The circle of hunched and twisted figures, descendents of centuries of small town inbreeding, held me down with thick grubby hands that held surprising strength. A frightful man lurched forward through the crowd of men, woman, and filthy naked children, dragging a smoking cattle brand behind him. Once he was in front of me, he brandished the torturous implement as if it was a sword.
I could feel the heat from the red-hot brand hanging in mid air over the gap where my shirt had been ripped away.
“’Tain’t noways impossible, be it?” He paused. “Bank… man.”
Twisting away from the hot iron, I yelped, “Don’t do this! Help! Help!”
Throaty chuckles echoed all around me. “They’s no one hereabouts. ‘Cept me an’ my kin.”
“Wait! I can get you money! You need money!”
“Whar’ll ye git the money?”
“The bank! I work at the bank.”
He shook his head and thrust the brand into my chest.
I screamed as the pain seemed to go on forever.
The last thing I heard before I blacked out was a husky voice say, “I smells bacon!”