Grace sat against the cell wall. She was naked: her bare back pressed to chill stone, her buttocks on
packed earth. Her arms were raised above her head, her wrists cinched in heavy iron fetters that were
bone-crushing in their grip, connected by three links of chain to a ring in the wall.
When they had first chained her, after the cell door had been closed and locked, leaving her alone
in near-pitch darkness, she had tested the iron: pulling down with all her might. She had tried to twist her
hands in the shackles, but the iron's grip had been so firm that there was no movement. She was
inescapably secured, and eventually she had slumped, defeated, her arms stretched over her head.
That was two months ago. Since then, she had been a prisoner of the fetters, not once allowed to
lower her arms. Her face lolled against one arm, the sour odour of her own armpits tormenting her. Her
hair was tangled, her face grubby. Chained like this, she was sometimes brought food and drink, sometimes
sluiced with cold water to wash her filth into a shallow drain that ran through the cell, but not once had her
wrists been freed from their confinement.
At eighteen, Grace was a beautiful young woman, black-brown hair to her shoulders, dark hair
under her arms, between her thighs. Her figure was slender and strong, tiny plump breasts with cinnamon
nipples, trim hips. True to her Spanish heritage, her skin was olive brown. Her face was pretty, high
cheekbones, a delicate mouth with pouting lips, slim nose, bold dark eyebrows and dark brown eyes.
Always assured, calm, charming but dignified. Many were attracted to her, and it was that fact which had
led to her imprisonment.
The word sounded so harsh, the punishment it carried harsher still.
She had been six months in the employ of a lord and his lady, as house-maid and cook and nanny.
It was their son, barely twelve years old, whom she had supposedly bewitched; but his was merely a crush,
the lust of pubescent youth. It was the jealousy of the farmer's wife, her bitterness at Grace's lithe young
form, her pouting lips and supple limbs, that had led to accusation.
They had arrested her quickly, bringing her to the Court House with wrists bound behind her back
and a leather gag in her mouth. She had been stripped of her clothes and thrown into a cell, there left
while a hearing was arranged.
The hearing itself had been a farce, barely ten minutes before a bored judge. Even so, Grace had
conducted herself with utter composure: naked and with hands still bound behind her, she walked calmly
with her head high. Without the gag once being removed for her to speak, she had been accused and
condemned, but she had not wept, nor pleaded for lenience. God's Will Be Done.
Now, two months later, her time had come.
Keys rattled in the cell door, the lock undone. The door creaked open, and three guards in armour
entered. To see them, Grace's eyes filled with tears, but Grace was her name, and grace was her nature;
and she had determined to go with dignity.
The Sergeant fitted a stout key to the manacles above her, opening them. "It is time."
It was eight weeks since her wrists had been enclosed in iron, and she was beyond struggling as she
was made to lie on her belly. Besides, struggling would not be dignified. Her arms were pulled behind her
back and rope was painfully crunched about her wrists, binding them tightly and brutally, so she had no
movement and no chance of freedom. She sucked her lip and gave no emotion.
The guards lifted Grace to her feet, marched her from the cell. A labyrinth of long, dim
passageways, endless spirals of stone steps, countless iron doors marked their slow progress from the
dungeons to the chill autumn day outside. The dread swelled in Grace's belly as, finally, they stepped
outside the Courthouse and stood for a moment at the top of its steps.
There were perhaps three hundred people in the Town Square.
They milled amongst the market stalls; they lined the route from the Courthouse to the execution
stage; and more still were already seated in spectator stands five ranks high that surrounded the execution
stage, excited, eager, ready to enjoy their afternoon's entertainment.
As the small, naked brown figure appeared, flanked by guards, a cheer went up. Grace took a deep
trembling breath, tensed herself against the fear, and did not let herself show one bit of it, nor did she
waver in her proud posture, her arms tightly behind her back and her little breasts high. All she wore was
the rope binding her wrists together, but she would wear it beautifully.
