Khunbish stared through the grubby window, out across the spine of the steppe. She smelt the clouds gathering, sensed the droplets of water shiver as they pinged together, eager to fall. Soon the brown grass would shimmer like a million watching eyes.
She’d played her role well. Allowed her father and brothers to bind her, bundle her in the little shed among the unwanted things. Grew still as they padlocked the door. It calmed the men to believe they retained control.
But she couldn’t rest forever.
As the first bullet of rain hit the tin roof she twitched her wrists, shook off the nylon twine. She reached out with her mind until it pinged against steel, felt for the gaps between the molecules in the padlock and encouraged them to grow. Metal fell to the ground with a bony thunk.
The time had come.
Written for What Pegman Saw, the prompt that takes you all across the world via Google Street View. This week we visit Mongolia. See here to join in and to read the other stories.
When researching Mongolian names, I found Khunbish, a gender neutral name which, according to Mom Junction means ‘not a human being’.
I suspect that describes my character pretty accurately.
Flames shine through the stained glass – red, blue – the colours falling on my cowering children, faces lit with fire and ice.
Our attackers have stopped beating at the door. The night is hushed, aside for the whimpering of the children. Jack’s eyes are wide, cheek crusted with blood. His sister wriggles in his arms, reaching for me. The men would have killed them – will still kill them.
The stink of burning grows sharp, smoke billowing soft under the door. A pyre for me. Those men – mule eyed, calf faced – how solid have they grown imagining flames licking my neck, devouring my hair? They will share grim smiles – the ones who brought the proud witch down.
I close my eyes against the blinding smoke. Red and blue vibrate inside me, pulling together, hard as ice, unforgiving as flame.