What is beyond the wall?
|Tension filled the air with such a thickness, people struggled to walk, to move. The wall hovered tall above the town as the townspeople spared ominous glances its way. The vultures sat on branches just outside, as close as they dared to approach, clicking their beaks in anticipation. An occasional squawk pierced the heavy air, but otherwise only murmurs could be heard. Who would they lose today? A bright flash of lightning filled the sky followed by a loud crack that unsettled even the vultures. Their feathers ruffled, but they held strong to their prickly branches.
Melinda braided her hair with shaky fingers; she knew it was her turn tonight. The chosen person always felt it deep in their bones, a chill that would not recede, a chill that slowed their heart. It was their time to sacrifice themselves for the prosperity of the town. The townspeople were unsure what happened to those that went beyond the wall, but they followed the rules. Every full moon, someone left. It was law.
The ceremonial braid was finished. Melinda knew the minute she left her house, they would all know. They could all breathe a sigh of relief; it was not one of their own. The fear was ever present even if one did not feel the chill. She crossed the square, aware of the rise in whispers. With a sigh pulled deep from her heart, she walked through the door in the wall. The door slammed behind her: another satisfying victim. The vultures took to the skies and then it vanished: the fear in people's hearts. The vultures never took a snack, rather they smelled the death in the hearts of the people about to lose one of their own. Nobody knew what happened on the other side of the wall.
Word Count: 300
Prompt: Write a story that includes the phrase: “and then it vanished.”