New Story: Mary Queen of Scots

Mary Queen of Scots

By Carroll Ann Susco

I am curious as to why people worship royalty and stars. I would have liked nothing better than to have lived with my parents in a fishing village, or at least by the sea. But ideally, dad would have been a fisherman and mom and I would have baked bread and knitted sweaters by the hour in our quiet little house. I would go out to feed the chickens and the horses and the ox. We would have a pet rabbit that slept at the foot of my bed and made little rabbits that danced around the yard and that mom tapped with the broom when they got underfoot as she swept the rubble away and we would have loved our homes and not wanted to leave Scotland ever. It would have been our solace and people free from tyranny, hunger, and Queen Elizabeth.

What did I do in my cell for 18 years before she found a way to execute me safely? I dreamed of another life. A fishing village. The sheep herder who would come with his son to visit. He would trade lamb for fish and my father would gut them with care. The boy would follow me out as I went to look at the sea and he would stare at me instead of the blue and he would say my eyes were like water and my hair like lamb’s wool and my hands small treasures he wished only to hold.

I picked out names for our children. One I would name Maria and she would be a poet with long red hair over her shoulder and against such pure fair skin. I lost my father when I was 6 days old. Our children would not lose Joseph, my sheepherding faithful hearted truth loving husband. And my parents would grow old and come stay with us and it would be a house full of love.

Scotland would be socialist, run by all and all in agreement. France would have been a democracy. The last royalty, in England, Queen Elizabeth, would have died of constipation.

The day of my execution I stopped dreaming and said: Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on Earth, as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil for thine is the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory forever, Amen. In the name of your son, Christ, who died for our sins and who I hope redeems me too because I can’t stomach spending eternity with Queen Elizabeth. I can’t forgive her for my unborn Maria, a poet I think. Yes. Maria will find the words to make it all right. God, is that you? My soul feels lighter. God? Holy Ghost? I’m being embraced I think by an angel. Thank you.

I kneeled before the chopping block and rested my head on stone. It was cold.

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