I throw another log on the fire and watch the sparks fly up into the night air, joining the billion stars above.
Standing there, just breathing in the heavy scent of burning flesh and remembering how he screamed.
The fire sits in the middle of an empty field surrounded by thick trees. The Autumn wind is blowing and scattering the dead leaves all around. Some have gathered in small piles and I happily kick them towards the glowing pyre as I hear laughter behind me. My friends are racing towards me in their car and I laugh as I turn back to take in the glorious spectacle.
The large stake at the center of the inferno was burned black as the flames continued to lick the now charred corpse hanging limply from it. You couldn’t even recognize any of his features anymore. He had struggled quite a bit and it took all of them finally to tie him down. One of my friends suggested knocking him out, maybe with a hammer, but I said no. I wanted him completely aware during his experience. He had wronged my Sister and now he had to pay for it…so why not make a party out of it? And besides, who would miss him?
I am suspicious when my sister texts me to ask me to pick up some beer and a snack on my way out to her secluded little hidey-hole. She rarely, if ever, drinks beer. I agreed of course, demanding those bitches be ready and snicker to myself when I read her extremely crude response. The girls are going to love this shit. The old woman glares at me from the driver’s seat of her 1977 Ford pickup and I pop the finger and squeal off as soon as the light turns green. That piece of crap was still puttering through the light when I blew the next one. What else can you expect from a Ford, no matter the age?
I arrive at her place with a car full of women, a trunk full of beer, snack and my camping kit. A girl just can’t be out in the forest without her equipment. There was no way I was traipsing through the orchard in these boots and dragging snacks behind me no matter how much whining they were doing. Fuck that. I would drive up to the fire pit in my car.
She sees me barrel-assing towards her and waves, dropping the axe on the ground and dusting her hands on the thighs of her jeans. Good. I would need her help to unload. Positive that the suspension in my pretty little car will be shot to shit at this rate and the beer would probably explode before we get to drink it, I cringe as I hear it jostling around in the back and rev the engine harder. The girls are laughing like maniacs at the litany of curses I was expounding. We bounce and I hit my head on the roof, and I let loose another explicative string of profanity that causes silence in the vehicle and that makes my sister clutch her belly in laughter when she hears me from the open window. No one had ever said that I didn’t have a colourful vocabulary.
The leaves blow and rattle like bones around my ankles when I jump from my Beast to give her a hug. The breeze has the slightest edge of winter on its breath, and the girls shiver slightly. It will be the perfect night for a fire. “Beer?” she inquires, her eyes focused on my trunk with hunger and I know its not the beer she wants but the snacks. I toss her the keys and she pops the trunk, stepping back with a gasp and a smile. I brought extra.
It was like she read my mind. I couldn’t help but stifle a guffaw at the sight of them…bound, gagged & practically lifeless, but not quite. Not yet anyway. All my sisters gathered ’round, practically drooling at the buffet in front of us & helped in getting them out of the car. I’d spent part of the afternoon arranging a sort of makeshift grill over one end of the pit where we could enjoy our dinner but not get too scorched ourselves. Food was always best when it was fresh so waited until they were a bit more lively before we began.
My Sister, our appointed leader, had picked up my axe and stood in front of the man who was struggling on the ground. She used it to push him onto the grates and as his skin started to bubble she shoved the woman up next to him. I smiled at her as we watched their skin blacken, took her hand and spun her around as we all began to dance around the blaze, singing at the top of our lungs.
Oh how I loved our girls night.
**Girls Night is a collaboration between Carolyn Graham and Melanie McCurdie
pick up a copy of Carolyn’s new book on Amazon available in paperback and for Kindle
check out Melanie’s page on Amazon to pick up her amazing work…all available in paperback and for Kindle