The spectator stands rose on three sides of a stage that was twenty feet by twenty. And upon the
stage was the Execution Rack. Nine feet long by four wide, dark heavy oak. For all the world it looked like a
bed: but a bed of shame and suffering, with stocks as its footboard and headboard.
Grace's brown eyes fixed on the machine, and the tiny hairs bristled on her naked body as
goosebumps swept over her.
"I am ready, Sir," she said to the Sergeant, with only the slightest quaver in her voice. Inwardly her
knees were weak and her hands, roped so tightly together at the wrists behind her back, were shaking.
Sweat was already trailing her ribcage from under her arms. But she kept her composure, and went
willingly with the guards as they impelled her forward towards the theatre of her execution.
A shout of excitement rippled across the town square, people hurried to take their seats. Grace,
trembling, kept her head high as she passed the gathered townsfolk. Eyes were on her naked body, her
back-turned arms and bound wrists, her small breasts and the hairy thatch between her legs. She barely
saw them, her eyes fixed on the menacing wooden rack.
As they neared, she saw it in more detail. The stock at its head was some two feet short of the
rack's uppermost end: but it could move: an iron handle at the rack's lower end would operate a long turnscrew,
which would force the wrist-stocks further from the foot, until eventually it reached the top of the
rack. Whoever was fastened between foot and wrist stocks would be pulled apart. It was an elegant and
simple design, masterfully crafted, oiled and polished: but its beauty was lost on the girl who now drew
close, her heart pounding, to the rush of voices from the waiting crowds.
Three wooden steps up to the stage, rough to the soles of her feet. She could hear the crowd,
people hurrying to take their seats. She was aware of the guards, and now of the Executioner who
ascended the steps behind them; but she could not take her eyes from the rack, huge and heavy and awful.
"Stand." There in front of the crowds, she was made to wait, two guards holding her bare arms, for
long minutes while the Sergeant unpicked the crushing ropes from her wrists. When her hands were finally
freed from behind her back, they half-pushed, half-lifted her onto the hard, cold wood of the rack. Though
she was shaking uncontrollably, she complied without resistance, lying on her back.
"Grace De Lima, you have been found guilty of bewitchment." The Sergeant, employed by the
Courts for such occasions, began to read aloud from a scroll. At the same time, the guards took hold of
Grace's hands. They lifted her arms over her head, stretching them up and placing her wrists into the
stocks. Each hole had a thick iron inset, and as they closed the upper board onto the lower, Grace felt her
wrists clamped fiercely by the unforgiving cuffs: their grip like a vice, allowing no movement at all. She bit
her lip but did not flinch as the wrist stock was locked with a key.
Next, Grace's feet were placed widely apart in the stocks at the rack's base, stretching her legs so
that she felt a slight pull on her inner thighs: likewise the ankle stocks' iron linings crushed painfully onto
her ankles. This, too, was locked, and key given to the Sergeant.
She lay, inescapably locked on the machine of her death.
"Grace de Lima, for your crime you have been sentenced to stretch upon this rack until you are
Grace felt sick to her stomach with fear and shame, acutely embarrassed that she lay exposed to
the scrutiny of the crowd. Her slim upstretched arms, firm and gently sculpted with the graceful muscle of
youth, brushed with the finest downy hairs: Her black-haired armpits, clearly wet with the sweat of terror,
sodden little twists and curls of hair: Her small, plump breasts and their cinnamon nipples, hard like stones
in the chill air, the areolae crinkled and dark: Her ribcage, stark and corrugated and peppered with
goosebumps: Her belly, flat and muscled, with its central ravine softened by fine wheat-blonde hairs,
shifting quickly with her anxious breath: Her hairy pubis and the tangle between her spread thighs, the
gentle ridges of her hip bones: Her bare legs, long and slender, firm thighs and gleaming shins. Beyond the
heavy stocks that held her ankles so shamelessly wide apart, her naked feet, pale soles, high arches and
delicate toes. The rack's restraint denied her even the smallest shred of modesty, and all, men and women,
old and young, were openly ogling her body.
