Flint and Tinder


Author's Note : This is an old idea, but I was thinking about it as I read my friend's story on his website, and suddenly I felt inspired to write again! Thanks Dave!

Setting: Puritan America, 1560

I stepped out into the cold air and gasped for breath. I loathed Sunday mornings, especially when it was the dead of winter. The walk from our home to the town Church was very long and difficult, and near impossible in a foot of snow. I could see my little brother ahead, playing in the snow. I waded through, my feet freezing and face burning from the wind. My parents stepped out of the house, looking as if they had stepped into sunshine; smiling and pleasant, an appearance I hadn't mastered yet. They always enjoyed Sundays, they felt it a time to pretend they were a part of society. What they didn't realize is how much an affect I have on them.

My name is Deborah, and I study witchcraft. My parents don't know, of course, but there were people in town who thought me a meddler. My grandmother, wise and dear to me, practiced witchcraft in her life. Every time I would visit her, she told me of how it was in England as a child, and learning the craft. I thought of her unnaturally blue eyes and silver hair, how she would bake for me when she had the means, and always taught me something new when I saw her. When I was six, she told me about witchcraft. At first I was frightened, but awed that my grandmother had the courage to take on such a thing. I listened to her as she explained that she was a good witch, and she didn't curse of harm those that had wished no ill will on her. The more I grew, the more she taught me. Untill one day…

The moon glittered overhead and the stars were like fireflies, and bats danced quickly above our heads, begging for attention in spite of the glorious moon. My grandmother let me outside one night, and told me the story of Beltane. Beltane was always my favorite witching holiday, where a fire is lit and flowers are worn in honor of the coming of the light season and the third fertility holiday. My grandmother told me it is one of two times of the year where time practically stops and the veil between our world and the world beyond is at it's very thinnest. I sat eagerly on a log near the balefire, and listened to traditional stories of the God and Goddess, and wonderful tales of faeries and legendary deities. I was supposed to be able to stay up and watch the rising of the Pleiades stars, but that night we heard a woman scream. My grandmother was frantic; she threw some water on the fire and pulled me inside. She hid me under a quilt and bid me quiet. Just then, a tall man, cloaked in black stormed in the door. I sobbed quietly as he stole my grandmother away, under charge of witchcraft. I looked out the window as the stars rose just before the sun.

My grandmother was burned at the stake 2 weeks later. I remember everything about that day. Her eyes didn't look how I expected them to. They had more spirit and flash in them than any star. The Goddess shone through her hair and skin, and she showed more pride than courage. As she stood on the gallows, her eyes locked with mine in the crowd. Other eyes stared at me, and voices whispered, but only she mattered. I knew what she was trying to tell me, though she said no words. She wanted me to defeat all odds, and know that she would be okay, that the God and Goddess would not let her die in pain, for she has done no wrong.

"Deborah! Hurry along now, we will be late if you wander!" My mother called after me. I snapped out of my reverence to find myself standing in snow to my ankles. My parents were a good distance ahead of me, but could barely be seen in the cloud of white snow swirling around us.