Broken Crown

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The snow covered the ground all around her. She used to get teary eyes seeing the snow; it reminded her of new beginnings. Now, the snow only tells her tired old songs. Endings just waiting to be laid to rest.

She stopped in the middle of the open field just north of where she lived. The falling teardrops nearly hid her footprints after only a minute or two. She slowly sat on the ground, opened up the small bag that was slung over her shoulder.

She pulled a small bundle out of the sack, covered by a faded, grey fabric. She fingered the worn shirt softly, so carefully laying it on the snow in front of her. Inside the shirt, she pulled out a small pile of pictures. Lovesick tears rolled down and off her cheeks, melting the snow where they fall.

She spread the pictures out on the t-shirt, his t-shirt. All the pictures reflected the two of them, their memories together. She flipped them all face down except for one, the center one. Their first kiss.

It always silenced her when she saw this. The picture was like a single frame from any romance movie. Waves crashing in the background, friends sitting around a bon fire, desperate to keep warm on any cold, spring night.

She set the picture back down and pulled out a small lighter from her pocket. I was just another bridge he would eventually burn, she thought, tears cascading down her cheeks.

After several attempts, the lighter sparked a flame in the icy weather; she took the center picture, and watched the memory burn away. His face curled into hers as she set it on the damp shirt. The other pictures soon began to catch the flame. She put her hand over the open flame to try and steal some of its warmth. It jumped out and bit her, but she didn't wince. It licked her slender fingers, but she didn't cry. She was done with crying. Her body, so numb to the elements, just wanted to be warm again.

The spreading fire tore at the old shirt. It ripped at the stitches and surged inside, the fire reaching out to catch the steadily falling flakes. She slowly removed her hand from the flame; almost smiling as she was it had taken to her sleeve. Her hand was burnt beyond recognition, but it didn't matter. She watched the living fire dance up her arm, growing as it reached toward the sky.

When her entire shirt was ablaze, she tore it off. She looked at his shirt. The flame had gone out, but the embers still glowed a vibrant orange. She picked it up gingerly and dusted it off, then slid it on softly over her raw, bleeding body.

Her shirt let off a small stream of smoke as the flame fought against the snow. It started to surrender, hissing as the once proud fire laid to rest in its watery grave.

She could feel the thin rivers of blood slowly oozing down her scarred arms and falling to the ground, staining the white snow a deep crimson. She breathed her life out in shaky, soft gasps. She wasn't afraid of what was happening to her. She was too tired to feel anything.

She laid down on the glistening snow, letting her eyes flutter to a close. The snowflakes formed a broken crown around her weary head. She didn't cry as her body became limp. She welcomed this new warmth as she moved on.





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