1A Walk in the Burning Silence

By Emily Olson

The darkening skies above made the scene around her more like a dream.

As her bare flesh strolled above the moist grass, a light breeze of cooling air danced across her blue sun dress. The mountains that lay off in the distance became less and less visible. The beautiful sunset was changing into a memory of the recent past. One of her slender hands held onto a pair of sandals that were made of plastic with small, purple and gray swirls designs on them. A couple of silver bracelets on her arms jingled against each other as she walked through the small field. The breeze began to grow slightly stronger; just enough to push against her fine, brown hair. It flew with the wind as if it had wings. Her green eyes sparkled tenderly against the fading sunlight.

The only sounds that she could hear were mixtures of shaking leaves and chirping from some birds flying overhead. An old song from her childhood came to mind, making her want to hum it to herself. A flash flew across her eyes, and she watched a small girl run across the flowers, giggling and laughing as she sang. The memory faded away as soon as it appeared. She smiled to herself while she passed by an old oak tree. Her eyes gazed across the tough-textured bark of the tall plant. This tree gave her many memories: it was the first tree she climbed as a child, her first kiss was here under the glistening leaves after a long day of rain. But some small memories clouded her mind. Her mother was found dead here; murdered by the townspeople some 15 years ago. Another memory fazed through her mind, but she dared not dwell on it. There was some sort of etching in the bark, but she didn't bother to read it, having memorized it before. A moment dwindled as her mind continued to reminisce.

Stars began to poke out into the sky and the glorious moon grinned downwards at the girl. Her home could be seen more easily now. It was just a small cottage made of rock and wood. Small gusts of smoke puffed from the chimney on the left side. The girl sighed as her feet touched upon the short trail of rubble that led her to her cottage. In front of the cottage stood a strange wooden sign. It looked brand new and had Burn in Hell inscribed on it. Her head shook as she walked past the sign. No one really understood, did they? But this was why she was here. She didn't bother to place her sandals back on, for she was going to be inside within mere moments. The curved door at the front of the cottage had a small square window, lightly smudged from smoke and dust. The girl lowered her head and closed her eyes for a moment, muttering something strange. A faint light appeared inside the house as she rose her head once more.

Her hand turned the wooden doorknob as she gracefully stepped onto some green carpet inside. A small chair was sitting in front of a fireplace beside her. A round table leaned against the chair, a closed book sitting on it. On the other side of the room there was a kitchen fit just for her. There was an oven, a sink, and a cabinet for food. Across from the girl lay a bed covered in flower-quilted blankets and pillows. Oval windows surrounded the walls and so did paintings of landscapes and animals.

She dropped her sandals beside the closed door and walked over to the fireplace. Her hands felt the heat rising from the glowing flames from within and it brought a broad smile to her angelic face. Fire was so beautiful. It always gave such a feeling of power and serenity. At least, it did for her. Her form knelt down in front of the fire, her eyes staring into the flames with awe. She turned and picked up the book from the round table. The cover had a cryptic design on the front, with a strange title underneath. Her fingers fumbled about the worn pages, opening to a page filled with enchantments.

"Eto Certa Nigi Yurio Makinda Etch Que Sakiv Zendu Tecmo Ashimm..." her voice rattled repeatedly. Sparks began to leap from the flames. A few burned into her skin, but she didn't seem to notice. Her senses were mixing together into a trance of sorts. "Eto Certa Nigi Yurio Makinda Etch Que Sakiv Zendu Tecmo Ashimm, Eto Certa Nigi Yurio Makinda Etch Que Sakiv Zendu Tecmo Ashimm..." Everytime she chanted, her voice grew in volume.

The flames from the fire were taller than before, and sparks were spitting out at an alarming rate. Her window blew open with a strong whistling of wind and the thin curtains that covered the glass rustled. "Eto Certa Nigi Yurio Makinda Etch Que Sakiv Zendu Tecmo Ashimm, Eto Certa Nigi Yurio Makinda Etch Que Sakiv Zendu Tecmo Ashimm..." The ground began to shake underneath her. Utensils from the kitchen spilled onto the floor, glass began to shatter, and her blankets flew off of the bed and onto the floor. "Eto Cer ta Nigi Yurio Makinda Etch Que Sakiv Zendu Tecmo Ashimm! Eto Certa Nigi Yurio Makinda Etch Que Sakiv Zendu Tecmo Ashimm!" She began to scream and it echoed around the crackling fire. Her eyes began to glow brilliantly in a shape of deep red.

Suddenly, the portraits hanging on her walls began to burst into horrendous flames. Fire crawled up the walls from the floor, tickling them with its heat. The girl stood up finally, watching her house become bright with flames. She closed the book gently and placed it back on the table. Afterwards, she walked towards her front door, grabbing her sandals. She opened the door and walked outside, into the endless night air and her feet touched the moist grass once again. While she put on her sandals, her toes squished against the plastic surface. A hand ran through her silky hair as another sigh passed through her soft lips. A soft voice of a giggling young child made her smile.

Anxiously, the girl paced away from her burning home. The trail leading to the cottage disappeared behind her as she neared the tree from earlier. Her head turned to see the burning sight once last time. The fire looked almost like an illusion against the darkening skies. A finger of her's reached and touched the cold bark, tracing along the etched-in words from long ago: Here Lies the Spirit of one of the Damned, Silvia Trentman. She smiled once again, hearing feminine screaming in the distance; no doubt a response from the burning cottage. Silvia closed her eyes as the screaming brought her back to a very unhappy memory.

