_ P H O T O S T O R I E S _______________________

Part 2 -- Set Alight

"The torture continues even as I have given up any hope for rescue. She places every bit of wood as carefully as if it were a delicate and frail object that might break and bring disaster.

Every single branch added to my pyre shall bring more pain but the more there are the quicker I will burn and the faster this will all be over.

Has this creature no soul? Placing the instruments of my death with meticulous care, the seconds are minutes and the minutes become hours.

This is the last branch, she says. That's it? This little pile is to provide all the flames that are to consume me? It's never enough! This fire will burn too slowly!

The foul creature has left me with the promise that my sentence shall be carried out at dusk. I am then to stay here, a prisoner to evil, with death in the form of a pyre at my feet, until the sun is setting. I cry at my live as time wails away at a pace akin to standing still.

The sun is disappearing over the horizon, and true enough, the witch is back, a torch ahand.

The heat from the torch burns my skin even from afar. To think that in moments my very body shall be engulfed in that fire.

She teases me with the torch, waving it so close to my body as to have me perspirate sweat and blood on my forehead. At least get it over with, foul wench, and quit this game. It is my life you're playing with!

I can hear the crackiling of the wood as the torch is lowered to light the pyre. I hear myself cry out in terror as the kindling sets alight, and my chest heaves at a frantic pace.

This is it then. The torture of waiting for my end, all day, tied to a tree in the middle of a desolate field, at the edge of a repudedly haunted forest, has passed. The kindling is already blazing with flames. Haunted this forest shall be for definate once this final stage is over.

My body is trying to escape the inevitable as I feel it struggling in vain to escape the flames that are already whipping up.

The heat has numbed my senses, and although I see the fire grasping for my clothes and my soft flesh underneath, I fail to feel any pain. I see myself coughing from the choking smoke and feel my toes shuffle. Is the agony yet to come or shall my death come easily?

I have hoped to quickly. Already I feel the leather of my boots burn into my feet, and I can follow the message of pain my nerves are sending towards my brain as if it were running in slow-motion. In but in instant I shall indeed writhe in agony.

I hear myself mutter a subdued 'Help...'"


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