Fire dripped like rain from my scaled fingers. Gliding past my jean-covered thighs, then boots, the flaming beads breached the puddle beside me with a hiss. A last stubborn burst of light flared bright, illuminating the red pool for a breath before it sputtered out.
The pattern repeated: drip, flare, hiss, sputter, drip, flare, hiss, sputter, as I stood in the abandoned train depot; counting the circles of blood that overran the pockmarks on the fractured concrete floor. Each bloody puddle corresponded to a body hanging upside down from the rafters above my head.
Thick ropes bound their ankles. Their flaccid arms dangled toward me, as if reaching down in hopeless supplication. But their death throe pleas were illusion. The six had died long before they were dragged in, stripped of their clothing and skin, and hung like a side of beef in a slaughterhouse. If they’d died here, I would have felt an imprint of their trauma on the room. Instead, all I sensed was their ripe stench drifting with the breeze as it blew in through the rotted holes in the ceiling.