The Fire Left More Than Scars and Memories.

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A young girl wears the marks of her past on her body. Was it the fire? or something more?

Submitted: July 29, 2010

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Submitted: July 29, 2010

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I watched the young girl dancing in the small clearing in the woods. She was in her early teens, with dark olive skin and chocolate brown hair. She danced with the wind, her long white dress catching and pulling with her invisible partner, her fingers tangled in the waist high grass. She was smiling, the kind of smile not meant for anyone else, just for her.
I watch as she spins in circles looking at the cross roads where she was standing. I don’t know what way she came from and I don’t know what she will choose. Her long white dress twists around her legs and the long ribbons from the wreath on her head catch and tangle with her long brown hair. She suddenly stops, looking pointedly down each path, then chooses the one closest to where I’m watching from my perch in the tree.
I hop down, landing noiselessly. I watch the girl float by, humming quietly to herself. I follow at a distance and watch as she walks up to the cottage under the old oak tree. The cottage had burned in a fire not long ago and what was left of the frame stayed abandoned. Everyone who lived there had died. With a distant look she waves at the empty porch where the charred swing sways in the wind. I expected her to approach the house but she continued down the path.
Knowing she was headed down the path along the side of the stream, I crossed to the path on the opposite bank. I watched as she danced down the growing stream and she suddenly stopped, turned and waved at a spot just past where I could see. Was someone there?
She continued on her way, the small stream widening into a river, until she came to a small wooden canoe tucked under a weeping willow tree. She looked at I, studying it for a short while before she jumped in and pushed off , fast as if she was making sure she couldn’t change her mind.
 I ran down the river bed as she paddled ever faster towards the roaring waterfall. I heard her laughing as she urged the small canoe faster down the river. As the canoe shot off the waterfall the girl jumped from the canoe laughing as she plummeted into the water. I dove into the water knowing she wouldn’t survive if she was pulled under. My tunic and boots got very heavy and when I wrapped my arms around her limp body her long white dress pulled her down. I shed my boots and with all the strength in my now free legs I pulled us both to the surface. I carried her on to the shore and laid her on the soft grass.
 I watched her body struggle to breath but with a shuddering cough she woke up. She sat there for a moment looking around blankly, then she stood. It seemed like she was looking right through me. “Mama! Papa! Your all here! Emery, baby Jasmine! How can this be?” I looked around the empty meadow, sure the people she was talking to were not there, then I saw it. On her feet were read blotches, long healed over, but they were scars. Evidence of the fire everyone said she died in. Her body was never found, but they figured it burned with the rest of that small cabin. There was never a search party.
I watched the girl talk to her invisible family, unsure of what to do. What was there to do? She was happy. She must have somewhere to go, she’s survived all this time. Something made me want to stay with her, make sure she was alright, ask her what had happened; but another part, a stronger part, didn’t want to know, didn’t want to know her hurt and suffering. So I walked away with a silent prayer that she would find someone stronger than I to share her pain.


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