The clouds hung thick, like ashes smeared across the sky. Although it was midday, one would expect to see the silver disk of the moon emerge from behind the jagged peaks on the horizon.
In the foreground stood the tree, it's leafless limbs dangling like the folded fingers of a skeletal hand. One limb in particular bowed more than the others. This one, scarred with the wear of hemp, had been for many men, their last and final support. Below it's hunched mass, a wooden step could be found, it's leading edge scuffed with the heels of dying men.
A crow had perched itself just there, at the edge of the step; its feathers as black as the coarse marks left by hundreds of dark soles, from shoes of men with even darker souls.