I forgot to sign up for this week's Sexy Saturday, but I wanted to post something even if I'm not on the hop list.
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“No!” Geoffrey shouted. Charles grabbed him by the shirt and pulled him back.
“Fool boy. You think they won’t burn you because you’re a man? Shut your mouth and keep your head down.”
“You can’t let them do this. She isn’t evil!” Geoffrey’s argument was lost in the mob calling for fire.
Summer looked out to where Geoffrey and Charles argued. She smelled the fresh green wood piled at her feet. There’d been enough burnings that they didn’t have dried wood anymore. The ropes on her were rough and thick, but she’d managed to hide a small blade between her fingers. It was unlikely she’d get through the rope before they lit the pyre, but she could try.
“Mary.” Somehow, over all the shouting, Summer could still hear Geoffrey. “I’ll save you,” he promised.
She smiled wryly, knowing the only one who had any hope of getting her out of this was herself. She worked her hands against one another until she felt a small snap. One of the cords was cut through. She wriggled her wrists to see if it was enough to pull her hand free but couldn’t quite manage. She went back to sawing just as they dropped the torch among the green logs and twigs.
As she’d hoped, billows of smoke rose from the green logs. Her skirt was on fire and she screamed at the pain in her feet, but the rope broke further and she was able to free her hands. She dropped, rolling off the pyre. Staying close to it and choking on the smoke, she rose on her burned feet. Pain made her scream, but it was what they would want to hear. She found the largest gap in the crowd and crouched low, waving her arms to try to send the smoke into the gap. The soot resulting from charred cloth and skin hid her amid the grey and she stumbled away, dropping to the ground and rolling as soon as she was beyond sight.
She waited there, listening for the alarm. Did they know she’d escaped?
The pain ran through her whole body. Having dealt with burns, she knew she needed water, but was on the wrong side of town for the brook. She made for the ocean and threw herself into the surf when she reached it. Her folly was revealed when the salt water added its own painful burn. She screamed as the waves crashed over her, preventing her death by flames. She would drown. And damn them all for it.
Summer’s eyes flew open with the memory of pain, but they drifted shut again quickly, groggy despite the horrid dream. Her tongue was thick and stuck to the roof of her mouth. Sun streamed through the crack in her blinds, announcing it was morning. She groaned and rolled over, tempted to go back to sleep.
She sat up with a start. “Geoffrey?” The presence she had been feeling since she’d moved in was lying beside her. Today, however, she could see him. He was transparent and intangible, but he looked just like he had in her dream last night.