Check out the prologue to "Alone In The Light" by clicking here

An excerpt from: Alone In The Light

Sunday, March 3, 2019

The Fire Circle

My short story entry for this week....

The Fire Circle

I stand at the edge of the field. I feel the wind push, pull, and claw at me and I pull the coat tighter around me. My insides churn with anxiety and fear. The bruise on my face is a disgusting green color, but the swelling has gone away. The blisters on my hands ache as I clench my fists in my pocket and move forward. I hear the voices coming from the clearing.

Ten or so people have already arrived and they are arranging things around the large, stone-ringed pit we use for these bonfires. As I reach the circle or people I am met with nods, a few half-hearted smiles, and a hug from Jenni. Nobody asks me about Colton. Nobody wants to know about him. The wind billows and blows and I watch as Henry drenches the pile of brush and logs with gasoline.

"Good." I think. "Make this mother fucker burn."

Coolers are placed around the circle, beers are opened. If anyone notices the excess dirt, mud, and mess surrounding the pit, they keep it to themselves. And I am happy of this. With a FWOOSH, the fire is lit and the branches blaze bright in the failing light. I am warmed by the sudden blossom of heat that burns in the circle. This fire is the avenging fire. This fire is the cleansing fire.

I sit on a cooler and stare into the fire. Someone places a beer in my hand, but I barely register the action or the cool, metal can. I drink absently from it. My eyes peer into the fire, through the fire. I stare through the small mountain of stacked wood and brush into the earth. Deep down I think I smell meat on the fire, but I dismiss it. Three feet of packed earth would stop any such thing from happening.

I drink the beer in my hand and I stare. My jaw aches. The blue black ring around my left eye stings in the cold wind. I raise my left hand towards the fire and it feels good. The blisters on my hand tingle at the sensation. I put my hand in my pocket when Jenni comes over and looks at me with a questioning eye. I just shrug and continue to stare into the fire.

Jenni sits next to me on the cooler and rests her head on my shoulder. I can feel her desire to ask me about Colton. I feel her start to open her mouth several times before she stops and just joins me in staring at the fire. Her hand finds mine and she wraps her slender fingers around my bleeding palms and holds my hand.

"Good." She whispers. "Good for you."

I stare. I stare and I think back to three days ago to Colton's fist. I think back to the feel of his arm against my throat. I think back to the shovel. The pickaxe. The hours of painful, labored digging in the cold earth out of the fire circle. I think about dragging his body. I think about the lifeless thunk he made when I dropped him in. I think about the bewildered look in his eyes when he came to...

I think back to stripping my clothes off here in the clearing, washing the dirt from my hands and body with cold water before burning my clothes and putting on fresh, warm clothes from my trunk.

I think about how that asshole will never harm me, or anyone, ever again.

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