Maive sat on a stool across from the prisoner. He was not the same man he was just days ago when he attacked her. When he…
She closed her eyes and tried not to think about it again. It was still too hard to face it.
The prisoner lay on the dirty floor behind thick steel bars. He wouldn’t make eye contact with Maive. She continued staring at him, wondering how a seemingly normal-looking man could do such a thing to another person. Lust was a petty excuse. Was it just a show of strength? To feel more powerful than someone else? Was he angry at someone else, and took it out on her?
Maive still didn’t know his name, and she didn’t want to know, but she agreed to exercise her right to confront her attacker. She didn’t know what would happen. She didn’t know what she would say.
She still didn’t know.
Finally the man looked back at her. His brown eyes, like hers, were not cold or full of malice. He was afraid.
“What have you decided?” he asked Maive.
“I haven’t,” Maive said after a moment.
The man sighed. “Just have them execute me and be done with it.” Maive thought she heard him whimper.
“You’d like that, wouldn’t you?” Maive’s voice started to rise. “To just die and not have to live with what… what you did to me.” She fought back any tears. She would not let him see any sort of weakness in her.
The man looked away again. Neither said anything for a few moments.
Finally, “Why?” Maive asked.
The man turned his eyes back. “Why what?”
“WHY?” she asked, firmer.
He shook his head and a tear fell to the ground. “Because you were there. I don’t even know why.”
Maive stood and kicked the stool away. She raised her hands and in each was was a colored scrap of cloth, one dyed red, the other yellow.
The man knew what it meant, and he sat up, watching. The watchmen came closer to witness her decision.
Her hands trembled. Then she dropped the yellow cloth to the ground. The prisoner buried his face in his hands.
“Are you sure?” a watchman asked Maive.
“He lives,” she said, brushing back her long brown hair, “and will remember forever.” She spit on the ground and stormed out from the jail.
(The word prompt today was “Confront.” Maive is a character from my book, By the Light of the Moons)