The Harlot’s Happy Lot

She is caught up and tossed down into dusty streets. Her vision flares in the sun and there are throaty shouts on every side, garbled and vicious. She clutches a thin sheet up and over her shoulders, hiding her body from eyes. She is not very old yet and she is confused and she does not want to cry and she is so very scared.

They had snatched her, minutes ago, from a man whose name she did not know – she had learned early on to not ask her men for their names or ask them any questions at all if it could be helped. So she had not asked any questions and had simply done whatever he told her to do. In the middle of the whole business, the door had been forced, suddenly and split inwards and before she could collect her thoughts to lie or fight, she had been yanked out of bed by hot, hairy arms, slicked with sweat. Hauled out into the silent and impassive sun.

“Adultery!” Some are Pharisees, she thinks, and some have been customers, but most are just men. There is a lusty fever in their shouts, an eagerness to prove their indignation with blood. “Adultery! Stone the adulteress!” She is in a heap, with dry dirt swirling up around her, and she’s staring at the ground. Doors flap open and heads poke out for this most irresistible of religious ceremonies: the public execution. Mob behind. Crowds flanking. All that remains, she knows, is someone to judge. (more…)

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