by P.S. Gifford
-Strange – 2 Pages –
Frank sat there writhing in the uncomfortable old wooden chair and fidgeted awkwardly.
“So am I right in assuming Mr. Frank Halford that on the night in question you were drinkin’ in the
‘Tar and Feathers’ public drinking house in Aysgarth?”
Frank squirmed a little more.
“Answer the question Frank!”
“Yes, yes..” Frank managed to stammer. “I had stopped off for a few pints and a steak and Kidney pie after a long day at the office.”
There are murmurs from the jurors, as they look shaking their heads at the defendant.
“And further is it true, that you drunk more than you should of perhaps?”
Frank nodded glumly “Yes” he muttered.
“Speak up Frank-We could not all hear you.”
“Yes,” Frank said a little louder “I suppose I did.”
“What happened immediately after you left the public house” The judge prompted.
“I got into my Ford and began to drive back to my house, in Leyburn.”
“And?” The Judge pressed,
The jurors were hanging onto each syllable now.
“I didn’t see him, he just came from nowhere?” Frank was getting more and more nervous at this point. His face was starting to get flushed and his breathing was becoming more and more difficult.
“Then what happened?” the judge was getting angry.
“I h h hit him.” Frank stammered not able to look anyone in the eye.
“Who did you hit” The Judge shouted.
“That fellow over there, the one with the broken arm, I bloody well hit him. I did not mean too. He came from nowhere. I swear.” He pointed at Jimmy Miller.
Mr. Miller, the self proclaimed judge and Jimmy Miller’s father, climbed down from the top of the large haystack he had been sitting on in the barn.
“So…Members of the Jury.” He looked at the four weather -worn gentlemen, sitting on the barn’s straw covered floor, cross legged.
“How do you find the defendant?”
Thomas Miller, the oldest Miller son, solemnly stood up and nodded to his three brothers who were examining his every move. He walked purposely directly up to Frank and placed his face just a few inches from his and stared directly into his terrified eyes.
“GUILTY” He cried as saliva darted out of his mouth. “We find him guilty.”
“Excellent” the judge replied. “Do you have anything else to say before we decide on your punishment?”
Frank examined the old ropes that had been used to expertly bind his legs and hands to the old wooden chair. He thought back to yesterday evening.
“I did indeed stop off at the Feathers as I often do” Perspiration was starting to form on his brow as he spoke.. “I am a single man, and enjoy the company of the friendly locals.” The Millers just watched and listened to him in apparent disgust. “At nine o’ clock it was time to go on home. I was in such a good mood as I climbed into my car and set off down the road. It was then it happened I was startled by the sight of a figure in a gray long tattered raincoat who seemed to appear from nowhere. He was brandishing an axe, and declaring for me to stop. I tried to just drive past him, but the figure lunged at me .. After hitting him there seemed much commotion, a Land Rover sped from nowhere, and drove me off the road. The next thing I remember was waking up in this chair…”
The Judge stood up, and solemnly looked at each of his son’s in turn. The calloused gray face of him was delighting in his torment. He flashed a smile, revealing a rotting mouth full of teeth, and slowly spoke.
“I am afraid, we are just poor country yokels. We don’t have any fancy electric chairs, like I’ve seen on the telly. But I got to thinkin’-we do have a chair and we have got plenty of electricity. I reckoned it be pretty simple to combine the two.”
Frank watched in total horror as the Judge plugged a cable into the socket, at the other end were simply bare exposed wires. As the electricity raced down it,it appeared to bring it to life buzzing, cracking and dancing about. Frank felt each sinew and muscle tighten in agonizing realization of his impending doom. His eyes opened wide and his face became snarled almost beyond recognition.
The Miller brothers began cheering frantically both in encouragement of their father’s actions, and in a wicked taunting towards Frank. The judge walked gravely towards Frank as he watched on helpless. The wires gyrated now; just an inch in front of Frank’s engorged eyeballs. Then in one terrible split second, the wires converge onto Frank’s pulsating neck. For a few seconds Frank’s body convulsed and then dropped limp. His eyes resembled hard boiled eggs in the sockets. The stench of cooked flesh perambulated throughout the barn. The brothers start to holler and shriek, unable to contain their delight.
An hour later the Millers were climbing into there battered Land rover Defender still giddy at the night’s proceedings. The Millers were pig farmers, in fact the biggest pig farmers in the entire county. They were renowned for their prize winning hogs for miles around. People often wondered why there pigs were so much grander than most but they had a secret; it was in their diet. The Millers were in possession of an industrial meat grinder, and all of the food they consumed was prepared by the brothers from scratch.
Frank’s charred body was quickly reduced to 200 lbs of pulverized flesh, bone and sinew by the immense machine. Then the meat was taken in buckets out back to the pigs who grunted greedily in expectation. As the meat was scattered down it was quickly gobbled down by the dozens of oversized hogs. They devoured with remarkable fury every last scrap, and then seemed to beg for more.
After the hogs were fed the brothers once more climbed into their land rover. Moments later the vehicle sped out of the barn yard, and headed back to the old farmhouse, which lay half a mile across the Miller’s field. The sun now had completely set, and a soft blanket of mist hovered idly above the grass.
They were unsure what happened next. Jimmy Miller suddenly screamed out in a panic, claiming to have caught a fleeting glimpse of something he could not quite describe approaching the back of the truck. He wasn’t sure what he saw, yet some sixth sense deeply imbedded within his consciousness bawled at him that it was unnatural and that danger was looming.
The Defender accelerated, faster and faster still, it was then apparent to the entire family that they were being chased, but by what no-one could explain. Perhaps some energy form, hell bent on revenge. ..
Unexpectedly there was a colossal flash.
When the bodies were discovered the next day, each one had been scorched beyond recognition. In fact dental records were the only way to identify one corpse from another.
As the confused police officers examined the scorched bodies he just scratched his head in disbelief.
Must have been spontaneous combustion” he said.