It took only one blow, one sharp cut of the French sword, and my existence, dead and gone. I felt almost nothing, just a burning touch of a blade and then. All went dense and black for me, but for a few seconds, I could hear the whispers of the crowd, screams of horror. I smelled the rancid scent of my own blood. Then it was nothing, just silence until I started to feel again. I started to see a blur that slowly became steady and clear as the sunlight. I felt so light, so peaceful — no pain, no sorrow. At the same, I felt empty, like a bird without wings that wishes to fly but is stuck to the ground. I started to see my own death after it happened. I thought it was the end, but no.
There I was, lying on the scaffold, blood flowing, slowly starting to clot — my body severely damaged, my head covered in straw and blood. I saw my ladies trying to give some dignity, covering my remains, mixing their tears with the mess of my cruel depart. I saw the man who took my life amazed by the scene he was well paid to create. Is that sadness, regret, what I see in his eyes? ‘Tis funny. I do not know if I am still somehow alive or if this is some kind of purgatory on earth — or it is just that I cannot leave this world because I never wanted to. Even, when I prepared myself for this day and this moment, I wanted to live. I am innocent. I was betrayed as I betrayed before, condemned as I did with others — tormented, abandoned, mistreated and hurt like I did with other for my own sake, for my survival. Now I regret it all. I think I always did. I never embraced those feelings. After all, for a long time, I was the “most happy”.
People slowly retire, the show is over. The Queen is dead. Soon another will wear the crown and reign alongside the magnificent King Henry the VIII. And yet, I am still there, laying on the scaffold, guarded by maids who honestly cry for me. I started to hear sounds again, living sounds, the roar of the crows. Mixed with the gentle music of the early birds, it is a beautiful morning. How can I feel all this when there is no more life on me? What kind of divine punishment is this? I cannot find the light. It hurts to witness all, to hear the echoes of the end of my own life, to see myself so diminished, destroyed, incomplete, in body and soul. Are they going to keep me here, no respects even in death? Will the King order to leave my body to rot for all to see? Does he want to hurt me even in death?
I wish I could look away. The pain, I can feel it. This desire of being seen, I want them to feel me/ I am not gone as he wanted. I am still here. I still feel the sorrow of my love for him, the agony of my remorse, the pain of not have her in arms, my sweet and loving Elizabeth. Where are you now my darling girl? Are you aware of your mother’s death? God, if you want me to wander here as punishment for my sins, for my arrogance and all my mistakes, at least, give me license to guide her, to give her strength now that she needs it the most. Allow me to be close to her, even when I know she will not see me nor feel me. I know she will hear awful things about me, but please I beg you, my Lord, let me be that whisper that assures her that there are all lies. That I was never unfaithful to her father the King, that I was not a witch, nor part of an incest abomination.
Let me be a breath of maternal love in her dark hours, in her days of sickness, in her days if joy. Allow me to watch her grow, to be the silent ghost that follows her steps, the unseen voice that cheers her up in her days of weakness. Even if she does not know it is me, I will be content that even in death I can give her my love, my blessing, and my protection. To honor her as my daughter, as I should have done since the moment of her birth, is my greatest wish. Desiring a son for him was a mistake. It was a selfish desire. I already got my pride and joy in my sweet red-haired girl. Elizabeth, I believe that is you the knot that holds my spirit here, my love for you, the unfulfilled desire to watch you grow and become Queen of England. In all splendor, in all the grace of your blood and name — my Elizabeth, my heart, the purest part of my soul. I hope your father does not continue his hate towards me in you.
I know he declares you a bastard like he did with Mary, but I hope his veins claim that your blood is his, and with that keep you in his eyes and in his heart for what you are, his daughter, the fruit of the love we once swore to each other. And in kindness, I wish the same for your eldest sister. I understand now, I feel for her now. Maybe her hate and anger towards me keep me here too. What I did to her is something hard to forgive. I was blinded by my love for the King and my desire for the crown. I saw her as an enemy, when she was only a victim, like her mother, like my daughter, like my brother, my family and myself. My blood marks the end of that story, but not the end of my path.
