The roar of the crowd was absolutely deafening.
In his almost twenty years serving the city, never had he ever heard such a loud noise, or even seen a big a gathering of people as he saw now from across the stage he stood on. The stage was perfectly set up ahead of time to be seen by the greatest amount of people possible. Of course, it was also being broadcast across the entirety of the country as well. Yet, just the sheer sight of all of these people…just to see something like this…
A sneer crosses his face. These people were coming out to see…what? Justice? A confession? A low laugh begins to build in his throat: his eyes begin searching and moving across the crowds, looking closely at the faces of the gathered people and signs they held. All sorts of paper and cardboard signs were raised into the air, sprawled across them in different markers and colors were the words of an angry mob.
Murderers. Killers. The Devil's Advocates. Assassins. All sorts of other obscenities and hate, many of which were not fairly polite, was spewed across the boards, but he didn't want to waste his time reading the same things over and over. He already knew what the people of this time, of the present state of the country, thought of him. What they thought of his equals. What they thought of their president, the one who was now dead, rotting away in a corpse in a place he didn't know.
These idiots…could they really not see the truth? Or had they relied too much on their powers they no longer could judge for themselves?
His laugh slowly grows louder; loud enough for the woman standing to his left can just barely hear, and looks over at him with concern.
He had fought for these people's lives all those years ago. He kept reliving all sorts of disgusting nightmares on such a daily basis…yet these people now had the guts to call them the killers and murderers? He gave up his normal life for this country multiple times…and THIS was how he was going out?
Now his laugh had grown louder; loud enough for the woman to reach over and grasp onto his left shoulder. "Don't be freaking out on me now, Wilhelm!" she exclaims with ease, flashing a smile towards him. No matter how confident she would look, the man knew; her eyes just showed her fear.
He shakes his head; no way he was scared. No no, he wasn't scared for his fate; he was scared for the country of all things. The people were just as naive has their leader had been; heck, he hadn't noticed the darkness till it was too late as well. How would the people fare...no, how would the country fare without them?
Would the darkness seep their way in?
"The idiots…do they not realize what's gonna happen once we're gone?" he asks the woman with a face of disbelief.
"They won't ever realize it. The people in this country are too dumb to think for themselves; to protect themselves." The woman remarks, staring straight out at the angry mob with piercing eyes.
"Then you might as well as include us," he says, not hiding his true feelings from the woman. "We were just as dumb and naive only days ago,"
It was true; had he told his past self from just a week ago he would standing on a stage, awaiting his execution, his past self would have pinched himself and laughed.
They hadn't seen it coming; as experienced and as powerful as the Liberators were, they didn't dare see that betrayal coming. Just walking into the room, he remembers, the stench of blood and death, red splattered across the carpet...the body twisted and cut and scarred.
His anger building, he raises a balled fist across from his face. He had powers most people in that crowd across from him had dreamed to have, would've killed or stolen for the powers and status he had. Yet, he let not only this country and the people down, he let the president down…
"Damn it…" he mutters, his fury keeping buried under his words. "It wasn't any of us…"
They'd all been out that night. The president himself said 'Take the night, relax. You all deserve it.' Yet, he'd left his coat in the president's office. So, as he returned to grab it, that was when he saw it…the corpse…
They just let him DIE…just like that.
It was frustrating and aggravating and all sorts of other boiling feelings that made him feel like he was a ticking time bomb. He was so close to exploding in anger and fighting his way off of the execution stage; away from the rope that was hanging near his head. But, he knew, as much as he could try, it wouldn't do any good. In fact, it would probably result in his comrades and himself receiving an even worse death.
Suddenly, in the background, a new sound rings out over the raging crowds. Yet, this one is more peaceful; smooth and soothing.
The clock bells chime, signaling the turning of the hours. Almost immediately, the crowds go oddly silent as rows and rows of police suddenly file into the town square out of nowhere. Two lines of men form between the stage and the front of the mob, separating the convicts from the angered public. Another row of men file onto the stage behind the convicts; he hears each footstep like an echo off of the floorboards.
One. Two. One. Two.
Once each executioner was lined up behind said convict, everyone eerily stares towards the location of the clock tower, which stood and looked over the city square like a preying eagle. Each chime goes by without much commotion.
Eight. Nine Ten. Eleven. Twelve.
The chimes silence, and almost immediately, whispers and words begin being passed about through the gathered people. They don't however, return to their angered states.
