It began as a small pinprick far beyond my reach. Bigger and bigger it grew, getting closer to me though I never moved.
My body froze, utterly paralyzed as the light grew larger, stronger, brighter. The only thing I could do was close my eyes as it washed over me.
Standing, my feet firmly planted on the ground I cannot see. A wall obstructs my vision, the monotony of its plaster walls broken only by a single rectangular window directly in front of my eyes.
The light shines from the other side of it, shimmering and dancing across the unbroken glass. Orange and white mix and meld together seamlessly.
It would have been beautiful if the source of it was not a fatal inferno.
Plaster peeled from the walls, lifted by the intense heat. It melted into an unrecognizable black blob, joining the charred remains of furniture on the lacquered floor.
Somehow there existed a certain serenity to the scene as a whole, as though through the ashes of a cleansed room, a phoenix would ascend.
Only there was no phoenix.
But a girl.
She stood up from the floor, dragging herself to her feet slowly as though each movement required immense effort. Her hands and arms were covered in soot and her blonde hair was charred at the tips yet her face remained unnaturally clean.
She rushed towards me, stopped by the glass. Her features seemed harsh in the ever-changing light that cast shadows across her pale skin. Her hands pounded against the glass, thin and bony and black.
I reached forward to meet it. My hand reflected hers. The vibrations of the glass resonated through my fingers, syncing with my pulse. They were dulled by the thick glass.
I felt the strength of her blows waning. Her mouth opened in a scream expelling smoke but I couldn’t hear a thing over the ringing in my ears.
Smoke began to obscure her face, clouding the desperation shimmering in her irises.
I pounded back against her, praying that the combination of my strength and hers would be enough to shatter the barrier and free her. Adrenaline tingled in my fingers, fighting the numbness that resulted from the repeated hits.
She coughed as I felt a dormant burning in the back of my throat. The sensation almost seemed to have been smothered by something else, repressed by an unseen force. Sweat dripped down my hot back but I ignored it, mesmerized by her eyes. She had me trapped in the room with her, unable to escape the force of her gaze.
Smoke swirled around her, dying her hair silver and adding streaks to her face as if attempting to outline her features.
The harsh, hungry flames had crept up behind her, only mere inches from her flesh. Mustering the last bit of energy in her body she pulled her arm back, ready for a final strike. If this failed, we both knew there was no hope left for her escape. I match her stance, anticipation and fear tugging at my limbs like puppet strings.
Time stopped as we hung in equilibrium. She stood on one side of the glass, I on the other. Neither of us dared to move in the thick heat that enveloped me as well.
Then, in perfect sync we moved, fists speeding towards the smooth, clear surface of the glass. A moment stretched out in which my skin made contact with the hot glass and nothing but silence existed.
Then it broke.
Tumbling to the ground in a myriad of rainbow-colored shards reflecting the sunlight glow.
Except the orange did not belong to the sun.
And the window did not give way to the room but to a white plaster wall. A single fragment remained glued onto the wall, tainted grey.
The lackluster eyes gazing back at me were mine, no longer hers.
I forced my eyes to close as the heat of the fire caught up to me.
Author’s Note: That’s the end of Halloween Week for this year! Happy Halloween everyone!