The boy was nearly unconscious from the pain. A crowd had gathered to watch the boy getting whipped, laughing and jeering with the initial strikes of the crop. Horror now drifted through them as the boy’s back was striped with bloody welts. He was beyond the ability to scream further, insensible in his ago9ny. None moved to intervene. The status of the tormentor and his sneering sycophants kept them rooted in place.
The crowd was so focused on the spectacle that they did not see the older woman walk out into the square until her heavy cane struck the man to the ground. The crack of bone on her third strike echoed through the night air. As the man’s friends began to move in, they saw the young, silent crowd that walked up behind the woman. Their silence and distant gaze was unnerving. Three more bone-crushing strikes and she seemed satisfied with the task being completed. The whimpering of the broken man were barely audible.
Several of the young cadre had slipped off and returned with a cart. They left a blanket of hay remaining to create a cushion. Tenderly, the boy was moved to the cart and members of the group moved forward to pull it along. None had spoken through the entire ordeal. Two young girls climbed up and began tending to the boy’s wounds.
The crowd parted to allow them to pass. Mother Clarissa and her adopted children were well-known. Interfering with them would have repercussions.