Behind them, the executioners begin readying the ropes for each convict; all thirty seven of them. Silently, with no word or fight or action from him, he lets his own said executioner wrap the coarse rope around his neck. At first it is loose, but it is quickly tightened, laying snug underneath his chin, the knot bouncing off of the back of his shaved head.
Soon all thirty-seven criminals are prepared, and the crowd watches with a single held breath. Nobody dared to break the sudden silence that had suddenly formed.
Every convict was led forward onto the drop-floor area of the stage. None of them resisted, despite how all of them felt.
A microphone turns on from somewhere, and a loud voice booms over the square with fierce authority. "Today, citizens of Capezio we have gathered, on the day October the Third, to witness the Execution of the criminals in the murder case of our dear President Baron Sawaneit!"
Cheers erupt through the crowd. He, however, stands firmly, staring straight out with no hesitation and his head high. All thirty-seven of them did. They would die with their dignity and the knowledge they were right over the idea of lying and giving up one of their own.
"The thirty-seven you see in front of you are all believed to be suspects in the case," the voice continues, "But as you all know, nobody has stepped forward to claim responsibility."
This brings about boos. Beside him, he can hear the woman to his left snort.
"Now, would any of you thirty-seven like to claim your guilt, and save your friends from an innocent death? Save this country the more mourning it would have to do?"
The crowd goes silent. The police men in rows turn ever so slightly, to watch the stage with cautious eyes. Even the executioners on stage hold a tight breath. Nobody dares to move.
Suddenly the woman beside him steps forward, drawing a few gasps from the crowd.
"The only thing I will claim," the woman starts, shouting and pleading out to the crowd. "Is that all of us…all thirty-seven of us Liberators...we are all innocent!"
This sends the crowd back into an uproar. Some of the people towards the front begin lunging forward, towards the stage, as if to attack the woman. The police, in response, hold and press the crowds back, away from the stage.
However, the woman does not back down from the crowd's anger. She lets out a loud yell, louder than the crowd, which garners the attention of everyone. Even the man beside her cannot help but stare at her now, noting the anger and the tears seeming to form at the edge of her eyes.
"We loved President Sawaneit just as much as all of you…" she cries. "We loved his compassion, his openness, his perseverance…" Her eyes narrow as she stares back out into the crowd. "And you all have the guts to go say we didn't?!"
Even the executioners now are staring in shock at the woman's words. It were as if the entire town had suddenly gone silent; there was no wind, no more yelling. No one dared to even take a step; many were frozen in place.
The voice over the microphone suddenly returns. "Ahem…well…none of your thirty-seven Liberators will claim guilt?"
Silence from the row of convicts, all bounded with rope 'round their necks. The woman steps back into her place beside the man, her eyes still narrow. The crowd knows their answer as well; they remain surprisingly silent though.
"Then may you all have your last words on this stage!"
Behind them, the man hears the executioners walking about. The floorboards creak with each step, allowing the man to assume they were each getting into their spots to pull the lever. The lever which would open the stage beneath this feet; which would send his body falling with gravity. The lever which would end his life.
Looking down the line of his comrades beside him, he expects to see at least somebody speak. Instead, he sees both current and former Liberators all with their heads held high; an old man with a scar on his face, his eyes glued to the sky. A little girl does the same, taking a deep breath and muttering what most likely was a prayer of sorts to the Gods.
How sick; their beloved country was betraying them by killing every single Liberator. They'd given their lives for this country…
The man himself steps forward, sending a small wave of gasps through the crowd, and even the other criminals, who look at him in surprise. He still remains over the drop-floor; he wasn't dare going to move past it.
"You call us the criminals; the killers, the murderers, the liars," he begins. "You claim we are the ones killed our dear President. We never killed him; we never killed anyone like that,"
A few sighs and grumbles go out into the crowd like a wave. After all, it wasn't necessarily true; the Liberators had fought in all sorts of wars in the past. But, nothing like that in the current day.
"However, if I could, I would kill all of you now, in this square. You are the ones who betrayed your country; not us. You are the ones who deserve to die."
He expected a response; anger, cursing, shouting, anything like that. Instead, the crowd remains silent in shock. It wasn't even that the man's words were untrue; in fact, what he said was arguably right in some ways.
The man didn't even step back into his exact spot in the line before he heard the click of the lever tab being prepped. The realization hits him a little too late.
Soon, thirty-seven levers are pulled.
The floors drop away.
He begins falling towards Earth.
And his world goes black.