“It was a beautiful night that night. The stars were…oh, but you don’t want to hear about the stars, do you? Well, I’m not sure that you really want to hear about the fire either, and I think you could use to hear about the stars. So I’ll start again.”
“It was a beautiful night that night. The stars shone with a gentle radiance as they followed their eternal paths through the sky. Summer was winding down and there was an ever so slight chill, the ghost of autumn future, in the air. The leaves trembled in a light breeze, and my soul trembled with them.
Mortimer, though – Mortimer was annoyed.”
‘Guys, let’s go home. It’s almost curfew and Mom will kill me if the police bring me home again. You know she said that the next time it happened she’d make me eat asparagus until I threw up.’
‘Aw, come on Morty. Live a little. Or is the ickle baby afraid of a little bit of asparagus?’
‘Besides, haven’t you ever dreamed of flying? Man, one more year of that stupid school and then I’m coming here. Maybe I’ll even give you kids a ride when I get my own plane. Be the thrill of your little lives, huh?’
“I had tuned them out, preferring the conversation of the stars and the trees and the wind to their bickering. But then the wind brought a new message, a dark tale of fire and panic and the death of innocence.”
‘Hey guys, do you smell that? It smells like smoke.’
‘Yeah, it does. Probably someone cooking out.’
‘No, Bella. We’re going home and not getting picked up by the police and not having asparagus forced down our throats and not puking until we die. Come on, let’s go.’
‘I’m going to go check it out.’
‘Hey, wait up! If I’m going to be puking up asparagus all day tomorrow I want it to be worth it!’
“We followed the scent of the smoke up the hill and to the waterfall. I can still feel the smoke burning my nose and taste its acrid foulness in my mouth. As for what we saw when we arrived at the waterfall, I am sure you can imagine it.”
Imagine it. You can imagine it. The fire. Burning, burning. The fire comes for us all. The light of the fire is the shadow of death.
“Are you going to be all right? I know this is a tough subject for you, but it is what you came to hear.”
Lilith gulped and nodded. She had to stay in control. She had to stay focused. Even if she could feel the flames licking at her skin.
“Mortimer was the first one to make it to the door of the house.”
‘Umm, guys? There’s people in there.’
‘Oh man. What do we do?’
‘I don’t know. You’re the oldest.’
‘What are you guys waiting for? We’ve got to save them!’
“But when I got to the door, all my bravado disappeared and I froze.”
“I saw Emma. And she saw me.”