by Alexander Boyd
Sierra—her clan won’t surrender to surnames—caught executing her own justice against a shoplifter via voodoo, was burned at one in the afternoon on one of the January days between snowfalls. She lean back, strapped with thick twine, against a courtroom podium. Atop his plinth, sitting as though no conversation he’d ever held possessed any opportunity for stimulation, was the Honorable Warlock Lukas Cybele—a man with skin bleached by a life indoors and by continuous astonishment of the voodoo community’s repudiation of all things civil. It was his inhuman companion, a petite, troll-like, hairless being, who actually executed the burning, holding the blue flame of a butane lighter against her shins, the only part of her body he could reach without a step stool or climbing post.
The woman cringed, her clenched teeth and rotten gums visible to the self-restraining spectators, men, women, and androgynous figures of all ages who, toddlers included, leered with predatory lust. Two clumps of the appropriate onion and human bone marrow combination plugged Sierra’s nostrils like Play-Doh, a pungent and flexible deterrence meant to keep unmaterialistic voodoo within her. A cluster of moles on her shin charred and blurred with the reddened hue of her skin. Her chest heaved as the flame touched her kneecap, the epicenter of her voodoo power.
As the collective breath across the audience inhaled the last of the situation’s suspense, leaving a vapid impression on their slackened tongues, the miniature beast at Sierra’s feet flipped the lighter shut, and her physically compressed figure slumped within its bindings. The familiar returned to the overlooking warlock’s side, nestling around his acceptably geometric bone gavel as a dozen bystanders flocked to her post, clawed through the fraying twine, and grasped her conscious but purposeless body.
On the steps outside the courthouse, between two cylindrical pillars, a coven draped in matching, tattered garb impaled their pointed shoes through Sierra’s ribs and into her emaciated limbs long past her death. The shoplifter, now stricken with the face and snout of a mutt for his theft, was among them, biting through her barbequed leg with his carnivorous teeth.
Inside, Lukas Cybele slumped over his unstimulating fiend, wishing the creature would point out a purpose for his occupation and trying to dismiss the shrieks of delight from the model citizens outside.