Her word was a minuscule spark in a vast ocean of shouting men. None but the old farmer and the seamstress, sitting to her right and to her left on the pew, noticed that a sound had crossed her lips. The ones occupying the dais seemed beyond all reach.
“If we cut him, he’ll lose too much blood to stay conscious,” the head of the council said. “He burned our barn, we will burn him until he reveals where the rest of his horde is hiding.”
She raised a hand. The farmer and the seamstress did the same. The council failed to see them.
“Burning is as bad as cutting.” The security chief was red in the face. “He might get an infection before we get what we need from him. Partial drowning will break—”
The council began to quiet, until it was completely silent. Not because they had heard her voice, but because she had left the back of the room, walked past the landowners, past the merchants, past the families of the councilmen, and was now standing next to the metal folding chair that held the gagged prisoner. Four others had followed her to the front.
“This is council business, my dear woman.” The head of the council smiled. “I’m sure—”
Whatever he was sure of was consumed by a united, “No!” that got louder and louder as the people that made her small village continued to chant their outrage.
Her spark was now ablaze in the hearts of her neighbors.
The man on the folding chair would pay for the arson. But there would be no torture. Her people were better than that, even if a handful of old men had made them forget for a time.
a wee note…
– Every now and again, the news oozes into my fiction and I don’t fight the intrusion.
– Linked to Sanaa’s Prompt Nights (Belief is the ignition switch that gets you off the launching pad), and to The Twiglet #8 (“folding chair”).
She is way more intense than the character in the tale. I just couldn’t resist Chandra Ablaze.