Hearth of Darkness.

By E.D. Wivens, July 2002

He pushed aside the brown parched foliage and stared out.

A sickness welled in his stomach, he had been right. It had been the noise that first alerted him. A dreadful distorted wailing, its terrible drumming all too audible. Next there was the smoke. The blue smoke that made an ugly smudge against the sky.

Then there were the flies. They always knew. You could hide the evidence as much as you cared to, but the flies always knew.

He had lived in this part of the country for many years. This was not the first time such events had occurred but he could never come to terms with what lay just a few yards in front of him.

What made them do it? The theories varied, some said it was the heat, others the effects of the sun. But the reason did not matter it happened.

He watched as the smoke rose. The sun beat remorselessly down from the clear blue sky. It glared like the eye of a god angered by what he witnessed.

The men had clearly been drinking heavily and they moved unsteadily. Voices barked commands. Now and then a knife glinted in the sunlight. Children cried and he could here the shrill, angry voices of the women.

Truly, he reflected, the veneer of civilisation was very thin.

A sudden burst of flame erupted as more fuel was thrown on the still glowing embers. He watched as the men rushed around in panic. Everywhere was the dreadful smell of burnt and blackened flesh.

A movement to his left. He saw the striped cat as it lay concealed, waiting its chance in the shadows. That chance came. A child was careless. The cat pounced. A sudden cry and then silence as the headless carcase was dragged into the bushes.

As he drew away, sickened by what he had seen, and words, barely even a sigh, escaped from his lips. "The horror".

Yes his neighbours were having another barbecue. He let go of the foliage. "I must water these houseplants"

The author and owner of this work is E.D. Wivens. See http://www.katzphur.co.uk/ for more details.
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