Annabels Steps

The ceremony of cleansing the bad is upon us. Will we be too scared to go?

" Annabel, This is a huge step for everyone.." he continued " I remember Dad having to drag me the last 10 or 15 steps to the fire because I was too scared to walk myself."

Annabel’s face brightened, she could never imagine her brother being that scared. He was so much older and braver. It was almost comforting to hear him say that. Some small part of her still wanted to blurt out that maybe this wasn't for her and go home but Michael had insisted. Michael wanted more for her then she knew. Annabel was terrified of what tonight would hold but wasn't sure how to voice fear. It was at this point that the night officially begun.

The darkness started to creep around everything, making the field Annabel loved into a darkened lair. Michael stood up, and the pair continued on their way. Annabel tried to remember every rock and every little patch of flowers, to hide the fear internally. It kept getting darker, until she finally couldn't see much at all. Then Michael led her up the hill into the hollows of the inner wood.

All at once the atmosphere changed. From up here the only thing she could see was a fire about 200 yards away. The flames danced before her eyes, the bright reds, and yellows. The bad fire she thought. The fire was there to swallow her misdeeds and cast her clean, un-burdened soul to ask forgiveness for one more year. Every step brought her closer. This was her first time, at the bad burning. This was the first time she would be cleansed of her misdeeds, this was going to be a night to remember. She put her hand in her pinafore pocket and clutched her scrap of parchment. She noticed that her brother had done the same with his. For once she didn't feel all alone.

Annabel shivered and attempted to return his…

Annabel’s feet padded softly across the cool blades of grass. Tonight she would learn. She felt a soft chill brush over her and she clutched her brother Michael's hand tighter. In her pinafore pocket, was a small piece of paper in which Annabel herself had written all of her misdeeds from the last year. Although her penmanship was not beautiful or correct the misdeeds stood out like light on a mirror. Annabel had taken time to think about what it was she had done. She remembered a cow tipping incident that had cost her privileges for a week and a whipping from the parents. She also wrote that her and Marisa Mae, had spent their allowance on penny candy instead of on apples. She also wrote that her and Tanner Brown had kissed under the kettles at Harper's Inn after he got off evening chores.

Here her thoughts drifted far away, for she was unable to concentrate. Her eyes started to adjust to the setting sun, and she saw the remains of the day leave the sky. Her hand again tightened in her older brothers palm, to remind him of her fear. Michael kept walking. Annabel felt so alone and unhappy. She shook uncontrollably for a moment when it wasn't cold. She wanted to go home so badly that she finally just stopped in her tracks.  Annabel felt her stomach tighten as Michaels feet swept through the grass in front of her. He came down on one knee so that he was face to face with her. Along the horizon behind him she could see the remains of a once beautiful sunset trickle into the sky.

Although it was dark, Annabel could make out his face enough to see that he was smiling. He calmed her by putting his large hands on her shoulder and leaning in closer." I know this is scary, but after tonight you will be different” he whispered.

The End

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