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“May they be cast into the fire, into deep pits from which they cannot rise.” Called Mary and her husband in unison as if possessed by some inhuman force.
The Stranger and Astarte were tied up to a long pole each in the town square atop of a collection of sticks and straw that had been clumsily entwined together into a platform for the pair. Beside the pyre to be was a fire pit. The couple had been joined with a crowd of townsfolk of various ages; men, women and children. They had been tied to their individual poles by a burly man, with a stubble but no hair on his head and he also had grey dead eyes and clearly more muscle and fat than brains. He was dressed in all black from head to toe, his shirt and pants were large but didn’t quiet entirely contain his gut or buttocks, slipping a little, up and down respectively.
“What’s it with you people and bible quotes?” Queried Astarte.
“Heathens and blasphemers would try to tarnish the words of the Lord, but we must remain faithful.” Retorted Mary’s husband.
“Yeah, yeah, fire and brimstone, that old chestnut. Anyway, I don’t think we’ve been formally introduced to you, or your brutish friend here for that matter.”
“Anders Annalee and this is the Slayer. No body knows what his name is, I’m not sure even he does. You see he mainly communicates in grunts.”
As if on que the Slayer grunts and mumbles words that sound like ‘kill’ and ‘fire’.
“Intelligent fellow I see. Is he always this talkative?” The Stranger pipes in with a slight chuckle.
“All in good time Slayer, first we must interrogate them and don’t worry if they don’t answer you may torture them.” Proclaimed Anders.
“How can you question us if we have no idea what you are talking about?” questioned the Stranger.
“You’re a liar, both of you. You will burn in the flames once you have told us why you came back.” Answered Mary.
“Well why don’t you refresh our memories. Surely there’s no harm in that.”
“You’re playing for time!”
“Maybe I am but there’s all the time in the world isn’t there?”
“Not for you but I’ll humour you. You amuse me.”
“Should we just kill them and get it over with?” Anders asked his wife.
“Wouldn’t it be fun to play with them a little before they die sweetheart?” Mary replied with a twisted smile.
Anders returned the smile and the couple shared a kiss.
“Oh, get a room you two and don’t tell me you don’t have one. You own a motel you know!” Astarte remarked rolling her eyes, causing the two to break their kiss.
“I would say that tongue would get you killed but its already too late for that isn’t it?” Mary replied.
“Just get on with telling us what this is all about, even death is better than watching you two drone on and exchange saliva.”
“You know part of me likes you. As you wish, consider it a replacement for your last meal.”
“The food of knowledge hmmm? Well I suppose it will have to do won’t it?”
“Malum used to be prosperous, we used to be happy until he came and brought his war with him.”
“What a peculiar name and what war was this?” Asked the Stranger.
“Yes, the name is part of our charm. As for the war, we never found out. The town was devastated because of you and we still don’t know why.” Responded Anders.
“Well I’m sorry. I just don’t know; I don’t remember anything.”
“You don’t remember how our children died for you? How you used them as pawns?”
“Have you ever lost a child? Do you have any idea how that feels?” Mary added.
“How could I do such a thing Astarte?” The Stranger asked looking over at her.
“Malum, I didn’t realise this was Malum. We can’t be here!” Astarte replies banging her head back against her pole.
“I kind of worked that out for myself thanks.”
“No, you don’t understand. We can’t be HERE. In Malum, this is bad, very bad.”
“We are tied to poles going to be burned to death and possibly tortured. How could the town make a difference?”
“We stood together, the three of us. This is where we split.”
“Three? There’s two of us.”
“Right, right but this was where we split. It was a while before I found you again, this is where, things as they are, how they started.”
“I’ve heard enough of this nonsense. They aren’t telling us anything. Slayer burn them. Burn them now!” Declared Anders.
With a grunt the Slayer placed the torch into the fire pit setting it alight and raising it up to the sky before beginning to approach the Stranger and Astarte then throwing the torch on top of the bonfire setting it ablaze.