A little girl sat on a chair in an otherwise empty room. Pale moonlight entered through a small window behind her. Moonlight, the gentle sound of the ocean and its salty smell. The night would have been perfect, if not for the constant screaming of the people around her and the fact that she had no idea where she was. The girl wanted to cover her ears, but her hands were tied. All she could do to get away from it was close her eyes. But as soon as she did, all they were screaming about came to life before her inner eye. The ground shaking from walking rock and blasting fire. The sky covered by giant birds.
She shook her head to clear it, to make room for remembering the beauty this mild spring morning had brought. For the first leaves, she had seen on the old oak tree near her house, when she passed it on her way to get the flowers her mom liked to decorate their woodshop with. For how good she felt after her dad had told her that he was proud of how helpful she always was.
What were they thinking now? Now that she hadn't returned. Now that she had spent hours in a bumpy wagon, hours on a swaying ship, hours on this hard, wooden chair.
Squeaking made the girl open her red, watery eyes. She saw a woman walking toward her. The hood of her robe covered most of her face, making her look a bit like the priest they always went to see so early in the mornings. Always on the day, they wouldn't have needed to get up for work. But only a bit, for she was more colorful, more luxurious, more menacing.
The others didn't seem to notice her, and she didn't take notice of them. Instead, the woman kept on coming closer, going through a busy keyring on her way to the girl's cell. Once she reached the barred door, she still had to try a few before it clicked open.
»What is your name, my dear?«, the woman asked crouching down before her.
»Well Emely, you will have to be brave for me today.« Her white teeth gleamed in her shadowy face when she tried to smile. »I had hoped for my men to bring me someone older. In fact, I had instructed them to. I really do not need another child.« She sighed. »Next time I'll just have to do it myself. Like everything else.« The woman hit her thighs before slowly getting up. »But it is how it is. So you will have to do for now.«
Emely looked up with a pounding heart, as the woman spread her arms and a dome of flickering light extended around her. It soon covered the girl completely, at which point the woman bent in one finger after another, starting with her pinky. With each one touching the palm of her hand, the dome got pulled back in further, taking all noise and all light with him. When both thumbs lay on her closed fists, the girl couldn't hear and couldn't see, for there was nothing left but the salty smell of the ocean.