The woman was hanging above the plank. Her back was full of scars and deep cuts, oozing with blood. Her eyes were closed in fear of seeing what was below her. She could hear the villagers around her, roaring “she shall die”. She could also hear the lions growling beneath her.
Nina had woken up early that morning and while everyone was asleep, she went out to get firewood. It was winter and the snow was clinging to the trees. Her hands and feet were numb with the cold. The wind was like a two-edged sword on her face. The sun was beginning to rise as she walked through the forest in the thick snow that had fallen overnight.
When she reached her favourite spot she began to axe the trees. Suddenly she heard screams in the distance. Then she heard the most feared sound of the plunging hoofs through snow, It was the villagers. She grabbed the axe and ran for her life, through the trees and up the hills. Out of nowhere the villagers began to appear from behind the snow covered trees. She tried to escape but it was no use, she was surrounded. One of the white men slowly got off his horse, the stirrups swinging as he jumped onto the ground. The man came towards her and hit her with the end of the axe that he had taken from her hands. She fell to the ground with a thud. ” Get up” another man said, he seemed to be the leader of the group. He turned to the woman on the horse next to him “Is this the black girl who committed the crime” he asked her. She nodded her head. Nina began to panic, what were they talking about?
The man jumped off his horse and began to tie Nina’s hands behind her back with some rope while his horse dug the ground, champing the grass under the snow. He then ordered the other men to put her in the cage. They began to beat her like she was a rag doll. “Enough” the leader shouted, immediately they stopped what they were doing and locked the carriage. ” We have to get back to the village to announce the good news, we have captured the murderer” he said. ” I didn’t murder anyone” she screamed.They all stared at her, their eyes flaming with rage. “Move” the leader ordered.
They rode through the ferny floors of the cold damp forest , the horses snapping the sticks and the icy leaves falling from the trees. They only stopped once or twice so the horses could get some water. They repeatedly stared at her because she had spoken out, she was black and so they thought that she wasn’t able to speak and that she shouldn’t speak.
The villagers were waiting for them as they rode into the village. They stared at Nina like she was an infected dog. They had never seen a coloured person before as they were made to live in the forest. She had never been in the village before but she had heard stories from her grandparents, but the village was nothing like the stories she had heard it was much more. She was amazed to see shop windows full of food and other windows full of pretty shoes and dresses.
They then came to a hault outside a large stone castle. She felt a horrible creepy feeling pass through her as she looked at the dreaded castle from her grandparents story, she shuddered. The gate opened and they rode through.
Nina was brought down, below the castle to the dungeons. It was cold and damp and there were rats running around. They threw her into the dungeon. She then went unconcious because she had so many deep cuts. She woke up an hour later to find that she was lying in a pool of her own blood, she was very weak and could hardly move.
They then came and took her to the Lord, he ordered for Nina to be taken to the lions as she had committed such a crime. The person that they thought she was had murdered the Lords son. She wanted to scream and shout and tell them that it wasn’t her who had done it. She could not say this in front of the Lord though, he seemed to look at her in disgust, like she was vermin. She also was too weak to do this, she felt that if she even opened her mouth she would die, pain was piercing through her whole body.
“Into the lions , Into the lions” the crowd roared. They pushed her towards the middle of the plank where a rope was hanging from the gallows, they slowly took the rope and tied it around Nina’s neck. The tears rolled down her bruised cheeks as she began to understand the horrors of the world. She shut her eyes,held her breath and prayed as they pulled her up higher. They had opened the plank below her and she could hear the hungry lions growling. The lions could smell and taste her as the blood from her deep cuts dripped down.
Just as they were about to cut the rope a woman called out from the crowd. “Stop” she screamed. Nina opened her eyes to see that it was the woman who had accused her in the forest earlier.”Marissa what are you talking about?” asked the leader. “She’s innocent” roared Marissa. Everyone was perplexed and looked from Marissa to Nina wondering what was happening. She told the crowd that it was Nina’s cousin who murdered the Lords son and they were mistaken because she looked exactly like her. “Let her go” she said to the leader.
They closed the plank below her, and took her down from the rope. Everyone was silent as this had never happened before. The woman walked towards Nina and told her she was sorry and that she would be cared for and brought back to her family. Nina was so beaten that she could not answer her, instead nodded her head.