**I wrote this after watching Braveheart. I get a lot of my ideas from movies; I just like to add my little twists to them. In this particular piece, I wasn't sure how I wanted to end it, so I wrote an alternate ending (I love when the do that on DVD's). My wife liked the first ending better; let me know what you think.


'Purification through pain' is what they call it. In all honesty, it's a politically correct way to say 'death by torture'. I am on the platform, waiting for hell to begin. Surrounding the platform are several hundred peasants, they seem angry and they're shouting. I can hardly hear myself think. The tools are uncovered and the crowd roars louder.
On the table beside me are instruments of human destruction; a mace, knifes of all shapes and sizes, and a battleaxe. These tools had been made with something else in mind. The mace and battleaxe were for combat, the knives usually for hunting and farming.
The mace is used first, pulverizing leg bones with every blow. I hear screams. Next, the Sgain Dubh, or black dagger, slices strips of flesh away from the body. More screaming. I can smell the blood. I feel faint, unsure how much more I can handle.
Some of the crowd yells for mercy. The eagle's claw knife slashes through the abdomen. I see intestines dangling in front of me. More shouts for mercy.
I cannot take it anymore. Too much time has passed, death should have come by now. There has to be some compassion. I see the battleaxe rise above me, seeming to float in the air. It falls and severs the neck. I look down and see my hands still holding the axe handle. A single teardrop slides down my cheek, but no one can see it behind my mask.

*************************ALTERNATE ENDING*********************
I see the battleaxe rise above me, seeming to float in the air. It falls and severs the neck.
I awake with a start. Sweat has plastered my hair to my head. I get out of bed and stumble to the bathroom to splash some water on my face. The dream is still vivid in my mind and now I know why I've been having it. I return to my bedroom and turn on the light; on the wall to the left of my bed is the family tree I've been working on.
It started out as a hobby and turned into an obsession. My name is written six inches above the baseboard. Covering most of the wall is the names of my ancestors. About a foot down from the ceiling, on my father's side of the tree is my most recent find; William Henry Stewart. I've found that William worked for King Edward IV; he was an executioner.
I leave my bedroom again and open the door leading to my basement. Now I know why. As soon as I turn on the light, a scream echoes off the basement walls. Now I know why I love to kill.