Burned

Short Story

The snow twinkled around me in soft flurries. I became caught up in constant wonder by how many little flakes sparkled around me while the light began to flicker on the outside and fade within me. It was as if I could no longer see what was in front of me, and I desperately tried to reach for some type of hold to keep me from falling but to no avail. It was difficult. Watching everyone walking around as if nothing happened. As if I no longer had a story to tell. As if I was no longer a person of their interest. That’s why I became a shadow instead.

But when that little snow flake landed on my hair ever so delicately, I felt myself grab for my humanity a little bit more. And when I heard the sound of snow softly crunching beneath my boots, I began to regain my sense of hearing. And when I faced my palms upward to catch it, I could feel again. And when I saw the light shining and saw the glimmer of the flakes falling to the ground and painting the tree in such a beautiful pure shade of white, my sight was restored. And finally when a kind stranger offered me free hot cocoa at a stand, I took a sip of it and the overflowing sensation of sweetness flowed back onto my tongue.

I looked at the vendor with such warmth that I didn’t think I would ever have again for anyone after the fire destroyed and took away the one person who was my everything. He took away everything while also giving everything in return. And now he was just gone. Swallowed up in flames trying to protect me from getting burned. I had tried doing that for him once.

When we had first met, I warned him that being with me or having anything to do with me would end up in flames. And he said that he could handle the heat and that being burned by me was something he wouldn’t mind that much. Because it was me. And now it’s him who’s burned me. He’s burned into my memory and my skin. All of senses began following him so much that they felt like they weren’t mine anymore. Even though it sounds very bad and unhealthy, it healed me from the ice covering my body and my insides. I felt human again up until now.

Now it just feels like my body is shutting down again and numbing itself. That is, it was until the snow began to fall. Looking at the vendor as he was, my body began unthawing itself completely as I saw the bandages unwrapping themselves, slowly revealing the person underneath. Grabbing the cocoa was hot. And so was his touch when our hands met. I guess it wasn’t him who was swallowed by the flames. It was me.

And I suddenly felt all of the sharpness all at once as it shot through my legs and arms and everywhere else. Heat climbing up every inch of my body. So much that I was seared by the flames. Noise enveloped the surroundings as everything around began crashing down with a roar. Fire suddenly engulfing me and my screams piercing the amber filled night.

My eyes flew open. I could hear beeping noises which resembled a heart monitor. And there was a chair in front of me. A man was lying there sleeping restlessly in an awkward position murmuring something. Through my bandages on my face, I was able to make out the words.

I’m sorry! I’m so sorry. I couldn’t save you…I couldn’t…protect you…he whispered. And even though it was difficult to hear, I still was able to see his lips moving and forming those words and that sentence. I looked at my hands which were wrapped in bandages. I couldn’t feel anything. Because even though I said I’d be the one burning him in the end. It looks like he’s the one who burned me.

I heard the news on the tv as I lied back further into the reclining bed.

After a spark in the house wiring ignited a wild house fire, the fire squad and rescue teams were able to save the man who was passed out from the smoke. The wife of the man was found unconscious and seriously burned, however, as she was caught underneath a fallen wall. Reports say that she has been in an induced coma for several days so far. We’re still waiting for related updates of her condition here at the hospital.

My condition? I thought. I’m alive on the inside, dead on the outside, and burned all over.

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