The Soul’s Plume


He quickly raises his stick and brings it crashing down again on the victim with a loud thud, smashing his victim’s cheek bone, creating a bloody crypt on the side of his face, as his victim’s face recoils from the blow, smashing against the cement and back against the unshaven wood. His victim lays still, his face bruised and distorted with sanguine swelling, his eyes now drooping from the socket, nose pouring blood and mucous, lips edematous with a glimpse of the wretched edges of what is remaining of his incisors peering through under a pool of slimy body secretions. His attacker’s face is also covered in a mist of blood entangled with sweat from the ever panging heat of the Saharan sun. Heaving, he raises his arm to wipe his face with his sleeve. The crowd is livid and urges him on. Today he is their appointed messenger of Justice, the emissary of vengeance. And he moves to exact justice as though it were his God-appointed duty.

“ Not again! Why are they doing this. We have to call the police. We have to stop this! ”
“Some flames cannot be controlled, only left to die out.”

The victim lays languid on the ground. Clothes ravaged, limbs spread out and lifeless, falling ever closer to his inevitable repose. There is no care for his cause. He is but another sacrifice to tame the incendiary ire.

“He’s not going to survive this”
“No. They seldom do.”

The man steps back from his victim, inspecting his work, his nose flaring, veins throbbing and muscles glistening with sweat. He gives his other compatriots a chance to have a go at his victim. They hurl blows one after the other, leaving no part of his anatomy devoid of injury.

The emissary of vengeance disappears behind the crowd while his partners continue to litigate the situation. They now begin embroidering the victim with circles of leather from his legs up to his neck. Soon enough he reappears a few minutes later with a pole in hand. The head of the stick is blazing with a steady flame. There is silence now as he moves slowly through the crowd back to the center stage.

In the interim, the clouds now move to obscure the sun from illuminating what had lain concealed, transmogrifying the crowds’ faces, revealing the true nature of their thirst that was previously shadowed by the brilliance of the sun. Their faces say it all. The message is lucid. There will be no reprieve. His final judgment has come.

“ Oh my goodness! They are going to kill him.”
“ Yes. The pinnacle of their catharsis.”

The leader returns to his position but now steps before a leather pyre. Another advocate steps beside him with his own flame and together they begin to douse their victim in sheets of an inferno, tugging him ever further into the shadow of death. Starting from the wheels at his feet moving slowly to those at his neck. The flames grow ecstatic at their new meal.

There is silence. A moment of exhalation, but not release. The clouds agglomerate as if in requiem. The thick pitch dark smoke rises in a plume that can be seen a mile away. Like the soul making its final ascent.

“What have these monsters done?
How can this be just?”

“Order is but a temporary state antecedent to chaos.
For since there was man there has been anarchy
A propensity for violence.
Incinerating the scaffold of morals that uphold society.
The daily mundanities in the so behooved tableau of civility
For you see.
These are the monsters of nightmares
The creatures hiding in plain sight over the bed while it’s shadow lies in wait underneath
Ever waiting for an opportunity to be unleashed.
The enticing poison apple echoing deception
The idiosyncrasy and disposition that is man
And though man’s mind has been pervaded with the fallacy of another’s culpability
It is no doubt it’s own master and it’s own slave.
And as I stand here amongst them watching the sky mourn with smoke.
Standing as I have stood countless of times with the greats and the impoverished.
I fathom at the ever daunting scene.
Staring as the crowd disperse
Staring as the smoke dissipate
Staring as the ashes form.”


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