schrik...a match flares brilliantly in the thick ink of a recessed door off the alley way, settling into a warm glow exposing only a jagged mouth and chin.
what are you looking for?
he waits for specific words that will let him know i am here for a reason. my lips spill them before they leave my addled mind and he allows me to pass, his cold grey eyes following me each step of the way. his lips purse, blowing out the flame with the howl of a great wind.
course hands grab me, forcing a hood over my head, binding my wrists. voices whisper from all directions. a firm grip pinches my upper arm, pulling me through a river of twisting passages, up and down stairs, prolonged stops where they leave me, only to find me again, moving. my head swims, breath hot, pushed back in my face by the clothe.
concrete chews my knees, my eyes pinch tight, blinking, slowly becoming accustomed to the light, hood rustling off my face. the only thing visible is a worn brown skull, surrounded by crimson candles on gold pedestal holders. voices boom from the shadows, as i stare into the empty sockets, a litany of responsibility and secrecy.
working myself upright with arms bound takes effort. achieving the task, a hand snakes out of the shadows, pushing me backwards, others lower me into a plywood box. darkness envelopes, a lid is placed and hammers begin to pound, sealing my fate.
fingers become my eyes, feeling the cramped space for what they can see; nothing. the coffin rises from the ground, swaying with movement as muffled voices begin my eulogy. ropes hum against the wood and i feel myself lowered to a jarring clomp on the ground. earthen smells seep in through the cracks, heavy thumps of what i can only assume is dirt rattles against the lid.
i don't know if i can bear this.
nails scream, the lid pulls free and they bid me rise.
you are one of us now.
i see their faces, now in the light, smiling. i smile to keep from crying, my heart skipping with excitement and relief. it will be two years before i realise some matches can't be blown out so easy, once lit. eventually the secrets begin to burn the tips of your fingers, and they won't let you drop it.
they may even be reading this now.
This was written for the picture prompt at Magpie Tales.