Cradled By Ash

On the steps of the church stood the priest, Dionigi Sposito, preaching his message to the townspeople. Most walked past, casting a glance of judgement on him, but nonetheless a few listened solemnly to what he had to say.Cirilla Gianelli passed him as she chased up the steps. She threw open the tall, looming doors, her protégé, Leo, at her side. He followed her quickly, purely silent, as she walked through the grand hall. Her heels clanged heavily against the ceramic floor of the ancient cathedral built many years ago.Priestess Cirilla avoided his gaze as she kept her own forwards. The duo approached a table in which she walked up to. On the table was a crucifix and a sealed bottle of holy water. The Priestess picked them both up and handed them to her protégé with a small smile nodded towards him.”Well,” Cirilla began, “The burial is today. That young girl. Lidania, whatever her name is. I want you to do it. It’s a shame, she was such a lovely girl.”Leo blinked, a shudder he felt, “I can’t do that,” He protested to her, “You know I’m not that good.”The church’s main hall had six pillars littered around, with two doors in between them, leading to various rooms. Cirilla pointed to one pillar’s doors.She whispered to him, “The girl is sitting in that room there. See her now, and perform the burial. Your evaluation, if you wish. Just make sure it’s respectful.”Cirilla walked away before he could respond, throwing him into a scenario: he could put the tools back, or do the evaluation. He felt butterflies in his stomach: he didn’t even believe he could do it right.He knew what he had to do, and with a frustrated sigh, walked into the room. It was empty, and the floor charred with ash as if a fire had occurred, though if you looked at any other area of the church, there would not be any more evidence for this. A small girl laid on the floor in the centre, cradled by hands of ash and curled up in the fetal position. He held up the tools but she sat up suddenly, glaring at him.He tried to stop her, but he was thrown back. Scales consumed her like wild-fire, the ash warming her skin and the smoke turning into her tongue and teeth.When the smoke cleared, no longer laid a small girl but there lurked a huge beast, perching her wings like a predator about to strike towards the large hole she had made in the wall, fire pouring out of her reptilian nostrils like carbon dioxide. A giant whoosh of air, and she was gone. He stared at the hole in horror. The myths the priests told him when he was younger, that they religiously assured him were mere lies, the stories of the witchcraft school teaching of turning into huge beasts known as dragons, he wondered, were they real?

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