The clouds above us were dark, but from beyond the mountain ridge, I could see the beginnings of a golden ray of light. It shone upwards into the sky, turning the grey into a golden yellow. It was a positive sight, one that would ordinarily fill me with hope.
Yet this wasn’t the time to be hopeful – not when I knew where that light was coming from. I turned to Alica, but no words came. What was there to say to someone after all of this time? Thank you? I’ll see you on the other side? Nothing seemed adequate.
Alica knew, though. She entwined her and in mine, smiling slightly.
“We tried,” she whispered, a tear rolling down her face. “We really did, but we can’t run forever.” I nodded, eyes on the horizon once more as black figures began to sprout from behind the hillside. In their hands, flickered the red-hot flames that had stained the sky yellow. It was not a sunrise, but an end – a final end.
“It seems unfair,” I said, feeling rather stupid. Alica laughed, squeezing my hand slightly.
“You know what?” she asked through fresh tears. “I think that you might be right.”
I tried to return her smile, but my mouth didn’t seem capable of the movement. The figures were getting closer now, and the closer they grew, the hotter those torches seemed to burn. How painful was it to be burned alive? From all that I’d seen, it was the worst pain imaginable – worse even than that, perhaps.
“I don’t want to give them the satisfaction,” I said suddenly, as I pulled Alica further away from the figures. “They don’t deserve it.” She glanced down at the cliff face behind us, eyes wide.
“They’ll at least give us a trial,” she whimpered, almost pleading with me.
I simply stared at her, eyebrows raised, and she sniffed back her tears, nodding. “They wouldn’t even give us a chance to defend ourselves. The trial would be an excuse to accuse us all over again.” She renewed her grip on my hand and, impossibly, she smiled.
“Let’s do it.”
Word Count: 355.
Thank you so much for reading! This piece of writing was inspired by Sue Vincent’s weekly photo prompts. Each week, she posts a photo for writers to have a go at interpreting. There are no word counts and no limits, which are just some of the reasons why this is such a great challenge. If you’re interested, why not get involved?