Flint and Tinder (con't)

Author's Note: We have a few items of business here:

1. A thank you to Clytamnestra for correcting the dates… I had an idiot moment, and completely reversed the date that I knew, it's truly supposed to be set in 1650, NOT 1560. Easy mistake, right? sheepish blush

2. This story isn't going to have set chapters, at least not yet… just a continuation of a story mostly, maybe later I will have chapters, I don't know. Shrug

3. I will be doing noter glories! For anyone who doesn't know, Noter Glory is for those who review my stories, and FIRST NOTER GLORY goes to Clytamnestra! claps I received only two reviews for the first segment, so I think #2 deserves some credit as well, lets hear it for Mizu-Neko Goddess! but this is a competition people, and tenth noter glory will be the next glory assigned! Good luck to all readers, and yes, you can get a glory twice! So keep reading!

The cobblestones were icy and wet in town, and the snow on our shoes didn't help either. It was actually a relief to set foot inside the church, where the two fireplaces were lit and candles fed light to the steep and jagged angles of the church house. As soon as I sat in my spot on the benches, I felt greedy for the fire. The wooden benches were like blocks of ice, and creaked and cracked when sat upon.

My little brother, Noah, was even more unsatisfied than I. He very much wanted to sit on the other side with all the men, but he was too young yet, and was forced to sit with the women and girls. I somewhat smiled in spite of myself, knowing that some men on the other side would give anything to be boys again, just for the sake of warmth. How humiliating it was in wintertime to sit on a bench with other men, acting strong, and not lending each other any warmth. To sit close together would look almost sinful to them. They looked indignantly over at the wives holding and warming their children, longing for such childhood. Noah would not understand now, just as they had not.

My toes began to feel numb at the beginning of Reverend Lewis's sermon. I made sure to keep my eyes fixed at all times. Any sign of disrespect at our church was met with severe punishment, and I was sure it was the same at any other church. I'd tend to focus most at church, because I was the one with the most to hide.

"This harsh weather is the worst we have seen in a long time," Reverend Lewis spoke with a deep voice. He was a tall, lanky man with broad shoulders, he looked almost like a triangle, point down. His hair was gray on the sides and he was balding on top, and a rather large nose. Behind his back, I had heard people call him the old bird, because of his rather hawk-like appearance. "We must pray and give a day of fasting to ask God for forgiveness!" I looked around and saw the disappointment on the young children's faces. Fasting was difficult, especially in winter.

The sermon was redundant as usual. Everyone rose after the sermon and stretched as though they hadn't stood in days. I held my brother's hand as we stepped back out into the cold. We walked down the stone steps, into the town square where my grandmother was hanged. I closed my eyes as a gust of wind gently pushed me forward. I walked to the middle of the square, and stood with Noah. People filed out of the church, each one of them gasping at the cold as they walked out. I scanned the crowd to find my parents among the hats and bonnets and scarves. Noah immediately spotted his friend, Kale, who had picked up a handful of snow and was playing with it. Kale's parents never liked me. It was Kale's mother who screamed on the night of Beltane. She knew it was me with my grandmother, but since no one found me that night, she couldn't prove anything. It was impossible, due to my immaculate behavior in church, but I was definitely kept under close watch after that day.

I eventually found my mother and father talking to the Thompsons. I took my brother's hand, which was now soaked from melted snow, and walked toward my parents. Goody Thompson was a sweet woman, who always knit more things for us than we could handle. This week it was scarves for my mother and I, and gloves for my father and brother. Noah, hands now numb from the cold snow, put the gloves on immediately. My parents thanked them graciously, and bid Noah and I to do the same, and we left, back to our house in the forest. Another gust of wind blew and pushed me toward the forest. I bid farewell to my grandmother, a ritual for every Sunday. I still believe that she is all around me, and I will never let that go.