It's been forever since I sat down and wrote, so excuse the mistakes and the slightly randomness of this fic. It came to me in a very different form to what it ended up as, so reviews either good or bad are greatly welcomed!
Disclaimer:I own nothing, nothing at all!
I can smell the smoke. I can smell it in my hair, swirling between the curled strands. My fringe tickles my forehead. A flyaway strand touches the edges of my eyelashes. I brush it away before it hurts more than an annoyance.
I can feel the heat. Beads of sweat trickle along the side of my face, running along the edge of my hair line. The head rises up my body, seemingly taking over. I move my feet. Numbness joins with the heat that spreads from my feet to my armpits.
I can see the colour. The red is burnt into my eyes. On the back of my eyelids. I can see the flames, licking the air skyward. They circle – a menacing creature that gets closer and closer.
I reach out and touch them, the heat burns the tips of my fingers. I draw them away, cradling my hands close to my chest. I can feel my legs pushing at the mattress, my toes sinking into the soft cushioning. I want to move away. I can almost taste the fear that courses through my body. It's mingled with the smoke. With the sweat.
But my feet don't propel from the soft as they would a brick wall. My legs don't strain and extend fully, but buckle, drawing me closer to the end of the bed. The end is wooden and I can hear the crackling as the flames lick up the bed end. The decorative carvings that adorn it became rivers to the flames, paths to the fire.
I try to call out. My voice catches in the back of my throat. The ash that once was my curtains sits deep within my voice box. It stings. I didn't have anyone to call out to, anyway.
My hands grabble with the sheets, as I force them over my head, covering my whole being. But they are thin and I can still see the orange and red that are engulfing the end of the bed with a ferociousness that only fire can.
I look at them – the flames – as they dance towards me. My mind is in a panic. Adrenaline rushes through my veins. Yet the logic of avoidance doesn't seem to resinate with the rest of me and I feel me body being drawn to flames. I can see my face in their light - smouldering embers land on the sheet that I still hide behind. Small blackened holes appear in the protective white cotton that seems to give the fire an almost misty, translucent appearance.
A single flame burns from a stray ember. It grows in a matter of seconds. My gaze is no longer held by the main fire, but focussed firmly on the sole, independent one. It should be hurting, I should be able to feel the heat, the burn through the sheet onto my bare, naked legs. But I can't feel it – if my eyes were shut and my nose removed I would never had known that the plain white cotton sheets of my bed were on fire in my lap.
He always said I had no feelings.
I look out towards my window, my gaze only catching the very tips of the flames. Where my window once stood, I see trees. A forest. I can smell the eucalypt as it burns. I can see the leaves crumple into a ball as the fire engulfs them and forces them down to the ground. I can hear the crackling as the bark turns from a multitude of brown to a sickening black. And then the trees disappear behind a wall of flames and I realise there is no forest. That it is merely my mind dragging from the depths the hidden association I will always have with fire.
They say after a bushfire, a town is never the same. The blackened trees regrow, the buildings are rebuilt, but the emotional wounds are inflicted deep and their scares never heal. I believe that now.
I throw myself over onto my stomach, my head buried between two pillows. My hands still clenching the sheet over my head. I feel like I did when I was a little girl. I can feel the fear in the thick, oxygen deprived air that surrounds me. I used to hide away when my dad was angry. I used to enter my imaginary world when mum was drunk. I hadn't hidden away like this since I finished primary school and realised that no amount of hiding was going to change what was going on in the room next door. I hid away tonight.
The light from the fire emitted a strangely comforting glow around me. It seemed to hug my sides – I could see the yellows and oranges out of the corner of my eyes. The light caught the gold band around my finger. It's seemed to throw off its own sparks. I had forgotten I was wearing it.
It was the metaphorical fire that forced me to wear it – my wedding band. Every time I looked at it, it reminded me of my cubby house made of sheets. It reminded me of the weakness I felt as a child. But fire burns. Sensibility doesn't. Stable can still be intriguing, without sparking a flame. Or so I believed.
I will never forget the day that I thought I could tame the fire. Tame the beast. For the briefest moment in time I believed that I could see a future with him. See a way forward that would not drive us both mad, that would allow me to tell him how much I actually cared for him. For a moment I believed I wouldn't get burnt.
That belief was as stupid as my husband leaving the candle burning.
I can feel the flames now. They hurt. Not a broken heart hurt. I live that. Every day.
It's not a lonely kind of hurt. My life is built around that. I am not just made of bones and muscle, but an underlying emptiness is bound to my soul so tightly, it can not be separated without destroying the foundations all together.
But like the destructive force of the flames that are engulfing my legs, he has been able to break apart my internal blackness and fill it with a sense of belonging, Of worth.
But just like the flames are destroying me, I destroyed him.
It doesn't hurt anymore. The pain for a moment was unbearable, the smell immense. But I can't feel it anymore.
I can hear a voice over the crackling of the flames. A male.
I shut my eyes, but I can still see the flames.
His voice is getting louder. A crack somewhere behind me lets me know the door to my room has been broken down.
I pray he doesn't come closer.
The voice is stronger, louder. Filled with conviction, with emotion. I bury myself further within the pillows – a last ditch attempt to avoid the flames that are licking at my sides.
He called my name.
He spoke again, louder this time. I wonder if he can see me. I wonder if he thinks I am at the hospital with my husband. The stable, sensible doctor.
I can no longer hear him – the voice of fire itself.
The glow from the flames are disappearing. An all consuming cloak of black has fallen over my room, over me.
That's when I realised, you can't fight fire with fire. Evan came too late.