Keeping with the theme of Wild Wednesday, where you never know what to expect, I’m once again diverging from the typical spec-fic post.
This week, I wanted to share a piece of flash fiction I wrote for a contest last year.
Hope you enjoy.
They call me Eir, the Healing Girl.
A wooden cage is my home, not to imprison me, but to protect me from being mobbed by the people I save. Horrid scars from hundreds of old diseases mar my skin. Many people find me repulsive. But every day more come, desperate for a chance at life.
I enjoy the comfort of my shelter—not that I have time or strength to leave. Pain is my constant companion. I hardly remember a time without it. Part of me wants to escape. At times, the temptation almost overwhelms me. But this is my place in the world.
Ignoring the faint aches of the day before, I stand and shuffle to the front of the cage. A line of ragtag people has gathered, waiting to see me.
My guard—there for my protection more than anything else—gives me an encouraging smile. “Today it will end.”
Hope surges in my heart. I’d forgotten. My fifteenth naming day. At sunset, I’ll be freed, sent to a deserving life of rest and health. After what I’ve endured, I can hardly imagine something so magnificent.
Leaning against the rough slats, I reach out to my first patient. A young woman who by her bruises fell afoul of some men the night before. She bends her head, and I take it between my hands. Fire burns through my veins. She gasps. Her bruises melt away as I receive them.
I breathe deeply.
Accept the pain. One more day.
The line continues, bringing the sick and wounded. They come despairing and leave crying or shouting for joy.
“Rest,” I murmur through cracked, bleeding lips. No, that will come tonight.
Like a vessel that’s slowly emptied of elixir to save others, I give them life. My bondage is their freedom. My suffering is their peace. My body quakes from the agony racing through me like a thousand shards of glass.
I take the facial bruises of the stableman who was in a fistfight. A gash and broken collarbone come from a young soldier. Pain throbs in my feet. The girl who had the deformed toes cries as she walks normally for the first time.
Sunset arrives, and the last person in the line reaches me. I lie on the ground, barely coherent. I want to sob, but it hurts too much. My body screams for relief. After acquiring the woman’s broken and infected leg, I sigh.
The cage door creaks open. I drag myself forward and barely exit the cage before my head sinks to the ground.
A caretaker scoops me up. He carries me to a quiet field and lays me on a blanket. As I stare at the rosy sky, the world begins to grow dim.
“Is it true?” I whisper. “Am I free?”
The caretaker smiles. “Yes, dear one.”
A deep voice fills the air. “You have done well. Come to your rest.”
A glow surrounds me. My pain fades like the mist at sunrise, and I bask in the blissful peace.
What did you think? I would love to hear your thoughts.