This time the condemned was a young woman, barely 18, with a lean, hard body, small but well formed breasts, a cute face, and lovely hair.
How many crucifixions had it been?
He couldn't remember. Couldn't count. Dozens, well over a hundred during the 5 years he had spent in Gaul. And those were the ones he had done personally, himself. If you counted ones he had observed, it would be more like a thousand.
Every one was unique, just a little different. A different person, a different body in a different condition. Some came to him almost dead by the time he stretched them out and nailed them, others were barely touched, healthy, fully aware of what was happening to them.
The girl was begging. The words didn't matter, it was begging, entreating him for her life, to not put her on the cross. She might be offering her body to him, which was not uncommon when the victim was a woman.
Every one was the same. Begging. Crying out for mercy. Sobs, morphing to screams as the nails went in. Shock setting in from the pain, humiliation from the nakedness. Then screams again as they were lifted, and the long, slow ordeal toward death.
He had resorted to varying little things when he nailed them up. The body position could be changed; perhaps bending the knees a little more, or stretching the legs out straight. He had once tried stretching a condemned tightly, nailing his extremities wide so there was no room for sag or movement.That had turned out poorly, the man had died in less than an hour. Usually is was better to give some bend to the knee to allow for struggle, shifting weight, and to push up to relieve strain on the arms and chest.
The best position was with arms nailed not straight out, but slightly closer together. This caused the victim to lean forward as they hung, which always improved the appearance of their struggle. It also provided more room for them to push themselves up, pulling and straining to reach the upright position, only to collapse when the pain in the feet became too much, or weakness overcame them.
This girl continued begging, struggling against the guards as they held her down on her cross. Her cross, he liked to think of it. It was the last thing that she would possess in life. Her last home. He positioned her right arm at the exact correct location to create strain when she hung and then drove the nail in. The angle was perfect. Just a slight outward angle to keep from slipping off; the girl had good arms, too and the spike had gone through just above the wrist. The bones there would hold nicely.
Sometimes he used larger spikes; especially on smaller bodies, like hers. Their size would spread more flesh and was wide enough to impact, shatter and pulverize the arm and wrist bones. That was another variation he had played with, but in this girl's case, the classic position was best. He wanted her to survive as long as possible.
Then there was the sedile. He had heard of it from a Centurion passing through a few years back, and wondered why he hadn't thought of it himself. It provided quite a bit of variety for a while and was the most interesting and successful of all the variants he had played with.
The sedile could be a small wood stick driven into the stipes, just long enough the condemned could find it useful to support weight. If it was thin enough, and angled correctly, it ended up jammed inside the poor victim's rectum, which didn't help them much. A wider sedile would provide more support, and served to prolong the life of the condemned.
He had experimented with simple iron spikes protruding from the stipes for a while. It tended to rip and tear between the condemned's legs, they lost a lot of blood and while very painful tended to bring death more quickly. A larger wooden rod, or even a flat piece of wood could provide better support and actually prolong life, and thus the torture.
The sedile was the most fun with a female. The challenge was to get a thin enough of a rod that it would impale the girl, penetrating their female parts. To do that, you had to get the angle just right, but it could be done. He had loved seeing some of his female victims as they struggled, lifting themselves up, the narrow round phallus of the sedile pulled out of their vagina, only to plunge in deep again when their strength gave out and they sagged down.
For this girl there would be no sedile. Later, perhaps tomorrow, after she had hung free for a day, he might nail a heavy spike just below her female parts. It would help keep her from suffocating too quickly, but would also penetrate and shred inside her holes.
The placement and angles of the nails were also fun to play with, but he had learned the hard way to stick with some tried and true methods. Nailing directly through the hands was not a good idea; even if the condemned didn't try to rip their hands away, the sheer weight of their body sagging down could dislodge them. He stopped trying that after one victim ended up hanging by one hand, twisted around and screaming, and the weight on the remaining hand had ripped the nail right through the remaining flesh and bone and the body had fallen to the ground, hands and feet horribly mangled. They had simply run that condemned through with a sword to finish him off. A botched execution.
No, the standard way was best for the wrists. Nails carefully positioned at the base of the hand, right on the wrist. Drive through at a slight angle to prevent the arm from slipping off the nail by accident.
He had also played with the more traditional method of nailing the feet one on top of each other. Two often the knees bent and came together, effectively covering and hiding the genitals, and he was a firm believer the condemned should show their genitals for anyone wishing to see.
The current victim smiled up at him from where she lay on the cross. No, not a smile, a grimace. Even in pain she looked incredibly cute, very young and pretty. He decided he would nail her ankles to the sides of the stipes, to spread her legs reliably.
He had always enjoyed crucifying women more than men, even though there were more men to be executed. The occasional woman was a treat. They tended to live longer, probably because their lighter frame meant less weight, and perhaps because women were just hardier than men. The women also didn't seem to be scourged as horribly as most of the men, so they were stronger when the nails went in and they were raised up for public viewing.
This girl had not been scourged at all. Quite rare. It meant she would survive a long time on the cross, several days he hoped. It was one reason he was taking care in his positioning of her. The maximum pain, the maximum survival time, the best exposure.
