Burned at the Stake

A brand new short story


Ninanna Mur’ en- kamara watched as two guards passed her carrying a rabid, screaming woman with red-hair. She got a glimpse of her face, which would be beautiful if it weren’t for that large chin of hers. Her eyes were green, a rare color amongst the people of Anyura kingdom, but was a common trait found beyond the mountains which walled the desert from the jungle.

She was standing in the desert a generous distance away from the gates of her kingdom with the rest of the guards. Most of the guard was male. So as a woman, she was more than lucky to get in, especially with her exceptional leadership skills.

One could mistake Ninanna for a queen with her loud, commanding personality. But in this moment, as the lady was dragged closer to the stakes, she remained quiet; it was the same with the crowd of lowborns around her.

She didn’t know what the woman did wrong, so she placed a shaking hand on a guard’s shoulder, and said in a soft tone, “What did the woman do wrong?”

The guard turned his head slowly, “It’s none of your business, Nin. We don’t fraternize with traitors, nor do we make friends with them. They are to be killed, by the order of the Queen.”

She huffed and watched as the guards fastened a rope around the woman’s torso and neck. She clenched her hand in an attempt to contain her anger. She may not have known the woman, but the red hair reminded her of a friend that she was once close to, before the woman started to grow crazy. Like the damned woman, her friend also had green eyes and a nice sprinkling of freckles on her face.

She knew she had a love for her the first few months she got to know her. She loved her laugh, her smile that would show up right after Ninanna said something funny. But the love quickly vanished for her after they got into an argument about angels, after that one night where she got humiliated by the Queen. The woman’s name was Nineveh.

I need to know who that red-haired gal is. She thought to herself, watching the imprisoned woman as she screamed louder and louder. It almost sounded like Nineveh. And it sounded like sobbing.

She screamed, “Please let me go, I didn’t do anything wrong. I have a child!!” She cried.”

Several guards walked in a line, carrying two logs each in their arms. The guards were followed by Her Majesty, Lilith, who herself was carrying a torch. Her Majesty looked at Ninanna and chuckled in her deep female voice. And for a second, she smiled, her face and sharp nose pointed at Ninanna, “I promise you, she will have a proper funeral.”

The Queen’s eyes, which were violet seemed to glow for a second as she said the last line. And by the way her voice sounded, she was actually happy about seeing someone die. And that person was who was seconds near death was Nineveh, her friend.

As soon as the Queen moved towards the stake. Ninanna’s ears were assaulted by the sounds of crying infants, as they too, were carried closer to the stake.

What is going on? What are babies doing here? Are they about to be killed? Ninanna went on.

Nineveh? Babies? No this has to not be true. Am I dreaming?

She placed her hand on the backside of that same guard, she asked the question too. “What is going on.”

His response, “It was the angels. Now leave me alone!”

He walked away.

***

She was left dumbfounded. Angels. It all made sense now. Ninanna was in love — she was in love with — an angel.

Ninanna remembered the conversation as if it were yesterday, and it happened after the night after Nineveh got into a fight with Queen Lilith, and got sent to her room while heaving bone wracking sobs. Ninanna understood why. The Queen was about to fire her from being a servant. And to her, that probably meant that she was going to be on the streets.

After she witnessed the scene, Her Majesty directly ordered Ninanna to patrol Nineveh’s quarters as a guard; it was all night task. Then everything happened so fast. A flash of blinding white light and a slam of a door.

A few months passed, and Ninanna was getting more interested in being in her room than doing work. Her friendship with Nineveh was getting strained to the point where Nineveh wouldn’t let her talk to her. It didn’t take long for her to notice that Nineveh was mysteriously pregnant. And it didn’t take long for the Queen to notice either. The Queen suspected that she might be sleeping with another servant — a man — which ruined it for Ninanna. Ninanna was madly in love with Nineveh.

A few months later, after the baby was born. The Queen was the first to inspect the child. Noticing that the baby seemed to glow, she had trouble determining the father. No one could produce a child which seemed to glow with radiant light. She went away from the baby and checked on the other servants and asked the royal scholars if they could determine the father.

