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The Headless Executioner

April 9, 2010

I was traveling with a detective, a scientist, and a tall creature resembling something in between a cat and a bear. We were investigating a series of murders that took place in a nearby village. Five men and women were beheaded between the hours of 10pm and midnight the night before we arrived and more bodies were surfacing. 

Early Morning Sketch of Our Companion

I interviewed many of the locals, but almost everyone refused to talk about what they’d seen. Finally, one courageous old man decided to tell me the truth. He described what he believed to be a headless man. He carried an ax and wore heavy armor under black shrouds. They called him the Headless Executioner. Apparently there was a strict procedure for each murder. He would soothe the victim’s fear by telling a story, something that would instigate laughter. When the victim was relaxed and laughing at the story being told he would ask, “Did you find that funny?”

As soon as the innocent nodded or said yes the Executioner would lift his ax and strike a clean blow across the neck. It was swift and painless. The old man cried as he admitted that he would be the next victim. How he knew this was baffling to all of us, but we decided to construct a plan around this premise.

We convened a short meeting and realized that we would wait for the Executioner. When he came we thought we were ready, but he moved too fast. The old man was dead. Our creature friend scratched his smooth fur and suggested we follow the Executioner. We separated into pairs; detective and scientist and the furry companion and I.

As we followed the Executioner I realized all too late that he knew we were there. But that didn’t stop us from breaking into his underground chamber. What we found was grotesque to say the least.

Dorothy visits Mombi in Return to Oz

A scene that paid homage to the film Return to Oz. Glass cases everywhere filled with bloodied heads. Glass boxes on the floor and mounted on the walls. I peered inside and saw fully dressed mummies. The smell of decay was overwhelming. My furry companion held his paw over his nose and motioned for me to move ahead. But the mummies opened their eyes, some were blue, others green while many were just empty sockets. They sat up and climbed out of their cases. My companion picked me up and carried me over his shoulder, looking for any exit. He lead us to where the detective and the scientist were standing in the middle of a room surrounded by dozens of mummies and some dead children. The Headless Executioner stood at the other end of the room, his ax planted firmly on the ground.

The mummies moved forward and began to touch us. One of the dead children with only half of his skull left pulled at my shirt. His cry became deafening as he clutched at my leg and begged for his mother. The next thing I felt was my companion’s paws around my waist followed by dirt in my mouth. He’d thrown me through a wall and into a patch of soil. The scientist and the detective followed. We watched as the Executioner lifted our friend off the ground, black glove wrapped tightly around the neck. It was the first time I noticed the lanky, almost feminine torso of our companion. The Executioner was telling him a story as we observed the furry creature’s body begin to relax.

“Did you find that funny?” asked the Headless abomination.

“Absolutely not,” said our friend. The hand around his neck clutched a little tighter and the same question was posed. As he shook his head his paws turned into sharp claws. He maneuvered himself into position, catlike and steady, and proceeded to devour everything in the room. When he finished the only thing left was the ax. He hung it over his shoulder and walked out. We headed down a long road on foot and didn’t say a word to each other. The only sound was a strange kind of purring that came from my companion’s belly.

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