I know, I cheated, but I have written a great flash fiction for Chuck’s challenge this week. I rolled superhero, occult detective, with forbidden love and a pool of blood. This is what I got…
“You would burn me at the stake, Gideon? You would kill me in such a crude way? The cousin of your king?” The Dutchess of Armour spat from behind old silver bars. Her usually pink and beautifully maintained hands went sheet white while gripping at the barrier between herself and Sir Gideon of Myr.
“My king values order. My king demands justice, madam!” Sir Gideon leaned forward at the bar.
“Gideon,” She licked her lips and chuckled, putting on a chiding look, “you think me a witch? A witch? I mean, really, isn’t that what poor fools think about when their crops go bad? Witchcraft is the game for twelve year-old girls. I’m a woman, Gideon. You know that.” She pressed her full body against the bar, the fullness of her bosom, barely covered by the ornate purple corset she’d been wearing, began emerging between the bars.
Her captor looked at her with a longing that flashed for only the blink of an eye. How many times had his cheek found sweet refuge upon that ample bosom? His longing turned to anger. “I can’t believe you did this to me, Alice,” He whispered.
“You cannot be serious. I saved that girl tonight. Those men would have torn her to pieces!” It was her turn to be hurt.
“How long have you been doing this? ‘Saving little girls from the lecherous hands of men?’ Flying them to safety with not so much as a wing? Moving objects with a single wave of your hand? Throwing a man thrice your size into the air?” Gideon paced the room, unwilling to look at his prisoner.
Alice put a hand to her hip, “Didn’t realize I was so powerful when you had me pinned beneath you, hm?”
“How long have you been terrorizing this community, Lady?” Gideon demanded as calmly and he could muster.
“How long have men been raping women in this kingdom and getting away with it? How long have you and other law men been looking the other way while we’ve suffered?” Alice mirrored his intensity.
“Are there other witches like you? Do you use the organs of your victims to gain your powers? The hearts and phallus of each man were missing—do you use them for rituals?”
“Oh yes, we make beautiful broaches with them. Phallic skins also make wonderful garters,” She laughed heartily.
Gideon slammed his body against the bars, snarling, “My men have been out there searching for cannibals, Alice! Rumors of sacrifice and desecration of bodies for worship of pagan gods have been circulating for months now! We thought that if it wasn’t pagans then it was man-eating beasts! You left mangled bodies all over the woods!”
“And now you know that they were men praying on girls as they went about their washing, their errands, their worship! And yet I am about to be burned at the stake!”
“You tore a man in twine, Alice!” Gideon screamed. He grabbed at Alice’s face, gripping her jaw in his hands. “You are a monster. You left a man in pieces, in a pool of blood larger than ever seen in this city. You caused panic where there was order, fear where there was trust, and you’ve decimated my credibility as an officer, as a gentleman!”
Alice jerked her head out of the man’s grip, and spat in his face. He scowled, disgusted by such an unfeminine gesture. “It’s always about you, Gideon. You aren’t listening to me. Girls were being violated in this town. Men were hunting them for sport. I have had the power to stop the carnage and I’ve used it. We’re a safer community now!”
“You, my dear lady, are a beast! You’ve desecrated the laws of man by pronouncing yourself judge, jury and executioner upon men traveling through our community. You’ve violated the laws of God by harnessing some unholy power to project yourself through the air and summon unhuman powers. If you aren’t a witch, you’re a beast, and either way, you must be expelled from this world.”
“So that’s it, then? No trial? You all are just going to kill me in the morning?”
“By the king’s command,” he pulled out the rolled paper with the royal seal and signature, presenting it with great gravitas. “You are hereby condemned to die by fire.”
“You are a man of letters, Gideon. There are laws in this kingdom. Trials!”
“You are a woman and you are a witch. There are no trials for you,” Gideon spat. “Half of the city watched you fly through town this evening. The other half saw you rip the butcher’s arm clear off of his body. There is nothing that can save you.”
Alice took a few steps back in her tiny cell. She folded her hands and placed them upon her forehead before letting out a wail that reverberated through the entire room. Gideon placed his hands over his ears, his screams for help drowned out from Alice’s continuous wailing and sobs.
Eventually, she ran out of energy, crumbling onto the floor, her back toward her captor. Her beautiful purple gown becoming instantly filthy with straw, dust and dung. She shuddered with continuing sobs.
Gideon straightened in triumph. He looked at the curvature of Alice’s body, heartbroken that he would never touch it again. He turned away without a word and strode out of the prison.
He half expected Alice to have escaped from her cell, but at sunrise, she was still there, waiting.
“Good morning, love,” She said with a smile.
“Prisoner, the time is now for you to face justice,” Gideon announced for the benefit of the guards around him. They tenuously stepped forward, taking the woman by the arms and marching her out of the building. The prison stood at the edge of town and so it would be a long march to her pyre.
The town square was filled with many in town. The men cheering and leering, the women silent or sobbing. Alice put up no resistance as rocks and food were thrown at her, Gideon pushing through the crowd, ever closer to her death. He tied the ropes that bound her to the stake himself. As he leaned in close to check a knot, he gave her a parting kiss on the cheek. Alice stared through him as he looked at her eyes one last time.
Gideon presented the prisoner, read the sentence and then set fire to the pyre. Alice stared at him with an unwavering power as the flames roared and the crowd jeered. When the fires finally licked at her feet, Alice looked up to the sky and let out a scream that surpassed the volume of the crowd. She struggled ever so slightly, and the ropes gave way. As she flew away, to the astonishment of the gathered crowd, Gideon allowed himself a flash of a moment of relief.