A jailer holds me down while another presses a red-hot iron against my forehead. I writhe and scream before I black out.
I wake with my own shriek ringing in my ears. The guards drag me out of the dungeon and hoist me onto a cart filled with other scholars. Our fear-filled eyes meet before we look away. As the cart rolls along, a bonfire of burning books flickers behind us. Ashes flurry in the autumn air and mourn for the knowledge lost. When we reach an empty lot, spears shove us off. We dig a pit, our own grave.
Toshiya Kamei is a fiction writer whose short stories have appeared in venues such as New World Writing, Trembling With Fear, and Utopia Science Fiction.