Author : Robin Husen

She stood on a cliff above the city and watched it burn. Buildings flared, flamed and disappeared into smoke, silent in the seconds before the sound reached her. She remembered plucking dandelion clocks, and blasting them apart with a puff of air. You were supposed to make a wish, but she could not remember anything she’d wished for.

Pressed into her palm was the tiny time device. She had one trip back, to unwind the flames and reconstruct the city from its rocks and dirt. The hanging had started it all, and she had stood in the front row. _My father was a despot, but he would have stopped all this_. No more dandelions after that, no more royal gardens.

She hit the button and the world dissolved. She found her father in the throne room with his robes undone.

“You must run.” She showed him the device. His family heirloom, lost with her in exile. When the mob came, the throne room was empty. Some sensed a trap and tried to bolt before the doors slammed. This was no time to show mercy. These men had hung her father once, and made her watch.

And yet it hadn’t happened. The raw, fresh bite of what had been undone. The king became a shadow of a man, scared to speak in case his every word should unleash civil war. She ruled in his name, and stamped out the flames of insurgence, or even when she smelled smoke.

When the rebels came again, they came for her. Her father took her place in the front row. The crowd parted to guide her to the gallows. She breathed her last air and heard them cheer as the noose dropped. Her consciousness scattered like dandelion seeds. She wished they would burn.