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Apr 29, 2007

Why would an ambulance be leaving the hospital?

I'll play! Gimme a bonus fact please.


Apr 29, 2007

Why would an ambulance be leaving the hospital?

Salamander 792 words
It is said that the scales of a salamander will, if properly cared for, grow into live young.

When I was small and cried for cold or hunger, my sister would gather me in her strong arms and tell me the story of how our mother died.

My mother was tall and red-haired and had an easy laugh. She was easy for us children to love, but she did not govern her tongue around those she thought foolish, so some people in the town conceived a hate for her. When she went out to help the women, in their sickness and their childbirth, there were those in the town who would spit and turn away, and swear they would never ask such an indecent and unholy woman into their houses. But still she saved lives, and the silver her saving brought saved us, too, when work was hard to get and my father sat idle week after week, and we wanted for food and drink.

One such man who hated her rose up in the town, rich and prosperous, and he spoke poison about her to others, so her friends grew fewer, except among the poor women who relied on her help. And then, in a famine year, it came to be known that there was a witch hunter abroad in the county, going from town to town. The rich man told lies of my mother, how she had looked upon his horse and it died, and how she attended a birth and the child was born alive and my mother saw it die. In those days the town was weary with hunger, and they turned easily on someone who spoke out so roughly as my mother did. The rich man denounced her a witch, and when they came to take her from our house, she swore and struck the sheriff's man with a stone, so he was unconscious three days.

They would have hanged her for that, but she was determined she would burn. She pretended meekness and when their hold loosed she leapt at the rich man and she tore out his throat with her teeth. The blood, my sister said, stained the very step of our house.

The guardsmen had some difficulty in keeping the people of the town away from the cell where she waited for the time of execution. My father took us smaller children into the countryside and hid there with his brother, but my sister hid herself close to the place and she saw it.

They brought out my mother with her head high and her eyes blazing. She called out to each person she saw as the sheriff's men walked her to the place. "Margaret, did I not deliver your daughter's child safe into the world? Osric, did I not cure your wife's vomiting so she still lives today?" There were those, my sister said, who turned away with their faces red and ashamed, but most did not. Most stood cold and furious, and hated her.

She let them tie her to the stake, in her long white dress, and she would not let the executioner come with his rope and give her the mercy of strangulation. She spat at him and drove him away with curses. They piled fuel around her feet and set it alight, and she did not cough, my sister swears this. She did not cough nor cry out. Her dress caught and flared up with a brightness like the sun, so folk could not look on it. She gave one cry, one loud shout of fury, and then, my sister said, her body writhed strangely in the flames.

Her body peeled apart into a thousand burning shapes that spilled out through the fire and into the crowd that had gathered there, and everywhere they touched, the flames sparked up and people began to scream and die. And my sister said that even those who fled and put out the fires sickened thereafter and died of poison, and the wells of the town were invaded by the burning shapes and were foul thereafter.

My sister said that one of the shapes ran by her, and it was a thing like a fiery lizard that looked on her and knew her, and ran on to find new fuel. She stole away and fled to my father and told him, and he forbade her to speak of it, so in the years that followed as we fled to a new home in the north, she would only whisper it to me as she held me in her arms.

Now I am grown, and sometimes, when I am afraid of the world and its anger, I think I feel the scales beneath my skin, and the fire burning in my heart. Let them come for me, one day. I am ready.

Apr 29, 2007

Why would an ambulance be leaving the hospital?

Thanks Yoruichi!

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