me, have mercy," I say.
I know that no matter how much mercy I will ask for, and how many I will ask for it, I will not receive it.