It was humiliation beyond bearing, being stripped naked and stretched out with her arms over her
head, so Grace fixed her eyes on a leaden sky, dull clouds that rode the day's cold breeze, trying to ignore
the many eyes upon her.
But they were not just here to look at her naked body, Grace knew. They had come to watch her
die: to be entertained by her suffering as she was tortured to death. She thought of the stories of the
Christian Saints who had suffered for God: how they had not cried out, but used their faith to remain
strong to the end, praising God despite the horrors inflicted upon them. She knew that she must do the
same. She had been stripped of everything, but nobody could strip her dignity, and though she trembled,
she showed no emotion as the hooded executioner stepped to the foot of the rack and put his hands to the
With an awful, creaking, grinding sound, the screw began to turn. The crowd cheered, and with
tormenting slowness, Grace felt her iron-gripped wrists being pulled upwards. Instinctively she pulled
against it, bracing herself, tensing her body and trying to resist. But the slow force of the machine, the pain
in her iron-clamped wrists and ankles, the trembling terror in her limbs made her efforts futile: gradually,
the rack's headboard was forced further from the foot and gradually the rack stretched her.
The turn-screw grated around. Still she fought, but Grace's shoulder blades and buttocks shifted on
the wooden surface, she felt her legs and arms straightening, her body slowly pulled straighter. Despite
herself, she gave a small grunt. She had no idea how much it might hurt, being stretched to death, but she
knew she must endure it without crying out.
The screw turned, her wrists were drawn upwards. Now her limbs were straight and tight. With the
next slow turn of the screw, slowly, so slowly, Grace felt the pull growing on her wrists and ankles, and the
strain increasing in her limbs. Her ribcage lifted higher, her back sparked little electric pinpricks of pain, her
body began to stretch.
The town square now became quiet as all watched, listened, waited.
As the screw groaned around and Grace's body felt more stretch, the pressure grew on her clamped
wrists and ankles. They began to hurt badly: a squeezing, crushing, tearing pain as her hands and feet were
wrenched ever-harder against their anchorage. Still Grace held on to her composure, not showing any
emotion, clenching her jaw as the crowd mocked and called.
Another slow creak of the screw and the pain in her wrists and ankles grew worse. Despite herself,
Grace tipped her head back and looked towards the head of the rack: her own arms, stretched up, muscles
defined and striated, wrists surely clamped in the stock. She could not see her hands, but the pain was
pounding in them, and even as she watched, the stock shifted fractionally again, pulling yet harder on her
limbs. She gave another small whimper, and a murmur came from the crowd.
After a long pause, again the screw turned. Grace could feel her body being pulled tighter, hard
tension in her limbs. She knew that it would soon get much worse. Already the first twinges of pain had
begun deep in her armpits.
The Executioner waited, then turned the screw again. As her body stretched, Grace's ribcage and
breasts rose further, her belly hollowing deeper, her arms and legs drawing harder between the rack's
head and foot. She could feel burning pain along the muscles of her upper arms and thighs. The wood
creaked. It was getting harder to move even her head: Grace turned her face to look beyond the horizon of
her own upstretched arm at the crowded stands twenty feet beyond. Her eyes filled with tears that she
could not wipe, mercifully veiling the sadistic faces of the crowd.
After a long time, the next grating twist of the turn-screw brought sharper pain in her sweating
armpits and in her hips, mirrored by a slight tearing pain in the small of her back, sparks of pain spreading
down her sides. The tears came again, freely streaking her beautiful face, the only outward sign of her
terror and humiliation as the growing pain and her pounding heart told her that truly this was the
beginning of an agonising death.
The Executioner waited long minutes, then turned the rack again. Grace's limbs were pulled, her
spine popped loudly like sap in a fire, and she gasped aloud. There was a reaction from the crowd. She felt
her legs and arms now tighter than they should be, sharp pain in her joints. She could not see how there
could be any more stretch in her body.
