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Emma Cowell, 12 Mar '13

“Look at me; I’m serious, look at me!” And so I looked; and what I saw was not something hideous, or something tragic; it was something real. The flesh on the left side of her face seemed frozen in a state of Terror, where it had been scorched the skin had scarred and folded, pulled downwards to make her mournful. Where the destroyed skin licked the un-afflicted side of her face a transformation began, there I saw the face I’d known. There she glowed with pale radiance, and her eye was kind and, unlike its blind brother, recognized my face as one she’d loved.
The shock was momentary, I had seen injuries before. My mom was a nurse; when I was young my Dad would take me to see her on her lunch or after school, there I met people who had shared without humility the horrors that had befallen them, people who’d had suffered more than any child had the ability to comprehend. In my adolescence I had grown to understand why these meetings were important. They would prepare me for the harshness of reality. Because reality was like walking on the edge of a sidewalk, you feel perfectly safe balancing on the edge because you can’t fall far, until you stumble and are struck by something you didn't see coming.
So here I was, struck by something I most definitely see coming; the beauty of pain. This was her now; this deformation could have repelled me. But, more than anything, it drew me in. I felt a rope tied to my rib cage and having turned as she commanded and looked into her face I knew things couldn't be different. Not now. I nodded silently, my eyes locked on hers as without words I told her I loved her; tears burst out of her eyes and she let out a low moan that drew me to her side.
Taking a hand in both of mine I began to kiss it, trying to soothe her. She continued to cry, and as her cheeks turned to rivers it seemed her face became a complicated landscape. Her skin made dark mountains and pale fields, her tears made oceans and lakes, the blind eye that had once seen the full moon in all its majesty now became what it had beheld, a blue orb. All that remained of her now was the brown eye on her right side. In this eye was her humanness, all that we had shared together cataloged, but then, there it was- that which I’d tried to deny seeing.
Fire.
I’d known it would be there, it had always been there, but now that fire and passion was like a knife in my gut. Now it meant more, it was a memory of what she had suffered, the talisman she’d carry forever- fire which had changed her, fire which once had been within was now also without, carved upon her face and in her seeing eye. I knew now that her story was important, but I couldn't ask- not yet. I would let her heal; there are some scars we cannot see. But soon she would tell me where she had been these past weeks and what had led her to set alight the tree, under which she had passed her days of innocence.

Comments · 2

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  • Deb Howell said...

    Nice work! Is this a part of a longer work? It certainly works as a short, but it has me wondering about the before and after...

    • Posted 6 years ago
  • Emma Cowell said...

    Hey @Deb Howell, thank you for commenting! Honestly, this is all I have regarding these characters- I hope that at some point I'm able to build their stories around this, but for now I suppose it is a short. Thank you for reading it, I'm glad I managed to intrigue you!

    • Posted 6 years ago