All around her, Becky could hear people begin to beg. Screeching for clemency like a repentant man taking the walk to the gas chamber. She couldn’t see them, but hundreds of thousands of bodies writhed on wooden slabs much like her own. They stretched out into the distance for miles and miles. The walls too were stacked high with tables, some flat, others ranging through various gradients all the way to completely erect, some people even inverted. While many were naked, the majority were clothed. Becky could see all manner of clothing, from business suits and swimming costumes to wedding dresses and fancy costumes. She saw men and women, boys and girls of all ages, each bound individually to their own table, custom made to their size.
“No, no more, please, please, I’m sorry…I’m sorry!” Becky heard a voice scream.
Becky looked and saw a young girl only a few years older than herself.
Becky vomited; choking and spluttering as she swallowed a great deal of it back down into her lungs.
The girl was black, her skin colored not by race but flame. Her entire body was chargrilled, the flesh peeling off in large, thick flakes, revealing the raw skin beneath. It glistened like dew on an early spring morning. Her hair was all but gone; just a few burnt locks remained clinging weakly to her scalp. Both of her eyes had burst, leaving two empty holes behind, yet they stared at Becky, pleaded with her as if she was the key to their release.
The rumbling of the flame grew louder, as did the gnawing need for a fix. Becky’s stomach was twisted into a large knot that wouldn’t move. Her throat burned from the vomit, while her head spun and sang out at the top of its voice. She could feel the hot air burn her skin, she could smell it cooking, the way she could smell her skin after a day in the sun. The fireball was closer now; she could hear the screams from the others as it hit them, roasting them but somehow keeping them all alive. Just before it hit them Becky heard the unmistakable sound of rain. The drops were intermittent at first, but soon they became a downpour. It didn’t take long for her to realize that it wasn’t rain that was falling, but the result of a multitude of bladders all releasing that the same time. A strong smell filled the air for those last few seconds. A golden shower fell, and soaked them all.
Only a hundred meters or so to go, Becky would have said. The burning orange light became too much for her and she had to just shut her eyes and grit her teeth…
Her body screamed in pain as her skin began to blister.
The wait was always the worst part. Some days the fire would be slow, and on others it would seem to last an eternity. There was never a quick session: they didn’t like that. They liked to take their time, to play with them in the flames.
…a brilliant flash of light.
…Becky screamed, but there was no pain.
Not this time.