But the screw turned, and she felt herself being stretched further. With it came a surge of the pain
in her shoulders, truly hurting, spreading hotly down her sides and growing hotly in her hips. Grace's chin
lifted slightly, her mouth opening in reaction to the pain. The crowd cheered.
Oh Blessed Father, give me strength I beg you. Grace found herself praying inwardly, as the pain
grew steadily worse. Lord, let me not cry out.
The Executioner waited long minutes. Sweat was beginning to appear in tiny clusters across Grace's
brow, on her throat, on her heaving breasts, on the ridges of her hip bones. It streaked her flanks in shiny
trails from the hollow of each armpit. Eventually he gave the screw a turn: the rack's wrist stock slowly
shifted and Grace was stretched. She gave a moan as the pain speared through her limbs: hot, sharp,
wrenching: focused most urgently in her armpits and hips, but spreading, savagely, to her knees and
elbows. It was already overshadowing the pain of the iron on her wrists and ankles.
Dear Lord, my God, please let this end, please please let it end!
Another turn of the screw, and for the first time, Grace wailed aloud despite herself, a cry of pain
no true Christian Saint would have given. The crowd cheered in response and Grace's eyes spilled tears of
shame and humiliation. Some people were even mimicking her wail back at her, drawing laughter from
Again the Executioner turned the wheel, and sudden, savage pain exploded like red hot pokers into
her armpits, driving down her flanks, flaring in her aching hips. She gave another cry, and the crowd jeered
and clapped its approval. The Executioner did not wait, but turned the screw again and the pain worsened.
"No! No, stop, it hurts!" Grace cried out, unable to stop herself now. But she was completely
helpless, her wrists and ankles clamped immovably as the screw rotated: her limbs were stretched a little
harder and she gave a longer cry. "Oh God!"
This was not the sudden, sharp pain of a wrenching injury, but an absolute, engulfing pain, slicing
through her shoulders and hips: a terrible torsion pulling her sensitive joints apart.
"Please, Sir! Stop, please!" she cried. Creaking, groaning, the rack stretched her further and Grace
shrieked aloud. The pain spread from her forearms to her chest, hot fire at the base of her spine, all
through her pelvis and thighs. "Oh! Oh! God!"
Again, slowly, the executioner turned the screw, Grace's helpless body was stretched more, and the
pain exploded and flared. The gathered crowd was cheering, now, applauding every loud cry of the girl
slowly stretching. Grace was truly being tortured as her joints were strained with unrelenting force.
The Executioner rotated the turn-screw again, and as the wrist stocks stretched Grace's body more,
sickening creaks and groans sounded in her joints: now she screamed with pain. Sweat now polished every
inch of her bare skin, glossing her breasts and heaving belly, her throat and face, soaking the matted hair in
her armpits, oiling the skin.
Again the screw turned, Grace screamed as, with awful creaks, tendons slowly began to rip and
tear, bones being drawn from their sockets with terrible slowness.
"Oh God, please!" She managed to shriek. "Please, have mercy! Please, stop!"
But the executioner forced another turn, and Grace's begging dissolved into another scream. The
agony was as if spikes had been hammered into every joint, shoulders and hips, elbows and knees. Her
muscles felt as if they were being ripped from the bones to which they were anchored, but with wrists and
ankles clamped and the rack slowly stretching her, she was helpless to stop the pain getting worse.
The screw turned.
"No! Sto-o-o-op!" Grace screamed. And yet, her pain was only of muscles and tendons stretching
and joints beginning to separate: just a glimmer of the horror to come.
"SLOW! SLOW! SLOW! SLOW!" The growing crowd had begun to chant, over the screams of the
woman on the rack. It had been close to an hour already: but they wanted the executioner to slow his
turns, to intensify her suffering, to prolong her agony towards death. The executioner obliged, waiting
longer, now, before easing the screw, just a quarter-turn.
