I didn’t sleep, I stayed awake watching the light fill the corner of the blinds. I took in deep breaths, wondering just when they would come to get me. Finally when the sun had touched the top of the sky, the knock sounded on my door. My heart stopped, I stayed silent. Maybe they would think I wasn’t here, maybe they’d go looking for Bellamy and he would’ve changed his mind by then. I knew it was a childish wish, but I couldn’t stop holding onto the hope that somehow, someway I would survive this monster.
They didn’t knock twice. Instead they threw open the door and looked at me, “Clarke Griffin, it’s time.”
I looked at Murphy, he looked like he was enjoying this, “I won’t beg,” I said standing up and letting my hands drop to my sides. I stood up off the bed and stood up straight, Murphy’s hand going to the small of my back, “where’s Bellamy?”
“He doesn’t like to watch it happen,” Raven’s voice startled me. She was standing there, her eyes red and puffy. She had been crying, she had been crying for me.
I squeezed her hand, “even if it was only for one day, I’m glad I met you. I’m glad you were my friend.”
She hugged me tightly before Murphy pulled me out of the room. The only sound I could hear was the beating of my heart. It was fast and it was loud, telling me that this was the last time I would get to feel anything. The castle tiles were cold underneath my bare feet, the air rushing through the silk robe. I could feel the sun, barely hitting me through the big windows. We walked silently towards the courtyard. I knew there was a noose waiting for me.
I closed my eyes and prayed that my mom would be there waiting for me. I prayed that Octavia would be okay, that she wouldn’t cry when she heard I was gone. She had to be strong, she was the only family my dad had left. I could only hope Wells was strong for both of them. I knew he could fall apart with the best of them, especially when it came to me.
We came to a stop in front of two large brown doors. They opened easily, welcoming me to my death. There was a woman standing on the far end, near the doors that led outside. I could see the sun kissing the sky as she held up the rope. She looked through me, as if I didn’t exist. It was like I didn’t even matter to these people. I was just another wife, another execution scheduled. There would be another one after me, and then one after that.
My heart hurt as I realized I probably wouldn’t even get a proper funeral. There was probably somewhere where all the bodies were buried, unmarked graves for the girls Bellamy had left behind.
“Mama,” my voice was soft as I stepped towards the woman, Murphy ready to grab me if I tried to run, “I tried mama. I’m sorry.”
I ran my hand over the locket I hid beneath my robe. I always thought I had my mother’s strength, but I was folding in the face of death. She had been strong even at the end. She didn’t let death scare her, she knew that she had lived a good life, she had left behind two daughters who would live to see a future. I wasn’t that strong, I was trying as hard as I could not to break down, the tears were ready to spill as I stepped up on the wooden block.
I wouldn’t get to see a future. I wouldn’t get to see my baby sister get married to Lincoln, the only man who could handle her. I wouldn’t get to see my father hold his first grandchild. I wouldn’t get to have him walk me down the isle, or tell me he loved me one last time. I pushed all the pain away as I closed my eyes, ready to face what I knew would happen when I stepped into his castle.
I had tried. I might have failed to take down the monster, but I had tried and succeed for longer than any other girls that were in his home. It wasn’t much, but I felt proud that I had lived a night longer than all the others. It was like I mattered to the king, even if it was only for the last forty eight hours. Maybe the time he had spent with me would make him realize how terrible this whole mission was. Maybe he would put an end to it, if only he fell in love with another wife. Maybe he would open his heart, because I had tried to find it inside his chest.
The rope was cold as it touched my skin, or maybe it was the hands holding it. Either way I shivered, still not ready to meet my end. I still had so much to do, there was still so much unsaid. I took in a final breath, wondering what the point was because soon it would be cut off for good. Then I closed my eyes, ignoring the voices around me.
It didn’t take long, the rope pulled as she stepped back and kicked the stool out from underneath me. The bruise was forming, I could feel it as I chocked on the air trying to escape my throat. I got light headed, fumbling to find the ground beneath me. I shrugged against the hold, but it was no use. I could feel my body shutting down. I could feel the air leaving my lungs, the blood draining from my head. There were spots dancing behind my eyes.
There was a commotion behind me, I couldn’t see what was happening. I stopped fighting, letting go to the darkness that was starting to find me. The spots faded, my hands falling beside me. Before I could surrender completely, there were hands grabbing me. A deep voice was yelling and I heard a fist hitting flesh.
“Get her down!” the voice belonged to someone I knew, I couldn’t place it. My mind was fuzzing as the air came rushing back into my lungs, my heart panicking for oxygen. My eyes were still closed as I felt someone pulling the rope from around my neck.
I felt a warm hand against my cheek, “Clarke. Clarke open your eyes.”
I coughed as Bellamy’s strong arms picked me up and cradled me against his chest. I opened my eyes and looked up, “what?”
He shook his head as Finn told everyone to get back. I coughed, my throat burning from the lack of oxygen. Bellamy looked angry, but his hold was gentle, his touch was sincere. His eyes were staring into mine as he ran his thumb gently against my neck. His skin was warm as touched the purple bruise that ran along my throat.
“I couldn’t let them take you away,” his voice broke and I realized we were alone. We had made it back to my bedroom, his eyes were sparkling with what I assumed to be tears. I was surprised, I didn’t know he could cry, “I haven’t felt this way in a long time.”
I couldn’t talk, my voice was gone for the moment. My heart was racing, my body adjusting to the shock of surviving the attack. Bellamy set me down on the bed and took my hand in his. I squeezed his fingers, a thank you for saving my life. He gave me another one of those rare smiles.
“You give me hope,” he pushed my blonde hair behind my ear, “I thought I lost the ability to hope, but then I me you and all it took was one look into these blue eyes and I forgot everything I’ve ever done. I’m sorry.”
I smiled back at him, taking in gulps of air like they were the richest wine in the world. I put my hand against his cheek, “thank you,” my voice was strained.
Bellamy nodded, then stood up, “you should get some rest. I’ll find Raven and tell her you need her.”
I closed my eyes, suddenly exhausted from everything that had happened. I laid my head down on the pillow, listening to his footsteps leave the room. I couldn’t help but wonder what had changed, he had been ready to let them kill me. Then suddenly he was beating up his own guards to save my life. I couldn’t think about it too hard, because the minute I did I would forget why I was here.
I didn’t cry as I fell asleep, instead I dreamt of ropes and nooses, ready to save me from the nightmare I hadn’t prepared myself to step into.