Judicium Dei

Skin hung from my wrist like ribbons, stripped down from my elbow and falling toward the old church floor in flaccid, red-stained folds, reducing my arm to a half-cooked stick of shredded, bloody meat. My seared flesh shone amid the torchlight and burned as if a swarm of bees lay crawling underneath, nesting among my sinews and stinging and biting the length of my bones. But I held my fist forward, steam rising from my knuckles, and flaunted the stone that I’d pulled from the cauldron, clenching my jaw and tightening my grip and watching the eyes of the clergy.