View Full Version : How well does flesh burn?

05-31-2010, 08:48 PM
My fantasy manuscript has an undead creature that must be killed with fire. It's very emaciated and dry, with very little fluid left in its body.

At the climax of a big fight I have it being splashed by burning oil and burn to "death". Would the fire itself be enough to destroy most of the flesh or should I have the MC pile kindling on top of the corpse to make sure?

05-31-2010, 08:56 PM
Unfortunately, the fatter the critter, the longer it will burn. The fat creates a natural tallow lamp which keeps going a good long time. Skinny dry critters might burn quickly, but "dryness" is relative. If it is a dessicated "jerky" critter, it might make some pretty good kindling. As far as destroying flesh, I think it would just char and shrink but keep its basic form-- like the cadavers of people from burned cars. At some point the poor critter will asphyxiate or pass out from pain. It is a horrid way to go. I thin you would show you main character as having some basic humanity if he or she shoots the poor thing. Even Joan of Arc got a spike through her chest before they let her actually burn to death.

06-01-2010, 04:05 PM
Generally you need fat to help flesh burn.

06-01-2010, 04:21 PM
Skin melts, then it crisps. It's usually clothing or accelerants that cause people to burn rather than skin, and like the others have said, fat works like candle wax so long as there's a burning wick.

06-01-2010, 05:39 PM
Well the cell walls melt. Cooking-- which is what burning is, disintegrates the cell walls and makes the flesh "tender" if you will. I mean, just go outside and see what happens-- use a steak, or a chicken wing. The critter would have to sit there at least 5 minutes to get a good burn, so you have to tie it up-- (added)

06-01-2010, 05:47 PM
Well, since it's fantasy and the creature is already UNdead and dry, like a mummy, then I think you're allowed to let it go up in a blaze like kindling. Especially if it's splashed with lamp oil or some other accelerant.

06-01-2010, 07:00 PM
:poke:...wonders away from this post....(You all know way too much about bodies and how they burn.)