Silvia was sitting under the oak tree, reading a book that her mother had written in her native tongue. The crisp air made her skin shiver a little as she continued to read silently.

"Burn the Witch! Burn the Witch! Burn the Witch!" Screams from the distance distracted Silvia from reading momentarily. As she glanced up, a mob of people rushed up the trail leading to her cottage. A few carried pitch-forks and torches lit with bleeding flames. Their expressions were filled with anger and hatred. Silvia stood up and began to panic before a tall man in a dirty overall outfit slammed her against the tree.

"Let me go!" Silvia's soft voice cried out.

"Damn you foul woman! You destroyed our crops with that damn magic of your's!" The man spat into her face with a heavy southern accent. An older woman stepped forward and pointed her torch at the two.

"You should be condemned to hell along with your mother you wench!" her raspy voice bellowed. Agreement from the mob behind sent shivers down Silvia's spine.

"I did nothing! Leave me be! I haven't bothered anyone! And don't say a word about my mother! You're the murderers! You should be the ones who should be condemned!" She whimpered. The man who held her picked her up by her shoulders and threw her to the ground. He picked up the now turned-over book from the grass and opened it, glancing at it for a mere few seconds before holding it up into the air.

"She tells us she did nothing when this book holds spells!" He yelled. The mob began to growl and shriek in anger. Silvia felt tears swell up around her eyes and tried to get up. A few younger men grabbed her arms and pulled her up, holding onto her almost tight enough to bruise her.

A priest walked out from the mob, holding a small bible in his hands. He was very calm; very different from the rest of them. His jet-black hair was slick above his head and his brown eyes showed pain and pity as he looked upon the young woman.

"Silvia Trentmen, you have been accused of witchcraft; a crime punishable by death. If you pray to God with me, maybe he can salvage your wicked soul,"

Silvia looked at him with furious eyes and she spat into his face.

"There is no God. If there was, he would have stopped you from killing my mother, you bastards." The mob screamed in response to her blasphemous deed but the priest held a hand up to shush them.

"Very well, then. I hope God will find a place for you to rot for your cherishment of the devil," the priest calmly said before re-joining the growing mob behind them. Silvia turned to see the leader of the mob walk up to her and slap her harshly across her face. As her cheek reddened, her eyes did as well.

"You will regret that, Sir," she replied.

The skies above became saturated with darkness as braids of lightning flew across the clouds. The mob began to grew more nervous as this happened, however. A lightning bolt struck down in the middle of the mob, dispersing them. Many ran back towards the town. The two men holding her loosened their grip slowly as they tried to keep their composure. The people that had stayed ran to the leader and asked him what they should do.

Silvia's eyes returned to normal and a small smile spread across her lips. Freezing rain shot down from the black sky."My mother and I only wanted to live a peaceful life here. But you had to come and destroy it. I have kept quiet long enough," she said in a soft tone. She glanced at the fellows still holding her and she grinned, causing their hands to melt away from her skin. Their screams of ut-most horror relaxed her and she approached the leader. His gaze changed into that of a terrified puppy as she neared him.

"We better get out of here!" The remaining townspeople started to run off back to town. The leader of the group seemed as if he was frozen in his spot, purely scared for his life. Silvia's eyes returned to normal when she realized what she had done and she stopped. Her head shook and she turned away.

"I refuse to stoop down to your level of ignorance." The sky became light blue and peaceful once again. She bent over and picked up her mother's worn book, staring at the symbol on the cover. It was a large S with a few dashes along the curves. A sign escaped her lips and she turned around to see the leader of the mob gone.

Silvia returned to her cottage and placed the book on the table and watched the fire burning in her fireplace. She sat in her chair and dozed off, figuring that she would be left alone now.

A loud scream woke her up, and she saw people running around her home. She ran outside to see a few men grab her and carry her to the oak tree.

"Hoist her up, men!" the leader of the previous mob cried out, holding up a long rope. Silvia's eyes widened and struggled to get free, but to no avail. The shimmering stars in the night sky made this feel ironic to her.

"LET ME GO!" she screamed as loud as she could, but she felt the mob leader's hands touch her warm flesh as he wrapped the rope around her neck.

"You won't kill anything anymore, you hell demon!" he retorted and flung the other end of the rope over one of the tall branches of the tree. The priest returned, opening his bible. He started to chant phrases from the bible as Silvia felt herself pushed under the tree branch. Her hands grasped at the rope, trying to free herself. A box was placed underneath her feet. "I suggest you leave the box alone," the man said to her from behind.

"You'll pay for this!" Silvia cried out, her voice strained from the rope. The leader only laughed.

"Say hello to your mother for me, wench," he said. She saw him raise his arm, and felt the box below disappear. Her sight became dim and red, before fading into an endless black.

The distant screams brought the girl back to the present moment. Her eyes stared at the plaque on the tree, as townhouses below burst into their own flames. Screams filled the night air. Silvia's body felt lifted, as if an incredible weight had been taken away from her. With one last smile, she closed her gleaming eyes and allowed the growing darkness to bring her to her final salvation. A vague image of her mother appeared before her, with open and welcoming arms. This time, she knew they would be left alone.