Dead and gone I am, at least in a visible form I am, but I am still here. Finally, the order is given. they found a place for my bloody remains. I am so sorry for my maids, the gore task of carrying me to my final resting place, the stains on their clothes, the tears. Is it pity? Is it love for their former Queen? It does not matter, they are crying for me, and for sure they will pray for my soul. Maybe, these humble ladies will help me find my way to peace, even if decide to never leave this place, at least, I wish to find peace.
I am no more, just remains of what once was exotic beauty, charm, and amusement, the lust of a King, the black crow of my enemies. Soon my existence will be erased from this Kingdom, and he will replace me in his bed, with her, the pale girl I thought so insignificantly, but who managed to destroyed me masterfully. Perhaps she thinks she is safe, but she better pray God for a son, because if she fails as I did, she will probably end up like me.
There they go, towards the chapel. All is so quiet now, no more whispers, mourning silence prospers. I cannot recover any memory of what just happened. All went black, no pain, no sorrow, only this sensation of heavy emptiness, I feel so lost now. I move as light as the wind. I can follow their steps towards the chapel. They do not even feel. It is hard to understand that you no longer belong to life, and yet, I am still holding on. I am no more, but I can see them. I can feel and even feel my own pain. There, I am at rest now. Ironic, I, that once rested on sheets with gold embroidery and silks, I do it now in an arrow chest, with my head tucked underneath my arm. This is how Henry the VIII honors the death of her second wife, the one he sent to die knowing she was innocent. I, for all eternity, shall lay in an unmarked grave in an arrow chest.
Henry, I wonder where is he now? He is not here I know, what is left of my senses feels his absence. I want to see him. I have the ridiculous hope that he will shed a tear for me, that somehow, he regrets my death. I follow the breeze. I move with it and then, here I am, the world of the ghosts and the world of the living are entwined indeed. He is there, with her, showing her love and affection, making to her the same promises he made to me, do you really love her Henry? How can you love her after everything we were, after all I gave to you? Is this also my punishment, to witness your union with her? Jane Seymour, she may give you a son, but I feel that your desire male heir will not give you the glory you wish. Now that I am like this, I can see a shadow in those girl’s eyes, she is not strong as she pretends to be, neither she is docile. She knows how the game goes, with the difference that she understands the limits, something I did not manage to accept.
My blood is still warmth on my grave and he kisses her as if I never existed in his life. There are my enemies, celebrating my execution, happy that I am not around anymore and planning the coming wedding. A new Queen will rise upon the blood of the innocent one that lays now on a cold ground. My spirit is here Henry, I am close to you and Elizabeth will always be the evidence of the love we had, you cannot deny it. I do not need to be felt by you, I do not want it. Elizabeth will do that for me, she has my eyes, when you look at them you will see me.
I will stay, I will wander, to see my daughter, to see my enemies, to see this realm prosper or fail according to God’s will. I am no more in flesh, but, I am still here, in spirit, in Elizabeth, in the truth that sent me to an unjust death, in those who loved me and will fight to clean my name in history, in sonnets, in poems. I feel it is how will be. I want to hold on to it. I am dead but not gone, never gone.
Mercy Rivera is a popular short deep introspection fiction and non-fiction history writer composing in both English and Spanish. Mercy is also well known for her beautifully crafted historically themed videos. Mercy’s blog “Hall of Crowns” is hosted here at Queenanneboleyn.com. A founding member of Queenanneboleyn.com, Mercy’s contributions to the website are prolific. Mercy and her life partner Luis reside in Texas.
Mercy Rivera es un escritor de ficción histórica de ficción corta popular que compone en inglés y español. La misericordia también es bien sabido para sus videos themed históricamente maravillosamente hechos a mano. El blog de Mercy “Salón de las Coronas” se encuentra aquí en Queenanneboleyn.com. Miembro fundador de Queenanneboleyn.com, las contribuciones de Mercy al sitio web son prolíficas. Mercy y su compañero de vida Luis residen en Texas.