"Oh God, God! Fucking Jesus, oh God!" As her body stretched fractionally, Grace screamed
blasphemies in her agony. "Ohhh fucking God in Hell!" Angry shouts in response mingled with laughter and
jeers from the crowd. A little further, and Grace shrieked more blasphemies. Her God had abandoned her
and now she cursed the spirit she had once worshipped.
With wrists and ankles clamped in the rack's iron grip, Grace's slender body was helpless to the
sadism of her tormentors: the Executioner turned the screw again and the girl was stretched, loud creaks
and pops as bones were pulled yet further out of place. Her screams were terrible: she would have begged
again but she could no longer find words.
Long minutes passed, but the agony did not abate. Grace screamed and shrieked, wailed and cried.
When, finally, the screw grated around, she was stretched further, and her screams renewed. Her joints
were slowly ripping apart: her body hideously tight, her wet armpits framing her agonised face, her ribcage
and abdomen and the muscles of her arms and legs defined. Sweat clustered her bare skin in fat droplets.
The wrist stock had moved cruel inches: and as the Executioner turned the screw again, Grace
screamed anew. Every desperate heave of her belly as she gasped between shrieks brought fresh
explosions of pain through her tearing shoulders and hips, down her spine. But she could not stop
screaming, drawing breath, screaming again.
After a long time, the Executioner slowly forced another turn. Grace's screams escalated to a new,
frantic pitch as the most excruciating fire exploded into her limbs. Over ten awful minutes, with a sound
like wet twigs breaking, her shoulders and hips dislocated fully. Grace lost control of her bladder, urinating
in a spray that arced up between her glistening thighs, drawing shrieks of delight and mockery from the
When the executioner turned the screw again, loud and sickening cracks! sounded as tendons
detached noisily and the bone ends were pulled free of their cartilage. Separation was beginning in her
elbows and knees, wrists and ankles, and between each vertebra of her spine. The pain was indescribable,
beyond unendurable: and yet on this rack, Grace was helpless, unable to escape it. She coughed vomit and
her gurgling scream drew more laughter from the crowd.
The executioner tightened the rack again, further stretching her dislocated arms, pulling her
dislocated hip bones further from their sockets, and Grace screamed her agony anew. The crowd was
seething with excitement: close to five hundred people swarming the stands, jeering, mocking, enthralled
by the naked body gradually being stretched before their eyes, savouring the girl's agony.
Little by little, slowly, the Executioner turned the screw, ripping endless screams from Grace's lungs
as her elbows and knees were pulled apart. Each tiny separation sent explosions of fire all the length of her
arms and legs. It had been two hours since she first lay down on the rack, but in her screams Grace had lost
all track of time. She had lost thought and memory, identity, even words. She only knew pain.
After a long time, the Executioner forced the wheel and the turn-screw rack stretched its victim.
Grace's screams were terrible as her elbows separated fully, bone-end from bone-end, cartilage breaking,
and her knees likewise began to pull apart. So, too, the delicate bones in her wrists and ankles: the
ligaments of her spine tore.
When the Executioner turned the screw further, it was the sound of knees coming completely apart
that drew the new screams from Grace's lungs, while her shoulders and hips, already ruined, raged more
agony: helpless upon her bed of execution. All of her joints, now brutally dislocated, were ripped further.
Ligaments shredded. Tendons detached. Muscles tore. Nerves were distended but did not snap. The fire of
agony raged in every inch of her body, more excruciating than any other torture created, and Grace's
insane screaming was evidence.
Another small turn of the screw, another gradual stretch. The crowd's delight was at a frenzy. They
shouted their lust for Grace's suffering to linger. On its oversized wooden bed, her shining brown naked
body lay, arms wrenched straight up over her head, legs wide and straining to the bottom corners of the
bed: her muscles taut and stark, her hair splashed across the wood, her small breasts quivering and her
hollowed belly lurching with the agonised gasps between each scream: her slim wrists and ankles gripped
by the rack's head and foot, keeping her utterly helpless to each gradual extension.
