The Circle of Wife

Prompt Day #279: In painstakingly close detail, appealing to all five senses, describe a rotting human head. When you reach the end, reveal the context for its appearance—one which sends the reader right back to the beginning.

I’m not sure if this meets the prompts request, but only one thing came to mind when I read it. I burrowed from history for this one.

The Circle of Wife


The buzzing from the flies burrowed into her ears, drowning out all other sounds. The number it would take to reach that volume was staggering to consider. She wondered, if she were any closer, could she hear the burrowing maggots wriggling through the necrotic flesh. Her presence disturbed the mass of feeding, breeding insects and in protest they swarmed her head. The beating of their wings stirred the stagnant air, bringing her whiffs of sour decay. Cloyingly thick, the smell spread through her respiratory tract like molasses, sticking in her nose and coating her palate. Her throat revolted with a spasm, refusing to allow anymore poisoned air to enter. She coughed—forcing an automatic inhale. She could taste it now, her head filled with the taste of another’s rotted head. Tears rolled down her cheeks.

Now, she was close, she could see the mindless expressions on what was left of the faces. Blackened lips drooping from mouths forced open by bloated tongues. Violaceous eyelids flattened over dehydrated eyeballs form frowns pulled by gravity against lax muscles. She could not imagine that once, these faces moved, expressed love, anger, happiness and fear. They didn’t seem real. On the oldest ones, flesh hung in drying strips, pulled loose by passing carrion feeders. She shuddered. Some sagged on the spike, its tip worked through the rot-weakened skull. Eventually, the head would slide to the ground with a thud, where it might break open like a watermelon, spilling a blackened pudding filled with writhing larvae.

She was forced to her knees in front of the large wooden block. An ergo dynamic curve cradled her neck, forcing her chin into flexion. She could no longer see the future, only smell it; a perfume that she too would wear in a matter of days. A fly lit upon her nose, tasting to see if she was ready. She blew out her last breath upward to shoo it away. The hum of its retreat was overcome by the whistle of the falling ax. Her last fleeting thought was to wonder what state her own head would be in when Henry grew tired of his next wife.