Latin: /'vɒks pɒpjʉliː/ VOICE OF THE PEOPLE

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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

"It was a pleasure to burn" by Alexander Schwalb

"It was a pleasure to burn," said Amelia van Delizor to the grim reaper. "No, honestly. When they lit the fire I had pure delight. Even if they didn't tie me up, I still wouldn't have tried to escape." Grim just look at her and had a look in the cavity where his eyes should be that said, "Oh no, not another crazy one."

They were on a small boat on the River Styx. It was night, but there were no stars in the sky.
The light from Grim's lantern didn't travel far in the thick mist. Grim started speaking. You could see his jaw bones moving, but his deep voice was coming from all around. It make faint ripples in the flat, dreary water around the boat. He said to Amelia, "It's a long trip to... you know where you are going. Tell me about your life story."

"My mom died giving birth to me in 1818 in England. It was probably then when I developed my unique syndrome. Ever since I could remember, I loved getting hurt. My father was one of the leading biologists in that time. He sad there were two connections in my brain that crossed and therefore I perceived pain as pleasure.

When I was eleven, my father never returned from the woods after hunting. The street was my new home. I would have gone hungry for weeks. I could only drink muddy water from the puddles. The sky was my roof, but it had some leaking problems. I was a vagabond at the bottom of the chain of being. Most would have hated my life, but I loved it. It was my
paradise to be freezing at night and being so hungry it hurt. I loved everything from the rashes and sores to the rat bites and infections.

After a few years I unfortunately became used to the pain, and I had to find new ways to hurt myself. I would usually run into walls at full pace or jump off of houses. I would damage other people's property so that they would hurt me. Everyone knew me by my surname, Van Delizor. It became a new term, that if someone damanged someone else's goods, you would that they vandalize.

People came from far and away to see me hurt myself. When the king heard of me, he hired me to entertain him. Those were the best years of my life, because in the castle, they had torture machines. The king offered me my own royal chamber, but I chose to sleep outside. Sadly, there were no rats near the castle.

The archbishop did not like me, so he convinced the king to send me back to live with the peasants. It wasn't the same without the torture devices, so things went bad. I started stealing pitchforks to stab myself. I drank poison every night. I ate my own flesh!
By now, people had grown tired of me. They accused me of being a witch.

Then came the happiest few minutes of my life -my death. I was publically burned. It is obvious that if one's ultimate pleasure is pain, then one's happiest moment in life is death. That day, the last Van Delizor died."

In the distance, Amelia saw the shore at the end of the River Styx. The small boat stopped in the sand. There were two inter-dimensional doors. The Grim Reaper said, "All witches go through the left door, so will you. I am sorry. You seem so friendly, but it's not my decision to make." Amelia replied, "Don't be sorry, I am going to love this!"

You may wish to read more about women like Amelia who were accused of witchcraft in Salem in 1692 at http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/salem.htm


  1. Wickedly, delightfully entertaining! I salute you, fellow non-conformist, for showing us a largely ignored aspect of humanity!

    Tell me please, what was your inspiration for writing this piece? I ask simply out of interest and admiration.

    And now, some constructive criticism on your writing style:

    1. Showing is better than telling. Yes, maybe you were intending this to be a short little piece, but still, I'd suggest flashbacks or something of that sort. Show us Amelia on the torture instruments; have her screaming in divine pain as she burns!

    2. Your writing could benefit from more description, not only of Amelia's life, but of the Underworld. I know some find it boring, and I do too, but I think you should grit your teeth and do it.

    I hope to see more of your writing on this blog!

  2. A well written piece. Dark, twisted and gripping. I'm actually quite interested as to whether that this is an actual historical figure you are describing and Amelia was truly the origin of the term "vandal".

    I actually disagree completely with Sonya.

    1. Don't underestimate the effect of story-telling. It is more haunting for me to read how matter of factly Amelia recounts her tale and the illusion of a twisted normality that is brought across.

    The actual imagery takes away the impact of the speaker's tone and it fits in nicely as she is telling the tale to Death. Well done Alex.

    2. Again too much description can result in being lost. In most works involving the land of the dead we see very little geographical description as the mystery stimulates the imagination and it is the details that are not told as well as those that are included that make a piece enjoyable.

    This is Emile Pienaar by the way. I can never remember my password or my login name for that matter.

  3. alex schwalb said:
    (i forgot my pasword)

    Amelia is never existed, and i don't know where the term vandaliser came from.
    I don't like stories that are too descriptive, because I don't read much, but the few time's when I do read for english book reports ect. I hate it when the author is too descriptive. I just want facts, and then I make my own image around it.
    By the way, I'm not usually this dark, I'm actually quite a religioys christian.

  4. writing dark stuff doesnt mean your saying you are not christin.

  5. Well, all I have to say is that I absolutely loved it! It was strange and not something you would normally find on websites like this but I really liked it ! I hope there is a sequel.