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My ears are ringing, as though the scream perforated my eardrums and pierced my brain. My head is splintering as I stand, teetering. I’m startled and the ground is unsteady; moss, rocks, vines and tree legs rooted in the ground beneath my bare, blood-stained feet. Trying to catch my bearings, I look  around. To my right I can see a small beach through the trees, the ocean beyond it. Which ocean, I’m not sure. To my left the forest grows dense. 

On the ground is a brown leather jacket with insignia I don’t recognize. There’s blood caked to the inside in places and it’s slightly torn but I put it on, not wanting to leave behind something useful. The left pocket thuds against my leg as I swing the jacket on. Inside is a set of brass knuckles. I can’t think of a single useful trait of the foul object, and toss them aside. 

I begin my walk heading toward the beach. Perhaps I can get my bearings from there. Once I reach the sand I realize it’s only a small cove, with cliffs on both sides. I spot what must be the highest cliff somewhere to the south. I walk toward it for what seems like hours, climb up and take in my surroundings. I’m on an island. I’m no geographer, but the island looks to be at least three miles across. Through that thick forest it may take a day to reach the other side. Short of plunking down to wait in the sand, trudging through the foliage is my only viable option.

It takes less time to get back into the forest, but the light is waning. The sun has begun to set and everything it touches is pinkish. Amid the trees; however, there is little light. 

I begin to walk, looking for the sort of tree I might be able to shelter under or climb up into for the night. After awhile I come upon a village with a perimeter ring of bonfires and torches. The circle is so bright, I have to squint until my eyes adjust. I’m not sure they ever do, and I develop an incessant, pulsing headache behind my eyes. 

Forcing myself to walk between the fires I find myself in what must be the center of the village. All of the houses are arranged in a semicircle and facing toward the beach I left behind me, Behind them is a tall wall-like cliff that appears to be some dark stone like granite or lava rock, but it’s hard to tell if it was naturally constructed. There is a glow coming from a small stone circle in front of the houses. The rune-marked construction surrounds what appears to be a small girl, but her hair is aflame… Or it is flames. There are flames coming from her hands and feet and she’s staring at me with eyes like embers. She opens her mouth as though to scream and I put my hand up trying to calm her. She screams a glass-shattering scream that I feel I’ve heard before. Perhaps in my dreams?

Spears appear from the doors of the stone houses, holding them are lean warriors. They’re bodies have unfamiliar runes drawn all over them, similar to those on the stone circle. They appear to be drawn with black paint or soot from a fire. They approach cautiously, then quickly motion for me to move forward. The shout something at me which I don’t understand, then glance furtively at the fiery girl and back at me. I begin to move forward and as I do, she stands. The warriors shrink back into their huts, spears sticking out of the doors, shaking. 

A small, musical voice speaks to me in my mind.

"Remove the stones," she says.

I’ve never heard this voice, it’s words burn comfortably in my brain like a slightly too-warm cup of tea flowing through my body. 

"They’re only afraid."

Looking about, I realize the girl is looking right at me, searing me with her eyes.

"I must save them," she says more urgently. "Set me free and I shall be swift. It will only sting for a moment."

I walk toward her, against my will, it seems. I wish now that I’d not discarded the brass knuckles. Despite the jacket and caked mud and blood, I feel utterly naked, exposed. I take step after step, closing the ten yard distance between us. I pause as my toes brush the stones. The runes are emanating a fiery light, warning me to stay back. My head hurts and my eyes water at the sight of them. I cover my eyes with my hands and try to resist her pulling me. I fall into the stones and they burn my skin. Crawling backward as quickly as I can, I look up. She steps out of the circle, gingerly, careful not to touch the scattered stones. Something dark trails from her eyes and down her warm cheeks. She holds out her hand for me and I feel myself become increasingly more aware of my fear.

She is fire. Fire burns.

The Moon rises behind the black cliff, full and huge. I cry out to her. Lifting my head I hold nothing back. Mother, save me. Give me strength!

"I must save them, child," says the girl. "They are but frightened little things who have little hope to claim as their own."

I yell for the Moon again, not quite knowing why, not quite knowing what to expect. 

"Down."

Before I realize, I’m laying on the ground, head between my paws. The scent of blood on them is tantalizing. It smells like the cowering warriors.

"Peace," she says, as she leans down and touches the fur between my eyes. It burns. My eyes, my head, my body… All I feel is the fire, the heat consumes me and I’m no longer thirsty. For a moment, I’m glad.

(Source: plotsforall)

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