Nothing But Ashes Remain

I struck the last chord on my electric guitar as sparks flew out of the floor behind me. The lights dimmed and I held the position: head down, arm raised. The stage went completely black and I walked offstage, taking care not to trip on my silver boots in the thin layer of smoke layering the floor.

My manager was waiting backstage with a grin plastered over his tan face. "Great job, Emily. The tickets to your next concert are already sold out."

"That's awesome!" I smiled back at him then left for my dressing rooms.

I looked up at the sign on the door: Emily McLean. My name. My identity. I opened the door and entered the airy room. Carefully, I put my beloved guitar on a stand in the corner, and then sat down on the black stool in front of my mirror. I observed my appearance. The person in the mirror had pale skin, slightly flushed from the excitement of singing live in front of hundreds of fans. Her eyes were hazel, containing more green than brown. Hair dyed a bright shade of turquoise-blue hung to her waist. The colour matched the flame designs on her purple guitar.

For once, I decided to leave in the clothes I wore for my performance. They weren't very over-the-top, and I liked them. It was my favourite trademark costume of a black, midriff top with one shoulder, black pants, a single, long black glove, sliver boots and a matching silver belt. I just tied back my blue hair, put my guitar in its case and left, flanked by two tall, muscled bodyguards.

At home, the penthouse I was staying in, I flopped onto my bed, exhausted. I lay there for a while before drifting off to sleep.


When I woke an hour later, the first thing I noticed was that my apartment was warm. Very warm. No, hot. My nostrils flared as they picked up the scent of smoke.

Hold on. Smoke?

My hazel eyes snapped open. Cautiously, I stepped out of my room and peeped around the corner into the kitchen.

It was on fire.

I screamed loudly and yanked the fire alarm on the wall frantically, over and over again. A loud siren began whining.

I stood there, wondering what to do, when a sheet of paper lying on the kitchen table caught my eye. I stepped timidly towards it, snatched it off the table and ran back to my room. There I sat back down on my bed and read it.

Emily

I hope this is repayment enough for hurting me so bad last September

Remember – if I can't have you, no one can

It was nice knowing you

George

I blinked. George? I had dumped him (to put it frankly) last September – three months ago, mind – and he started this fire as payback? I always knew he was over-protective and VERY paranoid, but not to the point of insanity. I never thought he was capable of killing.

But then I remembered those last weeks we were going out. He would come to my penthouse fuming about how his therapist was saying he was on the edge of insanity, and one bad thing could change his mental status.

I glanced at my bedroom doorway to see flames racing down the hallway, eating up the rug. My eyes filled with unshed tears as I whispered, "George." My vision went black and I dropped to the floor in a dead faint.


I was floating…rising. I opened my eyes once more and screamed. I was hovering near the roof of my bedroom. I chanced a glance down and saw my room – or what remained of my room. It was filled with the blackened, charred remains of my furniture and a pile of black ashes lay on the burnt floorboards beneath me.

Carefully, I lowered myself until I was standing on the ground. I glanced at the mirror that was still whole and hanging; the flames had not reached that high up the wall. My reflection was mostly the same as usual, but with a few minor changes. My normally pale pink skin was now a ghostly white, my normally peaceful, hazel eyes were now a bright, glowing green and my hair…

…a large blue flame had replaced my blue ponytail. The front was still the same, but from the hair tie onwards my blue locks had changed to fire.

My guitar had undergone a transformation too. On the front was a knob with different pictures around it, including a heart, a music note, a skull, a spiral and a wave. On the back, the word 'Ember' was written in the same turquoise-blue as my hair and the decorations on the front.

The word had a certain ring to it. I realized that maybe I should go by the name – considering my hair and the way that I died, and such.

I realized with a jolt that I had died in the fire. I looked down and saw that I was standing in the pile of ashes. I screamed yet again and stomped my feet, trying to get rid of every trace of my past.

A loud ringing filled the house and I noticed it was the phone. The phone still works? I silently asked myself in wonder and went to answer it. As I lay my hand down on the receiver, it passed right through. I tried again and managed to grab it and hold it to my ear without any mishaps.

"Hello?"

"Hello, Emily?" It was a voice I recognized – the voice of my manager. "Are you alright? I hear there was a fire in your building."

I gulped and replied, "Yeah, I'm fine." Yeah, the lie of the millennium, but would he believe I was dead? More likely he would believe I was in serious need of some therapy.

"OK. Well, I'll see you in a couple of hours for your concert. Bye." He hung up.

I replaced the receiver on the phone, remembering my rock concert. Should I go? All of my songs don't really fit my mood… I thought.

I smiled. "Time to write some music."


A few hours later I was once again onstage, waiting for the spotlight to shine. My transformed guitar was in my hands, ready to rock. I had slipped onstage with no one noticing, what with backstage being so dark and all. I was grateful for that small pleasure – it would have been hard enough to explain my white skin and glowing green eyes, let alone my hair.

A bright, white light suddenly shone into my eyes and I began to sing, backing up my voice with my powerful electric guitar.

"Yeah, oh

It was, it was September

Wind blows, the dead leaves fall

To you I did surrender

Two weeks you didn't call

Your life goes on without me

My life a losing game

But you should, you should not doubt me

You will remember my name

Oh Ember, you will remember

Ember, one thing remains

Oh Ember, so warm and tender

You will remember my name

You heart, your heart abandoned

You're wrong, now bear the shame

Like bad dreams in cold December

Nothing but ashes remain

Oh Ember, you will remember

Ember, one thing remains

Oh Ember, so warm and tender

You will remember my name

Oh, oh, oh

Oh Ember, you will remember

Ember, one thing remains

Oh Ember, so warm and tender

You will remember my name

Yeah, you will remember my name."

I bowed deeply to the screams and applause that was radiating from the crowd and allowed myself to sink through the floor. With my guitar still in hand, I flew out of the ground outside and spiralled up into the air.

I glanced once again at the knob on my guitar. The symbols interested me, and I itched to find out what they were for. But for now, I was content. After all, I had the whole of my afterlife to learn all I could.

So, what do you think? Should I do another one about Desiree, and maybe Pariah Dark? Please review!