Girl On Fire: The God They Created
They were afraid of her.
She could feel it, they couldn’t look her in the eyes. They scurried off the road and made way for her as she walked amongst them, but it was nothing new, they had always cleared a path for her but not out of grace as they always mocked her whenever she walked by. They would whisper things about her, and throw stones at her. But this time, it was different, now there were no whispers, there were no stones, there were no mean words and the market place was as silent as a graveyard.
She was afraid, it had rained the previous night, and her bare feet sunk into the muddy ground with every step she took, making her feel more vulnerable. Why were they quiet? Did they have something evil planned for her? But then, what could they do to her that could be worse than what they had already done? All she wanted to do was find her mother.
The weather was still moist, humid and the sky was depressingly grey, she had no idea if it was still morning and she could not ask the villagers at the market place as they seemed to be frozen in time. “What was wrong with them?” She wondered, if they won’t attack her like they used to, they should at least continue with their business. It all just seemed weird and abnormal.
But, what was normal? She wondered, the way they had accused her father, who was once a reverred priest of being a traitor to the king, or how they had beheaded him at the village square like a common criminal on the orders of the King who was once his best friend. Was that normal? Or when her mother had suddenly become struck with a strange illness and no one had thought to find a cure but rather, they had banished her and her sick mother outside the village. Was that normal? Or when she had to go to the market every market day just to get scraps and rotten food so her and her mother could survive or was it normal that all this began when she was just ten seasons old? She didn’t know what was normal anymore, maybe, she never even did know.
She was naked with only palm fronds to cover her womanhood as her clothes had been ripped off by the villagers the previous night.
She was different, she could feel it, how different she could not explain, but she felt warm inside, which was surprising for she was naked and the weather was harsh, normally, the villagers wouldn’t display their wares in this kind of weather. She felt like something was boiling inside her, waiting to explode. But just like she had earlier noticed, nothing was normal.
The first things that had run through her mind when she opened her eyes to find herself naked and curled in a ball on a pile of ashes, were, how she had gotten there? What had happened and where was her mother?
Oh… She stopped, she stood right in the middle of the market place, just opposite a little child who was playing with sticks beside his mother’s beads stall, oblivious to the frozen look on his mother’s face or the extreme quiteness of an otherwise bubbling market.
It was all coming back to her, last night, the villagers had stormed their little dilapidated hut, where she and her mother had been banished to ten seasons ago, in the outskirts of the village. They were carrying touches and machetes, for some reason they had needed a virgin maiden to sacrifice to Ina, the god of fire and who better to sacrifice than the only girl they hated, the only girl the King did not want to see, the girl whose only relative was a sick mother and whose father was a dead traitor.
“You are the reason I am still living. If you ever leave me, the orisun river will be my final resting place.” Her mother had once said to her admist a coughing fit.
“Mother, you know I will never leave you, don’t say things like that.” She had admonished gently, while holding her mother’s hands. And now she knew why she could not find her mother. The first place she had gone to when she stood up from the pile of ashes was her home but, the little hut had been razed to the ground. She then made her way to the market place, hoping to find her mother there. But, her mother wouldn’t be at the market place, her body would be floating on orisun, the river of life.
The boiling feeling inside her was getting harder and harder to suppress, as the realization of what had actually happened hit her. After they dragged her out of the hut, the last thing she had heard before she fell unconscious, was the wailing of her weak mother begging the villagers to let her daughter be.
How sure was she that all these had happened the previous night? It could have been three days, three moons or even three seasons ago. No, she wasn’t particularly sure when she had been burnt alive, sacrificed to Ina, the most brutal of all the gods. But she was sure that she wasn’t supposed to be alive, she was sure that the king and villagers had murdered her father and subsequently caused her mother’s suicide after making her a burnt offering to Ina.
But, they had made a mistake because somehow she was back. Like a phoenix, she had risen from the ashes, reborn, different and powerful. The fire they had burnt her with had become a part of her, it had become the essence of her life.
Without warning, the boiling thing in her exploded and her whole body was on fire, the tip of her rich and thick hair blazed a fearful orange colour and the rest of her body lit up like an inferno. Yet, she didn’t feel any pain, rather she felt alive, more alive than she had ever felt even when she lived.
Seeing her go up in flames and still standing finally released the villagers from their trance and pandemonium broke as they all began to run for their lives for they had never seen a thing like this in their lives.
Yes… They should run, they should be afraid for she was no longer the girl they bullied and tortured, she was a god; an invincible being created from the very fire they used to burn her and she would make them pay for every single pain they had caused her.
What do you think of this short story, what kind of emotions did you feel while reading this? I’d really love to know your thoughts in the comment section.