This is how I’m going to die, Olive thought. She opened her eyes and looked into the roaring crowd. Hundreds of eyes peered back, lusting for her blood.
It was just a week ago that she was an average sixteen year old who spent most of her time shopping at the mall and fighting with her mother. While her own mortality had sometimes crossed her mind, Olive could never have imagined for death to come like this.
In a far away land, convicted of witchcraft, and burned at the stake.
1. Whispering Pines
"Some stories are true that never happened." -Elie Wiesel
Olive knew they were being sent away because of the divorce. After eighteen years of breaking up and making up, her parents were finally making it official. Her father moved to Orlando with his twenty four year old girlfriend and her mother got a face lift and a boob job. The Conrad family was no more and it was time for everyone to move on.
The bus ride from suburban Ft. Lauderdale to rural West Virginia was interminable. Olive stopped counting the hours long ago. She stared blankly out the window, watching the world turn. Orange groves and manicured lawns slowly morphed into rural roads and maple trees. The people changed along with the scenery. It was peculiar to her, how reluctant the northerners were to incorporate vibrant colors into their wardrobes. It was almost June yet many still hid their pasty skin and shapeless bodies under layers of beige and brown.
She remembered that West Virginia didn’t seem so far away when she originally agreed to go. It was no doubt that travelling with her brother Andrew made things more tedious. They were a year apart yet barely cordial. A cold war was declared a few years ago but a diplomatic resolution was still in the works. They spent most of their time ignoring one another and Olive figured that they would never speak again after his graduation. Not unless it was absolutely necessary.
There was still this summer though. Three whole months of only Andrew, Uncle Edmond and… William.
Now there was a complicated history. They first met six years ago, when she was ten and he was twelve. William’s mother married her uncle, Olive’s mother’s brother and they became instant friends. For many years, Aunt Emily and Uncle Edmond felt more like family to her than her own parents. Her favorite Christmases were the ones spent with the Abbotts’ in Connecticut. Away from the fights and awkward silences of her own home.