AMBER LAURICE JONES - FLAMES
*Everything she knew and loved was burning, and there was so much blood… This all seemed so familiar…*
“Don’t play with the fire, Ena.” Her father casually sipped from his favorite mug.
He watches his daughter, Ena, as she plays with her doll by their rustic fireplace. He was proud of his fireplace, it was the coziest part of the whole house, and honestly, the house itself is small and nothing to brag about - but the fireplace is like a wonderland in comparison. Ena also really likes it, because it’s warm there and she dislikes the cold sting that winter brings.
But there’s something odd about the way Ena seems to lose herself when she stares into the fire. If left alone she could watch the wood burn for hours… It didn’t seem healthy. But as a carpenter, her father must leave for work during the early day and return by evening. Ena is alone in the house often, and soon she becomes risky.
At first, it seemed harmless… She would find old books crumpling the pages and tossing it into the fire. The paper burned much faster and brought along a rush of excitement.
Her father learned of this behavior and scolded her. The books are now atop high shelves where she cannot reach. But, Ena did something her father did not expect her to do… Her favorite doll, hand-stitched, slightly worn - but precious… Tossed into the fire dancing among several ashes and smut. The doll’s hair was long and brown, just like Ena’s. Without realizing it, her hair lays across the carpet floor. The fire spreads fast but Ena doesn’t run, it wasn’t her intention to spread the fire but it’s still such a calm sight.
The vase atop the fireplace is actually an urn. The remains of her mother lie within, Ena was a few years younger still trying to understand the world when she and her mother were in a tragic accident. The marks on Ena’s wrists are proof of what she’s been through. But she doesn’t remember anything except the roaring flames that surrounded her, it was overwhelming…
Maybe she had an obsession with fire, or maybe it’s her way of coping with her hindered past. Despite knowing the dangers of it she finds it beautiful and puts herself at risk of getting burned again. She plays with fire over and over until finally… She draws her last few breaths, face covered in sweat, blood trickling down her hands.
Her father rushes inside and yells, “NO! NOT AGAIN! Ena, NO!” He quickly swoops her and escapes outside. He rushes his daughter to the hospital with serious injuries.
In his arms, Ena quietly whispers, “*Mama*…”
Ena hasn’t spoken since the accident… Her father clutches her tight swearing that everything will be alright.
*Fire is deadly but it is also so fragile. In a matter of seconds it can grow, or… it could die.*
Her father sobbed and screamed. He should have never left her alone… Before he made it to the hospital, Ena slowly passed away.
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