As the big screw stretched her a little more, Grace gave fresh screams. A series of cracks like
breaking sticks reverberated from her spine as small ligaments snapped from bone and the vertebrae
began to pull apart. For the first time, Grace's screams were choked by coughing, flecks of foamy blood
appearing at her lips.
Each spasm of coughing sent shockwaves of unbearable agony through her separated joints. Fresh
cracks and creaks came from her torn body. The fluffy down that softened her skin was patterned by
rivulets of sweat. Steam wisped from her body in the autumn air. Grace's blood-flecked lips were pulled
back from perfect teeth, her mouth wide, eyes rolled back, her agonised screams coming hoarsely,
endlessly from deep in her chest.
The crowd were loving the Executioner's skill. He knew how to cause the most exquisite pain
without bringing death. Grace lay, stretched so cruelly that every joint had been fully dislocated. They were
visibly displaced, her armpits now up beyond her ears and oddly bulging, her elbows dimpled and
distorted, her hips distended and knees oddly caved where the bones of her lower legs had detached
completely from cartilage. Dark crimson and purple coloured the skin around her joints. Her hands and feet
were mashed into tight balls beyond the stocks' iron vice, blue grey in colour, with broken bones that she
had not even felt. And yet her body was still beautiful, slender and alluring, splayed on that bed with her
brown skin against the rack's dark wood, her ribcage and her breasts and flat belly.
She was young, supple, and that meant she could suffer many more turns of the rack. This was
simply the opportunity to torture her more cruelly than ever. Now the Executioner's cranks of the screw
were minuscule, fractional stretches separated by long minutes that brought agony to every inch of her
body, testified by her endless screaming, the heavy sweat that covered Grace's skin.
After a quarter-hour of Grace's screaming and shrieking, the screw rotated a little, Grace's wrists
were drawn further: now it was the very anchorages of her trunk and organs that were tearing, and with it,
her breath was shortening. Still she screamed, but the screams were thinner, faster, and the dreadful
torment of near-suffocation adding to her suffering.
After a long time, the screw slowly turned again, Grace was stretched. She could no longer move
her head: nor any part of her. Vision was gone, her eyes turned back in their sockets, only unending agony
visualised as flashes in the red haze of horror with every ripping ligament, every rending fibre. The pain
grew incrementally more awful with every endless minute as she fought to pull air into her overwhelmed
Eventually, another slow turn. Tearing sounds as the muscles and sinew of her torso ripped from
her ribcage. Groaning as the muscles in her back were shredded. Grace wailed thinly. With the next turn,
more cracks! of her vertebrae and ligaments detaching echoed around the square. Stunned by the
tremendous surge of pain through her back, Grace was silenced for a time. Then, all she could do was caw
like a crow, fighting to draw breath in bloody coughs, hideously stretched. In the stands around her, the
crowd was cheering and calling for more stretching, but slowly – with gradual turns of the screw.
The Executioner obliged. Another turn, and two more vertebrae separated, more tearing as Grace's
arms and legs were lengthened, little more than ligaments and torn muscle holding her together. Her body
was coming apart like beads on a string. Her bowels loosened.
For her crime, Grace had been truly, and thoroughly, punished.
After a long time, another turn. Still her belly convulsed, sweat covering her drawn body, a fresh
dribble of urine escaping from between her shining thighs. Snot streamed from her nose. Still the hoarse
cries of agony: Her ribcage barely seemed to move, her breathing desperately shallow, her groans feeble.
