Keeper of the Flames

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: April 06, 2019

A A A | A A A

Submitted: April 06, 2019



This has been my responsibility for time out of mind; maintain the Hall of Flames. A simple chore to be sure. Merely send off the candles that have gone out. Yes, simple, but incredibly painful. You see, these are more than ordinary candles. Each and every flame represents a mortal’s soul, their very life. The wax represents a mortal’s span, all the years they ought have. A red ribbon tied round the taper bears the mortal’s name.  

As you’ve correctly guessed, there are thousands upon millions of candles in the hall. Floating and flickering. Burning and dwindling. Also, as a mortal, you must have spotted the troubling detail. No matter how much time received, Fate has other ideas. There are candles which alight for mere seconds. Others burn longer, the length of child years. Still more do burn down, using every last drop, every last fiber of wick. 

Now, you know the scope of the physical aspect. The emotional comes in the send off. When each candle is spent, if there be anything left, I’m required to summon it down. I must hold the taper in hand, at the touch of the wax, I must view the mortal’s life. To see the blurred life, details and choices, and to know the consequences. There’s no harder life to witness, than that of one stolen. To see the amount of candle left, to know they deserved more. Watching a life full of meaning, talent, promise. To watch the hand of Fate, whether it be their own or another’s…to know what’s coming. No way to change anything. Powerless. It is a blessing to send off a stump. A life well lived, no matter how it was lived. Makes no difference.

As I watch the loved ones, create their own send off. Caskets bearing flowers and ribbons, urns of ashes released where once was life. All this I see, tears of my own flowing. Heart breaking as I untie the ribbons. Hands shaking as I hold all the years robbed. Once the ribbon is gone, the candle transforms. Wax becomes glittering motes of gold; sunlight captured in dust.

This is my responsibility. To bear an eternal broken heart. To say good-bye much too soon to too many. Always wishing Fate could be kinder, life more tender, love be stronger. Forever, let love be stronger.

© Copyright 2019 C A Sechler. All rights reserved.

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