It isn’t fair!!! I need to get away!!
“Be ready to purify your soul, heathen!!”
The crowd thundered and cheered, whistles and catcalls sprouted out randomly. Suddenly, Sophie relaxed with a warm sensation running along her back as though a hand had rubbed it. She felt as though someone was soothing her, and she slowly lowered her eyelids, closing them off to the light, and the sound of the crowd was replaced with the sound of a light breeze.
Sophie began to recall her life. She remembered the sensation of being burned as she touched a hot pot, the frustration of trying to weave the first time, the fascination of hearing her father tell his tales of war and hunting trips, and the sadness of her brother’s death. Sophie saw snowflakes falling, the sunset on a late summer evening, the fields full of wildflowers, and the smiles upon her little brother and sister’s faces. The smell of clover and early morning breezes filled her nostrils and her soul. She could see the sick filling Tabi’s barn two falls ago, and felt the exhaustion of helping her take care of them. She felt the sharp edges of the healing stones as Heldrig taught her the art. Sophie saw Terrin laying naked against her and telling her how much he loved her, and wanted her to be with him forever. Her life began to flash in seconds and split images; until she could only open her eyes.
Sophie watched the knife plunge downward and saw it go through her chest. She heard a scream from the crowd and a rumble of excitement from the crowd. She watched the priest slowly began to dance around in glee with her blood upon his hands, but she felt no pain, no sadness, and no anger. She felt calm and accepting. Tilting her gaze to the sky, Sophie could see wings, blurred, but flapping, and the sound of the clapping wings thundered in her ears, blocking out all other sounds from the masses.
You will not die in vain, said a soft voice in Sophie’s head.
“Doves?” Sophie asked softly unable to fully see the pale objects swarming the platform. The spots became closer and darker.
Has the crowd literally become vultures and preparing to pick my bones clean??
The objects moved closer and Sophie’s eyesight began to clear, and she began to realize the objects were a flock of monarch butterflies. They flew from the wound in her chest, and her blood pooling around her knees. They flew from Atna’s shrine and the neighboring trees surrounding the square and all the spectators. Sophie could no longer hear the cheering and knew with the appearance of Atna’s patrons would bring change to her people. She smiled and felt herself fading away as death finally took hold, and she began to slump back. Sophie opened her mouth to release a few more monarchs trapped in her throat, and hoped they would pass on a tale of hope to her loved ones back home.