Welcome to this week’s installment of many micro stories, ranging in length from 100 words to 500 words.
With each story we hope to deliver a little whimsy into the lives of our readers.
The story below puts a new spin on the element of fire, giving it life in an unexpected way.
The gasoline can is heavy in my hands as I lug it into the abandoned house on Scott Street. No one’s lived here since I was a little girl. My best friend and I used to sneak in and bum cigarettes from the squatters who sought refuge within these walls.
It’s the perfect place for what I need to do.
Wading through a sea of broken beer bottles and discarded drug paraphernalia, I make my way to a room in the back. An old piss-stained mattress lies half hidden beneath a mound of fetid trash.
I pop off the gas cap and douse the bed with a generous amount of its contents. The strong, heady odor of gasoline invades my nostrils and I suck it in greedily. I feel the pull of the tough, leathery skin around my mouth as a smile stretches my face. Giddy with excitement, I twirl in circles, the sharp fumes intoxicating.
It’s been six months since I last saw him in the fire that ravaged my flesh. Six long months of lying in the hospital, dreaming of his fiery touch.
From my pocket come the matches, and with one smooth strike, I light three. Tossing them on the bed, I’m at once rewarded with a large whoosh of heat as it ignites.
My heart pounds with anticipation as the fire expands, crawls across the moldy floor. It licks the legs of a rickety armoire, likes the taste, and devours it. Leaping flames caress the walls, leaving sooty black kisses behind.
Feasting hungrily, smoke fills the room, burning my throat and lungs. My stinging eyes scan the flames in desperate search of the Fire Man.
In my hospital delirium, I cried for him often, the man I’d summoned with the strike of a match. I’d tried so long, setting fire after fire, with nothing to show for it but smoke. It was when I learned the secret that he finally showed himself to me. When I offered myself to the flames I created; when I let myself burn.
Now, the fire roars before me, and I drop to my knees, coughing on acrid smoke. Outside, I hear the dreaded wail of sirens in the street.
No! They can’t take him away from me again!
I look about wildly, gasping for breath, and – there! – I see him, taking shape. He materializes slowly; tall, muscular body shifting with the movement of flame. His eyes burn red like two hot coals, while flames flicker on his head in place of hair.
Spellbound, I watch as his naked form solidifies. Fiery. Bright. Magnificent.
I climb to my feet, and like the Red Sea, the fire parts between us. He opens his arms and I run and leap, the flames crowding us in. My sizzling skin smokes beneath his touch while his lava tongue melts my lips. Clinging to him, my body sparks, then rapidly ignites.
And together, we merge into a single bright flame and disappear in the lusty fire.