The Lord’s Work

Terry Whidborne, for Goblin Week

The shaman’s eyes hazed between focused and unfocused, as the shadows thickened around her, swirling like a cloak over her thin shoulders. Pathetic, really. She muttered and moaned to herself, a lamentation of those vermin that lay, polluting the dirt beneath their corpses. Already the men, armoured and shining like silver fish, stacked the corpses higher, and the black-smut blood of the goblins dried into their gloves and wound its way under their fingernails.

There is no heresy that flames cannot purge.

The crone’s voice darkened beneath her blanket of blackness, and her bone necklace rattled and creaked even without breeze. He quickly suppressed the rising taste of sick in his throat, the wave of bile and old blood and mucus. A quaint superstition, that these creatures held some hidden power, at least when held amongst the men. Not so an officer, nor a Cardinal of the Church.

A songbird fell from the sky, red-breasted and out of place amongst the carrion birds, who squatted, disappointed as they croaked at one another and admonished the men who stole their banquet. The shaman hummed and sang to the bird, who chirruped and leapt from her finger as though bitten. She smiled at the men, and trembled as cold, hungry steel leapt from scabbards.

She had served their purpose, a message would be sent.

Filthy, treacherous vermin.

His sword sang, and torches fell onto the pyres.

He felt the fire well up inside him. He was doing the Lord’s work.

Let the heretics see the smoke.

Written for Goblin Week, and for the gorgeous Terry Whidborne sketch above. Oh, and I squeezed in not only the Trifecta Writing Challenge prompt, quaint, but also a BeKindRewrite prompt: under the fingernails. Comments and criticism always welcome!

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9 thoughts on “The Lord’s Work

  1. KymmInBarcelona says:

    You so nailed the atmosphere, Chris, that I’m bookin’ it outta here!
    (love quaint superstition – kudos!)

  2. Agree with Kymm here, it’s very atmospheric. Creepily so! Thanks for linking up!

  3. Draug419 says:


  4. Stephanie says:

    Beautiful piece of writing. It just flows.

Comments and criticism always welcome!

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