When she got back to check on the baby, it vanished. The scholars went with her as well, and concluded that the baby’s father was an angel.

The Queen grew furious and demand that all Nephilim newborns should be burned, as well as their mothers.

Which is why Ninanna is now staring at four peasant women screaming, while being dragged to be tied up and burned. To her, they were all pretty with slim bodies and large breasts much similar to the Queen’s own figure. Unlike Nineveh, their eyes were brown, and their hair ranged from medium brown to black. But like Nineveh, their skin was as brown as caramel.

Ninanna kept her mouth closed as she watched the guards lifted up more stakes into the air.

The guards that were carrying the babies placed each baby on the sand near the stakes, while tying the four women to their own individual pole. She watched as more mothers got placed and tied up right next to the babies. Each stake had one baby each, but one mother, the one with the medium brown hair — she had two babies placed next to her. Like the mothers, the babies were tied up.

Then finally, the logs were placed down. Ninanna watched as the logs were stacked up to trap the mothers in. The act took ten to twenty minutes for the logs to be placed down. And by the time, the woman stopped struggling against their ropes.

After the sound of a baby’s cry, Lilith lifted her torch into the air and everyone watched as the fire from the torch turned into balls of fire and lit the kindling itself.

The Queen dropped her unlit torch to the ground. Her smile turned slack as she looked over the crowd, her hair and robes blowing in a phantom wind.  “This is what happens to people who disobey against religion. This is what happens to people who fraternize with supernatural beings and disobey my rule. They die.”

Everyone: guards, commoners, peasants; they all cheered. Everyone, except Ninanna as she listened to the cries of the Nephilim mothers as they got burned.

A stray tear went down her face and she huffed a few breaths before aiming her spear toward the queen.

She ran — while letting the weapon guide her way towards Her Majesty’s heart.

She let every ember of anger fill her body as Nineveh’s cries grow louder, her flesh being burned to the bone.

The Queen batted the spear away and the target switched to Nineveh. The spear dug itself into Nineveh’s torso causing blood to pour down through her clothes. Ninanna watched as her friend writhed around in pain. Then she looked down. Nineveh had no children placed beside her.

“What do you think you’re doing?”

The Queen turned her head.

Ninanna didn’t respond.

Her answer was replied with a punch to the face. The Queen recoiled and screamed, while covering her eye.

Ninanna struck again, this time kicking the Queen in the torso. The Queen fell to the ground, thrashing.

It was too late before she realized that the hands of two guards pinned her to the ground. Sand billowed up and collected in Ninanna’s mouth. She coughed. The guards were strong: elites dressed in purple and silver: royal colors. One of the guards unsheathed a dagger from their belt and held it against Ninanna’s jugular.

“Move and I kill.” The guard said, leaning against her face.

She kicked the guard in the groin, noticing that his family jewels were close to the tip of her leg.

He groaned and dropped his dagger. Ninanna quickly picked it up and plunged it into his back. Before the other guard could grab a hold of her, she rolled away. She took the knife out of the bodyguard’s back and aimed it at the Queen, but the Queen remained calm and held out a finger.

Without a word, Ninanna found herself choking on blood and fell to the ground. Her vision went black.


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KE Blackham

Hello, my name is KE Blackham. I grew up with Utah after a diagnosis of Autism. I really struggled in my first year of school, often being taken out of my class to work with multiple para’s and teachers, who all very much adored me. But, everything else was hard. Kids got into fights with me, sometimes making fun of me. I had no friends and the only thing I had was my made up worlds. When I got my hands on Sarah J. Maas’s books I got inspired to write at the young age of 17. I decided that my drawings needed to have their own story. I put pen to paper and started to write. I started on my first draft of “Starchild Rising,” and instantly fell in love with Aeoliah, one of my main characters and continued her journey on paper. So far she has blossomed into this character I love. Now let's see exactly how far my writing journey will take me!
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