Magazine, website & books written by teens since 1989

Burning Up

Custom User Avatar
More by this author
Burning up
“If I could stop for one moment and tell you a story would you listen?” His words rung out to me as the blade of his knife gleamed in the light of the full moon. I could just make out his mask as a light breeze carried the fresh nights air through branches of the tree behind him ruffling the leaves as it passes. The eyes of the mask were a beautiful blue as if made from the heavens above. A tear dotted the corner of one eye and a grim smile held on the lips. “This story is of my mask, how I obtained it,” the deep voice echoed and was muffled behind the tariffing mask. I wasn’t sure if he was smiling like his mask or if he truly was sorry for what he had done. “I won it, you see, the day I killed my first target.”

“My instructor gave me a target when I had just begun. Well at that time, I did not own the mask. It was his and I had to earn it from him so he could retire. So, he gave me the only target he could not kill and it was bestowed upon me to finish the job. I watched from the shadows as my instructor walked to the young man I had to kill. Lurking, as to not be found, I experienced the fear, and excitement of the hunt! The young man laid his right hand over the spear as I distinctly remember. His muscles twitched as he reached his hand down to the hard oak handle. His hair was blonde, or as blonde as it would be for the rest of the night, swayed with his trembling as it hung in his crazed eyes. I could almost hear him thinking of the final blow that would kill his tormentor! Lighting fast he grabbed the spear and charged my instructor. Practically tripping over himself with every step. Then as gracefully as a leaf in the wind, my instructor danced past the blade and knocked the spear from his hands. That poor young man fell to the ground clutching his hands. I almost yipped in joy at this. My teacher yelled at me in Russian to ‘finish the job.’ I crept forward slowly and gently, oh ever so slowly, picked up the spear and walked towards the two men. My teacher lifted up the young man from the floor and I knew it was my chance. So, I slide the spear between the back of his ribs letting it creep steadily closer to his heart, and once my teacher stepped back, I thrusted the spear straight through him. The young man fell to the ground; of course, and he turned to me, his attacker, and mouthed his dying words as his bright blue eyes closed. The fresh crimson pool flowed around him seeping out of his chest like water from a hole you dig on the beach close to the ocean. I could not bear the sight any longer without breaking into a blood rage. I looked towards my teacher. He had taken off his mask and for the first time I saw his face. He had deep brown eyes, old eyes, which looked as dark and lifeless as coals, just not nearly as black. His hair was black and stopped shortly before his eyes. He told me to ‘stay well.’ Humph, stay well. He passed me his mask, the one I am wearing now, and then walked away without another word.”

His story had frightened me. Another cloud rolled across the sky hiding the moon for the time being. “Do you know what that young man told me?” I knew the answer would be the last words I would hear before my death and so I waited. “Would you like to know?” The moon came out form the clouds and I noticed the man was no longer there, just the moon hanging on the horizon and the tall oak casting a shadow into the meadow were I stood. When my mind believed all was safe, a whisper was brought upon the breeze. “Burn,” the wind echoed lingering around my ears. I turned around to see a fire blazing in the distance. I went to it; I had no choice. I wanted it over. When I had reached the fire I felt a scorching pain reach out to me as the aroma of burning flesh reached my nose. I tried to take a gasp of air and then another as a sweet and salty taste of blood flooded into my mouth. A pitch black surrounded me as the fire begun to slowly die out until just the faint light of the moon reached my eyes and an owl hooted off into the distance.

I awoke one morning in a hospital bed, an I.V. sticking out of my arm, and gauze wrapped around my face. I saw a mirror on the wall of the bathroom and walked to it, dragging the I.V. behind me. Before looking in the mirror, I ripped off the bandages from my being bringing an uncontrollable torrent of pain. The reflection I saw in the mirror is not of myself but of a man that had aged before his time. I saw a pink strip of bare flesh across my face and arms that would become a lifelong scar. Most of my hair was singed and no hair grew on my arms or eyebrows. My eyes stuck me as those of another. They had been green before but know they were a pale blue. I winced as the thought of blue eyes lead me to relive the biter memory of the fire that demonic night. I reached out to touch the mirror as the nurse walked in she saw I was standing and quickly shooed me back to the bed. I could feel tears well up inside me as she placed gauze on my face and arms to cover the burns. She gave me some pills for the pain and once I take them, I am soon greeted by the great blackness that is sleep.

I dreamt of that mask. It called to me, beckoning me to put it on. When I got close enough to reach out and touch the mask, my face begins to burn all over again. I wake up screaming as the flames leap up around me. When I opened my eyes, I saw her standing above my bed. Her hair flowing down in luscious waves as a succulent smell of pumpkin clouded around me. I only saw a glimpse of her between the pain and the morphine that the doctors decided I had needed.
Soon the man and his mask no longer haunted my dreams. Instead, this woman with her long flowing hair, eyes hidden in shadows peering out between each strand. I ran to her through the black mist that surrounds my dreams. I see her peering behind the shadows “I’m waiting,” whispers the mist coming from everywhere at once. I reached her and held out my arms, we are complete in each other’s embrace. After a few moments, I could feel ourselves being separated already as if some invisible force was pulling us apart. Apart to the destinies of those whom we were to soon become. Of the men and woman that we had strived to become, of whom we may or may not have become. It would shape us into the people that we were meant to be. Although the moment was quick, and quicker still in the light of our lives, it would last forever in the beauty that is nature. I woke up as the memory lingered for a moment and then vanished as the nurse walked into the room.

I am released from the hospital today; I was told the woman I saw in my dreams and by my bed was not real. I walked to my house a few blocks from the hospital in which I had spent the last few months. The world around me is growing cold and each step taken leaves a small crunch of leaves beneath my feet. The sweet aroma of pumpkins floats on the chilling breeze as I reach my home.
“Home sweet home,” I laugh thinking of how lonesome it is. I began to head back to the door noticing that I had left it open. When I reach the door, instead of just shutting myself away from the world, I step out into it. There a young woman holding a bag in one hand and a smile on her lips greets me. I know the woman standing before me with the billowing hair and a gleaming set of eyes peering out at me. I hug her, holding her tight not wanting to let go.
She grips my arms and lowers them looking deeply into my eyes “I’ve been waiting for you,” she says as I led her into the empty home. She sets down her bag outside and follows me into the house. I close the door behind us. The next day her bag is gone but as she set it down it opened slightly; and I could have sworn that peeking out of her bag was a mask with deep blue eyes.



Post a Comment

Be the first to comment on this article!

Site Feedback