He strained against the ropes as the sun moved across the sky above the trees. A gentle breeze made the canopy whistle and sway. It was the only sound.
He still saw the painted face under the tousled hair, the horrific voice still echoed in his head.
‘The judgement of the Gods will decide your fate. When the sun is at its zenith it will shine through the hole in the bowed tree. Should your skin burn then the Gods will have decreed your death. Should the ropes burn then you shall be free.’
She was out there somewhere in the undergrowth, watching him, along with the rest of her tribe, those that followed her as their deity. They waited to see his fate sealed. The collection of bones at his feet, picked clean of their flesh, did not bode well.
The more he struggled the more the ropes tightened around his wrists above his head, around his torso and his ankles. Strung up like a piece of dead meat there was nothing he could do.
He cursed the day he had discovered the tribe of female warriors. He cursed their make-believe Gods. He cursed the way he had trusted them.
His eyelids fluttered as the sun peeked through the tree tops and aligned with the hole in the tree. The hole in which the convex glass sat, magnifying the rays onto a point on his forehead.
His skin began to burn.