In a Prior Life
For an act both noble and reckless, on a promontory in the far southwest, in the time of Cromwell, my wrists were bound tightly together behind a wooden post with thin straplets of raw leather. (Rubber did not yet exist, except as a white sap that bled from the trees in the Amazon and in the land that we know now as Indonesia.)
My executioners -- there were three of them -- bore heavy crossbows and wore metal helmets hung with mail to better disguise their faces.
Someone -- I know not who -- shouted out that I must "Take [My] Punishment Like a Manne!" The core personality on display being the same as the one that I carry today, this could never be possible. I squirmed against the post like a maggot, and my bowels turned to mush. The crowd -- including children in the crowd -- accordingly lost all respect for me in my last hour.
And then the heavy-headed arrows flew. And then, as the book foretells, my soul was finally "unclenched."