An Execution -A Short Story by Turtlesquish

This is a short story I wrote for school. This will be graded in the near future, so if you see mistakes don’t hesitate to point them out. I should point out that all although many of these events are based on true events, it is still a fiction story. Enjoy.

The gentle billowing of the wind slightly stirred the leaves on the trees. The rising moon cast ominous shadows on the forest floor. Beaten paths wound through the trees. A small troop of armed men marched down one of the paths. Their torches lit just enough to portray how dense the forest was. The oppressive atmosphere bore down on the chained fugitives whom the armed men guarded. Somehow the dominance of the night was worse than the anticipation for their trials, and the execution that would follow.

Dorek Woznicki’s shoulders and wrists ached from the chains fastened to his skin. His body shuddered in the freezing cold of the Polish winter. Yet despite the physical pain, his mental toughness did not weaken for a second. The guards had given up whipping him. Instead they shouted abuse at his bent and withered body. But he ignored them, his mind was dealing with bigger problems. He was being led to Castle Tenczyn.

Time slipped by slowly. The convoy maintained a steady pace. The lack of landscape numbed the minds of the shambling prisoners. They began to wonder if the forest would ever end. The guards kept their heads high and marched on. Suddenly they were out of the forest. Standing above them was Castle Tenczyn. Its impenetrable form dominated the landscape. Most of the prisoners sobbed in fear, others sighed in anguish. Only Dorek made no reaction. He stared at the castle with hostility, as if he was challenging it to a duel.

The prisoner in the tail of the column turned and darted back towards the trees. Almost instantly, two of the guards fell into hot pursuit. The other guards threw the remaining prisoners to the ground and planted their faces into the earth with their feet. They heard the pitiful cry followed by a scream of pain. None of the other prisoners attempted to flee. Silence filled the night.

The road was steep as it led to the gate of Tenczyn. The fugitive’s legs burnt as they climbed their last hill of freedom. The guards were reinforced by a half dozen men from the castle garrison. There was no chance of escape.

Dorek walked with his head high. The foreboding portcullis loomed ahead like the mouth of a shark. As they approached the portcullis slowly raised. The guards funneled the prisoners into the gatehouse. Once all of them were in the portcullis was lowered, and the wooden gates opened. The guards roughly pushed them into the courtyard, and the gates were closed behind them.

They were in Castle Tenczyn.

For many months Dorek remained within the confines of the prison castle. His trial was an important political event, the King-Duke himself would be the judge. Despite the decreasing amount of time until his trial, Dorek remained solemn and controlled. The guards did everything possible to make him crack, but to no avail. 

Every day after lunch, Dorek would do intense physical activities. On one particular day, when he got back the other prisoners were buzzing with excitement. Rumor had it that the Swedish Army had invaded the Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth. This opened an avenue of hope for the previously dejected prisoners. For Dorek, the Swedish invasion meant another postponement of his trial. 

Each day the Swedish Army’s advance came closer and closer to Castle Tenczyn. The morale of the guards lowered immensely. One day an order came from Warsaw, “defend the castle against the oncoming Swedish soldiers,” it said. The prisoners danced and cheered in the courtyard. In response, the garrison commander announced all rations were to be cut immediately. Later in the day the prisoners were confined to their sleep quarters, where they were to remain until the siege ended. 

Cannon and gun fire could be heard well into the night. The stone of the floor and walls shook constantly. The starving inmates huddled together to get warmth. Days and nights passed without any other sign from outside. Dorek took advantage of the seclusion and began breaking a hole in the wall next to his bed. The other prisoners laughed at him. “The Swedish would save us soon,” they said. 

All week Dorek dug constantly. His progress was visible, but still he was afraid it was too slow. The sounds of the battle outside had abated a little.  With the help of another inmate, Dorek managed to get within a few inches of the outside. They didn’t break through just yet, they would wait until they were sure the outside was clear. 

The siege continued. A few of the prisoners died of starvation. Regardless, none of the remaining prisoners wanted to flee using Dorek’s tunnel. 

It was the thirteenth night of the siege. The ferocious cannon fire, which had been absent that day, began again. Echoes of war cries could be heard in the prisoner’s quarters. 

“Vi ska segra över de polska svinen."

Amongst the racket, the prisoners heard ominous footsteps approaching. Many of the prisoners cried with joy. Others got up and cheered with all their remaining energy. Had their freedom finally arrived? Dorek knew better, he began attacking the wall with renewed vigor. 

They heard the key rattle in the door. The lock slid out of place. A kick from the outside swung the door open violently. The silhouette of the garrison commander could be seen against the torchlight of the outer corridor. His sword was drawn. With a war cry he charged into the prisoners ranks, his sword swinging in a vicious arc. Prisoners screamed in rage and pain. None of the inmates in the room survived. 

After he had massacred his cowering prisoners, the garrison commander looked around. He could already hear the approaching Swedish calling for him. 

"Vi kommer för er, polska svin!"

He cursed when he realized some of the prisoners had escaped through a hole in the wall. The garrison commander thrust his head through the hole and looked down. Two stories below him his former prisoner, Woznicki, was struggling to get to his feet. The garrison commander shouted abuse at him. In his rage he never heard the Swedish knights enter. Dorek Woznicki had just managed to stand on his wounded legs, when his former jailer’s head fell next to him. His countenance was frozen in an angry shock.

-Edit: added in some authentic Swedish compliments of @Elderon, thanks for the translation :D

Happy to help. Any time :wink: