Three years ago…
“We will have trust.”
“And we will have forgiveness.”
“But before we can have forgiveness…”
“We must have acceptance.”
“Can you accept the wrongs you have done, child?”
I cannot see. The world is distorted. I think it is because my tears run far too thick.
Yes yes yes, I think, but all I can do is whimper. Yes yes yes.
But I do not answer. I cannot. There is fire in my back and there is fire in my heart. I can do nothing for the fire in my back. I fear if I try, there will be more. But the fire in my heart must be quenched. I cannot let it consume me. I cannot show my hate for the world.
It is what led me here, to the Redemption Post.
I arch my back away from the biting whip, my mouth opening in a silent scream. But my throat is stuck together, causing me to choke. Tears stream down my cheeks. I have to say something. I know I have to say something.
“Evangeline.” The voice is deep, demanding while retaining an air of patience. It belongs to the man who holds the whip. I have heard his voice many times before, and I know what he asks of me now. He wants an answer, of course he does. He always wants an answer.
“Yes,” I gasp, slumping against the smooth wood in defeat. My wrists are tied above my head with rope, and they chafe while my back burns. “Yes…”
I hear the whip slap against the ground, and I know it is being cleaned of my blood. “Thank you, Evangeline. Because of this acceptance, you can be forgiven. And because you can be forgiven, you can be trusted.”
“Welcome back to Amity.” A horde of voices murmur the phrase meant to forgive those who have committed Offenses. I close my eyes, not wanting to see the faces of those who have watched my shame. I remain still only long enough for my wrists to be cut free and for a blanket soaked in water to cover my back before I collapse sideways, curled into a ball in the mud.
Welcome back to Amity.