Unlike others in her predicament, when she was ashes she would most certainly rise again.
The pain was dull. Nothing she couldn’t handle. Nothing she hadn’t had before. Nothing compared to what the others felt. Innocent of crimes no more heinous than owning a womb.
The Watchers could pay with nightmares she would give them. The ghosts of creatures gone before. The lingering vision of her melting face as the flames licked her hair and caused her skin to bubble and boil. She would give those who came to watch something to remember. They would inhale her ashy remains and carry a part of her they couldn’t escape inside them. All for collusion with a man more tyrant than preacher.
A blood curdling scream left her lips, something she’d perfected over time. It was the perfect pitch of pain and sorrow. The intonation of the innocent.
She knew He had grown hard to the fear, the revulsion, the smell of a corpse as it bleeds, blisters and burns at the hands of a fire made by frightened villagers. He had no nightmares, no remorse, no prickling of guilt.
She was almost used to Him. To his brand of nonchalant when it came to the taking of lives. Like her he had lived many lives. She had been convinced a version of her death would satisfy him but it had never been enough and the cold, grey, dead part of him had only grown stronger. Determined to wipe out anyone who even resembled Her.
She knew he took great pleasure in the watching, each scream she sent up to the heavens pulled a smirk at the corner of his mouth. Each anguished sob a twitch of pleasure about his face. As the skin of her stomach bubbled and split he smiled. Satisfied that his job had been done.
He was one thing.
The Watchers were another.
They had come out here for entertainment. Those with morbid, natural human curiosity had already turned away. Had realised their folly and fled back to their houses with the sound of screams echoing in the air. What remained were those she would test the stomachs of. Those who deserved to see the worst. Those still in the crowd could enjoy the burn, the sizzle, the cracking and blistering of her skin as the flames licked higher. They could inhale the smell of her fingernails as they cracked, blackened and dropped into the fire, spitting embers into the air. They could ingest her toxic skin as it fell to ash before them. They could choke on the smoke of her blood. The jagged filaments of her bone. They could carry the pleasure, the inability to turn away or stand forward, with them in ashy mouths back to their homes where nightmares would spring forth.
When most had left, disgust and boredom settling in where once curiosity and thrill had sat. She watched Him.
Through the hollows in her skull she watched Him as the last bits of flesh melted away.
She watched him watch the crowd. Watching for allies stood strong that he could use as more fuel for fire. Watching for those who’s lip twitches were smirks dripping with a sickening pleasure. Watching for those he could recruit to the cause. Watching for someone special, someone like Him.
Because of course, someone who hates a witch to the very core is one thing but someone who just wants to watch humans burn is another more ruthless kind of man. The kind HE needed for this cause.
She watched a handshake as her skeleton crumbled and she was released from the flames. So easy for him to recruit, so much harder for her. Which was why the taste of her remains on this new boys tongue would see him dead before sunrise.