Konan tossed and turned on his couch. Sleep was a cruel mistress tonight. When he fell asleep, the storm had raged for hours. It was quiet now, his home dark. A limb would scrape his metal roof when the wind blew. It was eerily silent.
He got up and walked to the coffee pot. He poured water in and put a K-cup in the chute. Konan yawned as he waited for the magical fluid to make. He glanced at his clock. The red digital lens reflected 0230. He had slept a total of three hours.
No wonder he felt like hammered crap.
The hot, frothy liquid filled his cup, and he spooned in sugar. He sipped it. It wasn’t sweet enough, so he added some hot water to the cup. Ah, nothing would ever compare to the first sip of coffee.
He carried his coffee into his makeshift library. Konan sat amid the room and powered on his computer. In the search box, he typed in decapitation.
‘Holy crap,’ Konan muttered. His search history pulled up a wealth of information regarding beheadings. Many were penned by ‘academics’ and they apparently considered the use of decapitation as a good thing. It seemed to Konan that everyone had, at some point, used decapitation as a method of punishment. The English and French had used it as the final stroke (literally) after disemboweling and hanging those they decapitated. There was even a modern article asking if beheadings were more humane than lethal injection.
“Y’all come on down to the fairgrounds, we gonna chop the head off this ole boy!”
Konan shivered and shook his head. People had lost their minds. Konan sipped his coffee and scrolled through the rest of the article. No one seemed to have written one as to why decapitation was still used.
While he read up on the extremism of decapitation, his phone rang.
Lilly’s voice came over the receiver. “Hey, you’re up.”
“You want some company?”
“Um, sure. Come on over. I’ll put on some coffee.”
“Sounds good. I’ll bring snacks.”
Thirty minutes later, Lilly knocked on the door of Konan’s home. He peeked through the peephole. Satisfied that she was alone, Konan opened the door. Lilly walked in holding two boxes of donuts.
“Sorry to barge in at 3 in the morning, but I couldn’t sleep,” Lilly said. Konan shrugged and led her to the library.
“It’s alright, Lilly. I was up.”
“We’re quite a pair, aren’t we?”
“No doubt. Why couldn’t you sleep?”
“I dreamt of decapitations.”
“Yeah, I did too. I have researched them since I’ve been up.” Lilly wrinkled up her nose.
“I thought it might give an insight into why people decapitate others.”
“Learn anything,” Lilly asked between a mouthful of a chocolate covered donut.
“Yeah. It’s brutal. Everyone talks about the ‘cleanliness’ of it as an execution method. You know, ‘one swift stroke and it’s over.’ What they don’t tell you is that the government would only kill noble and poor alike after disemboweling and hanging them. So, it’s not a ‘nice’ way to kill anyone.”
“Jesus,” Lilly whispered. Her face was pale. “So, it’s a method of punishment?”
“So, the woman…”
“Yeah. The killer probably knew her and wanted her to suffer for some reason.”
“Oh God. Is there any place that still uses decapitation as a punishment for crime?”
“Yeah. Saudi Arabia is the only place where it is still used. In their culture, the family member of a murdered person has the right to carry out the execution of the killer. It is at times very….messy.”
Lilly said nothing to his response. She put down her donut and stared in her coffee. She wiped at her mouth and shook her head. She seemed visibly shaken.
“She was punished.”
“Yeah, Lilly. She was punished.”