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Marie's Death

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It is only a matter of time before I am brought before the crowd. There are so many voices around me and at the same time there is a muted stillness, like time has stopped around me and I am the only one moving forward. Taking each step deliberately. I can hear my heart beating loudly as the anticipation of dying draws ever near.

Today is the day that I will die. I have known that the day would come for a while now but the thought of dying is not without consequence I fear. There is a lot in life that I would have done differently looking back on it. A lot that I wish I could have changed. Especially for my children. For my husband. For Oscar. And for Fersen.

Fersen…my eyes begin watering my cheeks as I think of the man I loved, that I still love even now. Even after everything that has happened.

Something strikes me in the back and I stumble forward a bit. I am not helped to my feet but instead barked at by the guard to get up. I am no defeatist and stand without any further prompting. I continue my steady march to the guillotine which glistens as the angle of the sun hits the blade just right.

I ascend the wooden steps strewn with blood from countless other victims of the revolution and am drawn back to thoughts about Oscar and how her valiant death left me in mourning for weeks. And of Rosalie, sweet Rosalie, who served me up until this very day. I long to feel Fersen’s warm embrace once more and to go back to a life when nothing bad happened and we could finally be happy together.

But such a life was impossible. As all of France was in turmoil. In the end, I had no choice…

I kneel before the wooden structure and say my final words. The crowd goes silent in anticipation—anticipation of my death.

As I lower my head to sit in the cradle of the guillotine I feel the pulsing of my heart beat slower, almost at a lull.


I close my eyes and stay still. Behind the darkness of my eyelids I can see Fersen smiling, offering his hand to me. I look up at him and take his hand in mine. The sound of the blade comes rushing above my head and my eyes stay closed as I whisper, “Fersen” one last time.