My breath goes ragged as the smell of smoke fills my nostrils.
No, no, no, please…
I already know saying it out loud will do nothing, so I pray that something will happen. That someone will intervene; shout that I shouldn’t be the one.
That anyone will say it.
That it will rain.
I don’t know.
Anything that gets me off the Altar.
I shouldn’t be the sacrifice.
They surround the Altar, chanting. Their eyes have no mercy.
This is what has to happen, that is what they tell themselves.
It has to be me. It has to be me.
But why did the priestess have to look so happy?
She had been so kind before, in spite of everything. Always kind.
I understand why, now. It was all a façade.
I hate her.
I hate all of them.
I don’t want to die!
Why did it have to be me?
Now our priestess raises the holy torch, grinning like the horrific bitch she really is.
The kindling pokes at my legs, digging into my skin. I can’t move.
I can’t get away.
The faces behind her are grim, resolved.
I see one. Recognize her.
Amari meets my gaze, eyes lit by the fire.
Her eyes are screaming.
She doesn’t want this? Would she stop it? Oh please, let it be so.
Help me, I plead silently. I don’t care how, please just help me.
Her face contorts before she looks away.
The priestess begins to walk forward.
Amari doesn’t move. Not even as the torch lowers.
The heat is starting at my back now.
It’s happening. It’s really going to happen.
I am going to burn alive.
I sob; tug one last time against my ties.
One last scream.