Archived: Fading Light of the Dancing Flames by Erica Hansen (Senior)

The hot summer wind whipped her hair as she stood atop the bridge. Her pursuers weren’t far behind. She didn’t have many options left. Her wild brown eyes looked up toward the full moon shining brightly in the celestial night sky.

“Please forgive me,” she whispered to no one in particular.

The footsteps roared behind her. Cautiously turning, she faced the group of furious men gathering around her, their silver weapons glinting in the dancing flames of the torches they carried. Instinctively, she tried to back away from them, but the ancient stone bridge crumbled slightly, reminding her that she was already on its edge.

Her breath quickened. She tried to take the knife out from the folds of her evening gown, but one of her attackers noticed the subtle movement and threw his torch at her hand. She gasped in pain and cradled her hand against her chest, dropping the knife into the cold abyss below. More men began advancing on her, holding out rope to tie her up. She tried to think of a way to escape, but her mind was clouded by pain and panic.

In her moment of inner chaos, the words of her mother came to her, “Never let them take you. Take death before you take defeat. They don’t understand us. They don’t know the cost for freedom because they never had to pay it.”

This cleared her head for a moment. Frantically, she attempted to run around the hoard of men, and she almost succeeded, save for a silver tipped arrow shot from a vantage point high up in the darkness that impaled her abdomen.

The wound sizzled and her skin felt as if it was peeling away from her very soul. Her body racked with howls and for a moment her eyes flashed bright yellow. A chorus of howls answered her own. Losing her strength, she stumbled backwards over the edge of the bridge.

She fell and she smiled, poor girl.