The foulest thing about a burning body is the vile miasma of stench that festoons it. It’s the kind of wreathing odor a person can’t escape from, no mater how fast their rabbit-heart thumps nor how hurriedly they run from the godless scene. It glides into the nostrils, and makes a home there; just at the back of the throat so every breath is a scorched suckling of seared flesh, charred bone, singed hair, and thick black smoke. It saturates the clothing until a person reeks with it, the foul perfume clings to the skin of the living, and perfumes itself into their very pores to serve as a startling reminder—life is transient and no one is safe from the inferno.
It was the charred smoke that would caution the citizens first, if not the herald of screaming echoing from beneath the tunnel that separates the Eastern and Western Commons. It was a sickly sound, wet and dark, reverberated against that stone aperture. Thick abyssal coils of smoke spat from the staked body, twisting into the air in thick black plumes, winding evidence of a most cruel fate plastered against the heavens. Likewise, the flames sought to chase it, enriched by the oxygen, and stoked until the man’s body was consumed until only haphazard bits of flesh, boiled over blood, smears of liquefied fat that burned so hot it evaporated, and black-scorched muscle and bone remained.
He’d been tied to the stake, this pour soul, burned alive, and littered about him were the unburned manifestations of his senses—two ears that had been cleaved from his skull, two eyes pried from their glossy crimson sockets, and one tongue ripped from the now gaping hollow of his mouth.
Smeared against the wall in black paint as dark as the pitch of his desiccated husk.
“Here burns Johnathan Somerset. This is what the people think of the ‘people’s’ Ministry. Long live the Queen.”