Again the Executioner turned the screw. There was the sound of Grace's back breaking in the halfdozenth
place, and despite everything, her reaction was clear for the gathered crowd to see: new agony
drew desperate screeches from her throat. Her body was completely broken from stretching upon the
rack, but death was yet far. She was awake, aware, feeling every moment of her torture, screaming
Grace's world had become a clamour of madness in agony. Pain in every inch of her body. She could
no longer feel the iron that clamped her wrists and ankles into her bed of suffering, but she could feel her
helplessness, revealed in every slow turn as, hour upon hour, she had been tortured. Early on she had
prayed that death might bring mercy, but it was not to be. Every tiny turn of the screw, every snapped
tendon, every torn ligament, every shredded muscle, every bone pulled from its bed, she felt, intensely,
unbearably. She heard it, too, the popping and creaking, groaning, the ripping of ligaments in her own
armpits, the unforgiving red-hot agony of muscles detaching from her pelvic bone and ribcage.
It began to rain.
Icy droplets, sparse at first, then becoming fatter, faster, heavier. The rain fell over the town square
and the clouds overhead darkened, casting a false grey dusk over the town square. The jeers and calls of
the crowd quickly shifted to shouts of annoyance, and then dismay as the rain quickened.
Big drops splatted onto the wood of the rack, slapped onto the tight, stretched, heaving body of
Grace. As the rain grew heavy, the downpour fell on her naked skin, rainwater and sweat twisting in
rivulets down her shuddering sides, pooling on the dark wood of the rack. Faster, heavier, the rain fell on
the heavy stocks that clamped the broken girl's wrists and ankles, the crushed and curled hands and feet
beyond their grip. Rain splashed to her face; rain collected in her eyes, mingling with the tears.
As the crowds clambered down from the stands, huddling under cloaks and shawls, hurrying across
the square, the Executioner cast a glance over the straining body of the girl upon the rack, shining now in
the downpour, held motionless regardless of weather by the stretching tension upon her. He could still see
her belly heaving quickly, he could hear her cries of agony.
But the fun was over, the execution had to conclude. Even the guards on the execution stage were
looking to him for their signal to leave. With a scowl, disappointed at being denied more hours of slow
torture, the Executioner put his hands to the wet iron handles of the turn-screw, and twisted, hard.
Fully around: once, twice, three full rotations. The screw groaned, the wrist-stocks creaked and
grated, shifting by inches, and with a cacophony of cracking, tearing, screeching, ripping and popping,
Grace's broken body was ripped truly ligament from ligament, sheath from muscle, cartilage from tendon.
The violent, savage extension tore a long rasping rattle from Grace's lungs: but as her spine pulled apart
and her diaphragm tore, even the voice was ripped from her throat, decaying into a sigh: her eyes, wide,
stared in agonised horror up into the teeming rain. The Executioner heard Grace's gurgles, and lifted his
hands from the rack's wheel.
"It is done."
The Executioner, the guards, the Sergeant, and the last of the day's spectators fled into the
downpour. Only Grace was left, stretched brutally upon the rack, naked, helpless: alone and exposed
beneath the rain, her wrists and ankles still clamped in the vice-tight stocks that had been locked with a
key now gone in the Sergeant's pouch.
Grace's mouth and her eyes were open in agony but her eyes were beginning to glaze. Her heart
laboured, crashing painfully against her ribcage, each pulse sending shockwaves through dislocated and
wrecked joints, ripped muscle and sinew. Bloody foam escaped the corners of her mouth and was washed
to the wood beneath her head, where her dark hair was splashed like wet wool.
Grace felt the pain turning to cold: numbness creeping along her limbs. It felt surreal, and as death
began to embrace her, she was overwhelmed with shame at how her dignity had been stripped by just a
few turns of the rack. She had soiled herself, pissed, vomited, streamed snot from her nose, sweated
profusely. She had begged, shrieked, blasphemed, pleaded for death. She had screamed, how she had
screamed. She had not an ounce of dignity, laid naked and stretched for the crowd's delight, and they had
relished her humiliation. They had watched her die cawing and screeching and releasing every bodily fluid
possible for four long hours.
The rain came in teeming sheets. The rack spilled trickles of water from its sides. Upon it, her body
running rivulets, ripped apart at the core, Grace lay stretched, brown eyes staring emptily at the sky.
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