She confessed her wish, though she despised that such bitter roots of vengeful brutality could find purchase in the good earth of her soul. She wished for every last sex offender in every jail in the world to be dragged from their cells in that very instant. To be marched to the yard and burnt at the stake. One and all.
She imagined them struggling and striving against their restraints, impotently resisting the brutality of their tormentors as they were led to their doom. Just as she had been made to struggle and strive when she was a child, knowing nothing of humanity or mercy.
She imagined them pleading and begging for their lives, appealing to hearing but unheeding ears as their final fate was executed. Just as she had been made to beg and plead when she was vulnerable and defenseless, knowing nothing of leniency or clemency.
She imagined their faces, twisted and contorted in searing terror for what was to come, some calm and composed as she sometimes was. Detached and removed from grisly reality.
She imagined them chained to their stakes, the timber piled up all about them finally set alight. She imagined their panic and terror as the flames relentlessly grew and licked ever higher.
She imagined their helplessness. She remembered her own.
She imagined their screams and cries of agony. She remembered her own.
She imagined the prison guards and the prisoners standing by and watching as the horror unfolded. And she imagined those now consumed by the flames languishing in confusion.
She wondered if they asked why this was happening. She wondered if they asked why nobody came to their rescue.
Just as nobody had come to rescue her.
She wished that they might know if only for the briefest time, the hell on earth they had made of the lives they had infected with the filth of their sin. She wished for all of them to burn as she burned.
It made her feel terribly ill to imagine such things. And although it softened something of the jagged razor edges of her sense of abandonment, torture and betrayal, it occurred to her that the denial of this wish was all she had left.
Her capacity for mercy, the last shred of her humanity. Her tormentors had stolen everything from her but that, and she was damned if she was going to let them steal away with that too.
So, she confessed her wish. And she wept for herself, and she forgave herself that she could conjure such murderous savagery.
And she burned. Still, she burned.
But somehow cleaner, and a little brighter now.
Thank you for reading