“Thats my game, sho.”Blue flash, a steel blade slashed across Bob Stone’s throat. He had a sweetishsick feeling. Blood began to flow. Then he felt a sharp twitch of pain. He let hisknife drop. He slapped one hand against his neck. He pressed the other on top ofhis head as if to hold it down. He groaned. He turned, and staggered towards thecrest of the hill in the direction of white town. Negroes who had seen the fightslunk into their homes and blew the lamps out. Louisa, dazed, hysterical, refusedto go indoors. She slipped, crumbled, her body loosely propped against thewoodwork of the well. Tom Burwell leaned against it. He seemed rooted there.Bob reached Broad Street. White men rushed up to him. He collapsed in theirarms.“Tom Burwell....”White men like ants upon a forage rushed about. Except for the taut hum oftheir moving, all was silent. Shotguns, revolvers, rope, kerosene, torches. Twohigh-powered cars with glaring search-lights. They came together. The taut humrose to a low roar. Then nothing could be heard but the flop of their feet in thethick dust of the road. The moving body of their silence preceded them over thecrest of the hill into factory town. It flattened the Negroes beneath it. It rolled tothe wall of the factory, where it stopped. Tom knew that they were coming. Hecouldnt move. And then he saw the search-lights of the two cars glaring down onhim. A quick shock went through him. He stiffened. He started to run. A yellwent up from the mob. Tom wheeled about and faced them. They poured downon him. They swarmed. A large man with dead-white face and flabby cheekscame to him and almost jabbed a gun-barrel through his guts.“Hands behind y, nigger.”Tom’s wrist were bound. The big man shoved him to the well. Burn him overit, and when the woodwork caved in, his body would drop to the bottom. Twodeaths for a godam nigger. Louisa was driven back. The mob pushed in. Itspressure, its momentum was too great. Drag him to the factory. Wood and stakesalready there. Tom moved in the direction indicated. But they had to drag him.They reached the great door. Too many to get in there. The mob divided andflowed around the walls to either side. The big man shoved him through thedoor. The mob pressed in from the sides. Taut humming. No words. A stake wassunk into the ground. Rotting floor boards piled around it. Kerosene poured onthe rotting floor boards. Tom bound to the stake. His breast was bare. Nails
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scratches let little lines of blood trickle down and mat into the hair. His face, hiseyes were set and stony. Except for irregular breathing, one would have thoughthim already dead. Torches were flung onto the pile. A great flare muffled inblack smoke shot upward. The mob yelled. The mob was silent. Now Tom couldbe seen within the flames. Only his head, erect, lean, like a blackened stone.
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