The mob stormed up Anton’s street with enough force to make his floorboards tremble. By the time it reached the door downstairs, he had to quell his hands from trembling along.
Within the space of his next breath, a high-pitched crash and fragments of glass entered his bedchamber. He dropped to all fours and covered his head for whatever good it might do. A swarm of sharp edges ripped up his robes, stinging his forearms like so many bees.
“This is silk, damn you!” he hissed. Then he felt something hot – scorching hot. When he dared to detach his hands from his face, he realized the worst had yet to pass.
Beneath his fragmented window, beside his claw-footed bed, a torch burned brighter than all the candles in his room combined. Fiery tongues began lashing his bed’s shredded canopy in a bid to consume it whole.
Clambering to his feet, Anton bunched up his robes and tried stomping out the torch. Agonizing embers nibbled at his heels but he refused to quit until the flames were no more.
Soon after, a breeze of night wind crept through the window and chilled the sweat on his cheeks. The chill went bone-deep when some dullard shouted over the rest of the mob, “Burn the witch!”
Not if Anton had a say. Bending his back, he brought the torch with him as he forced his quivering legs toward the window. In between steps he glimpsed shard-sized reflections of his narrow jaw and jet-black hair. Each time he averted his eyes as quickly as possible - vanity had no place at a time like this. The situation called for courage, so it was with a dose of the stuff that Anton peered over the windowsill.