Getting the placement of the wrists on the patibulum just right was critical for women, because if you had the correct angle they hung forward, and that made their breasts dangle slightly. He had truly enjoyed one of his first female executions, a young woman with especially large breasts. The nails had been positioned perfectly and she had hung forward, her back a foot or two away from the stipes, her breasts wobbling and bouncing as she struggled and coped with the agony.
He had changed the shape of the cross when he had the materials. In general, that didn't matter much, except for the X shaped cross which provided the ability to force the condemned's legs wide apart. That was fun for a while because he liked looking at the genitals dangling out there, but he had been instructed not to use that cross. Apparently the condemned didn't suffer as much on an X shaped cross, and it took them too long to die for the official's liking.
Another variation was nailing the condemned so they faced the cross. This technique provided some amusement, but he only did it once with a male, and once with a female. The problem was that too many people (including himself) wanted to see the front of the victim and didn't like having the stipes in the way.
He had seen someone else use an inverted cross, and he thought they got it all wrong. The victim's arms had been nailed above them, and their legs spread wide to the patibulum below. While interesting, that just didn't seem right to him.
If the cross was to be inverted, then the victim should be inverted as well. He actually enjoyed doing this occasionally. The last woman he had crucified had been done upside down. Seeing her breasts sag up, toward her head, was interesting. The disorientation of being inverted, and extra blood pressure pounding in the head probably increased the overall discomfort.
But an inverted crucifixion was harder to get right; the knees had to be bent properly to make sure the victim's weight was still on their arms and wrists. Also, there was little struggling when inverted; victims just sort of hung there, and died faster.
A special treat for those crucified upside down was that their face could be positioned in a very accessible location. So, the mouth could be forced open and his cock inserted. He found this to be the most satisfying reason for an inverted crucifixion; the ability to rape the victim's mouth while they hung. Care had to be taken that they did not bite down, but this was usually easily arranged.
But, inverted crucifixion was not allowed by the current commander, except in special cases. So, this girl lay on the wooden cross, arms spread wide, stipes stretching below her, ready to be hauled up into the hanging position, on public display.
She had stopped screaming and was simply sobbing. He always liked how women looked on the cross; their bodies stretched, flesh tight over the bone, showing every breath they took.
Time to lift her up. The ropes were tied and several men grabbed the patibulum and began lifting. The girl rose into the air, still sobbing.
A hole had been dug, a good three foot hole to provide some stability to the cross.
One thing he liked to change a lot was the height of the cross. Sometimes the cross was up high, well above a man's head. The condemned body could be seen by all, it was on display like a trophy. People could see the victim's struggles from 500 feet away, or more. This was good with criminals that everyone wanted to see, when there was high interest in the execution.
It was perhaps the most humiliating, to be placed on high, hanging where all could see.
But this girl was crucified close to the ground. There was something to be said for a short stipes, which kept the criminal close to the ground, the body close and accessible to those around it. The victim was no higher than those around her, and the observers of her agony could see every shift of weight, every breath, every bit of drool. Best of all, people could touch the victim. Slide their hands over her body, Stand close and have a conversation. Such intimate proximity added to the torment.
When the stipes slid into the hole, it jerked to a stop, yanking the girl's body down to a sudden halt as her weight was stopped by the nails in her wrists. This was always the starting point of the real agony, the true crucifixion torment. This part never changed, that scream when the victim's body was suddenly jerked to a stop in the hanging position.
This girl was no different. She screamed, a long scream that ended in a gut wrenching gurgle. Because of her low position, he was standing right next to her, observed the expansion of her chest, the rise in her breasts, the stomach muscles contracting as she pushed the air out of her lung to perform the scream.
Now they would wait.
She would wait. Wait for death. Beg for death, really, though begging never helped. The whole idea was that death on the cross was not quick; it was a long, drawn out agony to be observed by all the populace as a warning.
If you wanted a victim to die fast, you left them in the sun, gave them nothing. If you wanted the victim to suffer and maybe die faster, you gave them wine-- this dehydrated them. Soak a rag in the liquid and offer it to them. Often they were so thirsty it didn't matter it was wine; the condemned would suck it down. Then of course their mouth would shrivel and the thirst ten times worse. They could never get enough wine down to get them drunk, dull the pain.
He liked to give water. A rag soaked in water. The victim usually thanked him, or at least said nothing, just bit on the rag and sucked.
It wasn't a kindness. Giving a condemned water could keep them alive, hanging in torment, for another day, even two days. It prolonged the process.
This girl would get water. He wanted to see how long she lived, and watch her while she clung to life while suffering.
She was in place now, hanging in the sun. He always had them facing the sun; stripped as they were, naked, the victims would burn. The sun burned their flesh, sweated the moisture out of them. This girl was already sweating, her entire body glistening. The sweat was part of what would kill her; for the more she sweated, the less water her body had. When she stopped sweating she would be close to death.
He might splash a bucket of water on her then, to cool her down, keep her alive for a few more hours.
The nails in her wrists drew no blood; a couple of trickles had dried in the sun. Her ankles and feet were swollen, distended and black from the broken bones caused by the nails. Her legs were apart, her knees perhaps a foot and a half separated, making it easy to see her genitals.
He reached out and touched them. She gasped and turned her head away, humiliated by her exposure and his touch.
This one would last three days, he thought. With care, he had done it right. He would enjoy watching this one die.