The ringing dulls to a high pitched hiss and he struggles against the many arms forcing him up. The young man, twenty odd years of age his mother was not so sure, pushes back against the will of the mob. Through blurred vision he sees more arms reach in to rip the last of his clothing away, gripping feebly his torn shirt slips away, flailing weak arms and arching waist. Sweat stings his eyes and he looks wildly to see escape.
The men pull him up again and start pulling and dragging him towards the tree. He tries again to push back with his feet, his legs pumping frantically with little effect against the weight of the men gripping him tightly. The heels of their boots kick up small stones and scrape across the ground as he forces himself away. A weight to be resisted, or soon be dead weight if he resists. Trying to sit down, cling to the ground. He thinks that he does not want to leave the ground. It is a mother to him now and he does not want to go.
He sees the rope thrown over the limb and he struggles harder now. Whimpering for the fear of it he manages a high pitched cry, “Noo, no.” One arm loses grip on his shoulder and he starts pushing back again, harder now.
A larger man reaches down between the arms hauling him along. The large man brings his fist back and mechanically punches him in the face. The arm is pulled back again, elbow bent, and then drives forward hitting the young man alongside his head. A third time and then a fourth. The young man hangs from the supporting arms. The world is ringing again, a high toned knoll of pain and death. The large man steps back out of the mob shaking his fist and inspecting his knuckles.
They lift and carry him now, unresisting to where the noose lies on the ground. Dropping him down they roll him onto his stomach and pull back his arms. A short length of rope is retrieved from a back pocket and wrapped repeatedly around the man’s wrists, tying them together in an awkward twist of his arms. He starts to stir and knees press down on his back, pinning him to the ground. The noose is pulled down over his head and tightened around his neck.
The mob steps back. Three men run over to help with the other end of the rope, adding their weight to pull the young man aloft, strung by his neck. The four remaining men around the young man guide him upward, holding his waist and legs from struggling.
“Damn, look at that Fae’s eyes bulge!” comments one of the four men. His sharp teeth flash towards the others. They look up and see that the young man’s left leg cross behind his right, and almost imperceptibly the surrounding drops beneath his toes.
Dumbfounded they watch him now for a time or more. Floating in the air his eyes flash and the rope falls as ash around his neck and hands. Iridescent wings begin unfolding, crumbling open in the flood of blood into veins, capillaries and muscle. A youth in right where might no longer is.
Finally, they nod and grab for the young man’s legs. Startled jolt and looking around in confusion as the Fae laughs from outside the circle, broken, two of the men groan and fall clutching their left arms.
“Fuck”, the larger man curses out loud.
A circle of textured faces and gleaming eyes surrounded the remaining men. Slowly turning, observing, relishing the small light circle under the tree. A hand reached out from the bark and slid through the nearest man’s chest holding his beating heart in front of him before snatching it back into the sap.
The circle continued to study and weave around the few remaining men. The larger man stood center.
“You know this cannot continue. For reality’s sake we implore you no more. We just weren’t ready. Please.”
The youth stood forward from the closing wall of Fae looking eagerly upon what would happen next.
“As you would have it the singularity of your verse is complemented by our shimmering wave. Take root in the soil and mulch, you are ash for the mind.”
Two men burnt brilliantly and fell to bone charcoal in no time as the large man stood paralyzed in abject terror. The youth smiled encouragingly.
“The cold splash against your background was our pressing faces to peer in. You looked and saw us as we slid the line across. We’ve been pushing in on you all for each turn of this star discus, looking down closer and closer until we saw the different verses all around. Nothing is ever lost except in the lowest point where nothing ever is.”
The black halo of burning brilliance shrunk down into the weeping man’s solar plexus. The blackness turned back to the orange bonfire blaze as the large man alone was torn inwards towards the point and never was.
The Fae looked around at each other. A warmth of predatory joy spread throughout the circle and, giggling, they dove into the ground and swam out of sight.