The black night hangs over the assembled townspeople, like the man at the gallows soon will. No moonlight plays over his quaking form - only the dull glow of a single torch. To his right the sheriff and his deputy stand, impassive, unfeeling. On the other side a figure is hunched in shadow. As the torch flame plays across him he steps back, hiding his face.
“Please!” the convict shrieks, taking a step toward the sheriff, “I don’t want to die! I don’t want to die! I didn’t know she was in the barn - it was just an accident, I was drunk, I -”
The deputy darts forward and clubs him with a truncheon, knocking him senseless - but not unconscious. He stumbles back, leaning dazed against the L-beam of the gallows.
The sheriff glances toward him, nods once to the deputy, and begins to read in a minister’s crow:
“For the murder of Janice Armington on the night of April 4th, 1852, Henry Armington has been sentenced to death by hanging. The se