There she lay, in cold blood amidst the unrelenting chaos, squandered in the wake of moral reprehension. Despite the attempts they made for to keep it surreptitious, the truth would bleed through the orifices of the human conscience. They feared her alive and well but now they stood pensively with assuaged misgivings.

In all the chaos, they had forgotten about little Sara. Little faultless Sara stood on the doorsteps coyly acting concerned. Just last week her family was her whole world. Now her world stood before her eyes burnt to the ground as she watched the flames engulf and consume it, leaving behind remnants of a home where a happy family dined together every night. Sara was just four.

Disloyalty must be punished, they said. She mustn’t overshoot her bounds or else. Punished by death? No one seemed to ask. We made an example out of it, as well we should have. Sara’s aunt shook her head in agreement but the sight of her sister’s body reduced her to tears. The village elders had gathered to witness the spectacle and its familiar aftermath. Some appeared to be rather bemused by the same old song and dance while some others seemed nonplused. Others still bore eerily accustomed smiles.

Clemency was dead.