Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Brilliant Little Fire - A Tale Of the Town Of Renaissance (Pt 3)

Part 1: Joseph here
Part 2: Anna here

Part 3:  Aaron

Aaron made his way up the hill toward the two figures. The first rays of the sun felt pleasantly warm on his back; later, he knew they would cause his wounds to itch and burn. He cautiously approached the elderly couple on the hillside and raised a hand in greeting.

The woman's lined face broke into a smile.

“Good morning, Aaron.” She beckoned him closer, and he seated himself on the wet grass.

“Have you recovered from your flogging?”

Aaron felt his face flush, and yet there was nothing but an inquisitive look on Anna's face. The ways of Renaissance were still a mystery to him; all crimes were punished by public whippings, painful and humiliating, and yet afterward the perpetrator was treated as a member of the community once again, as though nothing had happened. Some took it as a blood baptism, a chance to start over with a clean slate. Others, who could not or would not change their behavior, sustained beating after beating until they were either incapacitated or died. Still, it was a system that seemed to work. His scars would remain as a reminder to himself, and everyone else, that he had both erred and paid his dues. Today would be a new beginning, to do with as he chose.

“I'm sorry,” he muttered to her, still feeling embarrassed. A newcomer to the town, he'd crept through a window in their cottage a few days before and stolen things that he'd needed; food, a blanket, a lantern. And one thing he hadn't needed; a leather bound book he'd found lying on the table. The Decline and Fall Of the Roman Empire. A touchstone from the old world, where life was nothing to him but an opportunity to drink, chase girls, and drag himself to boring lectures every day. A careless existence, until it had been swept away in a matter of days along with the bodies of his dead mates. He fancied a whiff of those long ago funeral pyres was tickling his nostrils.

Anna shifted her position, laying her husband Will's head in her lap and kissing him gently on the cheek. He was deeply, irrevocably, asleep.

“I would have given those things to you, had you asked,” she said sadly. “However, it's done, and so we move on.”

“I wish I could, you know, make things up to you both.”
“It isn't necessary for us. But it is, perhaps, for you. And so there is something that you can do.”

Aaron descended from the hill, the lifeless body of Will Mentzer draped tenderly in his arms. At the edge of town, he stopped.

“Go on, Aaron,” she urged. “There's nothing to be afraid of. He died a peaceful, natural death and that will be obvious.”

“It's not that,” he said miserably. “I can feel the blood on the back of my shirt. I hate the idea of everyone staring at me, knowing.”

“Dear boy, nearly everyone in Renaissance has flogging scars.” The rumble of Mayor Joseph Grey's voice reached them from the loudspeakers.
“Even the Mayor.”

Prompt:  A relationship strengthens
               A secret is revealed
Word count: 526
Character #3:  Aaron Hiestand

Click HERE for conclusion


  1. Oh, the flogging is a mean but at the same time very interesting idea. I'm very curious how this story will end.
    I'm really having a great time with this challenge!

  2. Not sure how mean, but it is severe in atonement and acceptance. I am sorry for Anna, with Will gone that way, but, it seemed peaceful.

    Yep..where are you going next/last?

  3. I love the way you're revealing so many layers of Renaissance bit by bit!
    There's so much history in this town I just want to know more.

  4. That's an interesting way of distributing justice . . . though I suppose it must work for the town if that's the way they do it.

    Great writing!

  5. Your story continues to be one of favorites of the Rule of 3 Fest. Truly a fascinating tale! Can't wait to see how it ends.

  6. I see your spin of a good tale has not diminished any. OOH and I love me some whips. :)
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

  7. You've kept up the mystery all three weeks now very well. I'm looking forward to the final week to see all the pieces put together! This town, for me, is vaguely 'Amish' in feel as I read, and I wonder if I'm 'seeing' what you are intending?

  8. I'm thinking euthanasia here, that they're going to hide in the burning town...

    Either way, you got this ominous feeling in your writing. Well done. :-)

  9. I take it we end with the town on fire? Phoenix/rebirth/renaissance? Nice.

  10. It's interesting that once a person is flogged, his crime is forgotten. That's so unlike real life.

  11. This story just gets better and better. Hopefully it won't all end in flames. Great work!

    I'll be back next week to see how it all ties up! :)

  12. This is one interesting town.

  13. Beautiful read. Sad, but full of hope.

  14. Very interesting. I'm looking forward to how you pull it all together.

  15. What a great insight into Renaissance -- public flogging! I'm looking forward to how you'll be weaving these three separate stories into one next week!

  16. I detest corporal punishment of any sort but if it acts as a deterrent in this town...all I can say is their town, their rules.
    I am curious how this will end and sad for Anna. Wonderful writing.

  17. Wow, that was a powerful closing to this episode. You are creating a fascinating world in meeting this challenge.

    Tossing It Out
    Please see my guest post at:
    So You Want to be a Writer?

  18. A really like the tone in this pieces. I love the relationships, great job!

  19. I could read more of this - after the last installment. What an interesting world you've created. And that was a teaser intro to Aaron, right? We'll see him again somewhere. I'm drawn to him . .


  20. Aww, poor Aaron. Still, interesting how everyone takes the flogging in stride - and that it's still not a deterrent enough for some people!

  21. Hmm alot of unusual things occuring at this town

    thanks for your visit

  22. Oh, I so loved that last paragraph!

  23. BTW Have you read Patrick Ness? Reading your excerpts today I'd say that you'd enjoy his Chaos Walking trilogy (YA fiction)