To Die Like Fires' Embers

November 27, 2011
Snow creeped upon the land, consuming all living life with it’s cold touch, and anything that were to beat a single heartbeat couldn't withstand the breath of Winter. It was the coldest ever known to man, and in the valley, temperatures plummeted, nearing sixty below. And what was left in winter’s path, was death; an end to life. Humans, though are tough and resilient, passed through winter easily, a few may find their lives overrun by a simple chill.

A house stands alone, far from civilization in the valley. It’s eerie walls lost it’s color and windows have been barricaded to make the cold feel un-welcomed. Smoke gently streams through the tiny chimney; not enough to stand up against the cold. And to what surprise, a mother and her son trapped within, smart enough to stay within it’s prison like walls.

The mother never fell asleep during the night. She was still worried about husband who had long adventured through the wilderness to bring back food.

How long was it? she wondered. She had not been counting the days. Her empty stomach screamed in pain, not letting her focus. It’s only been a little bit, she reassured herself. she looked at the fire. There was no true fire, just the last of their warmth, their embers dying. She felt as she was dying with them. She almost smiled at the thought. Escaping to the sky would be brilliant! I would be free! If only I was a dying ember!

She had to control herself, for she fell almost to tears. She wasn’t going to die as fast as the ember.

She sat in a small stool, her bare feet against the cold stone. She wrapped everything she had around her precious child, who now laid near the fire on the bed. She thought about her husband again. He was definitely acting strange when he had left. Rushed away pretty fast, and with sadness in his blue eyes. Or were they brown? It was their son, she remembered. He nearly screamed when he saw their son in her hands asleep. He overreacted, that’s all. Must have rushed out to get more food. Johnny was looking very thin. Her memory was foggy, but her mind filled in the blanks. Why would her mind ever deceive her?

She stood up and felt the cold shoot through her in a paralyzing way. She had no socks and her shoes were used as kindle. She looked around for something to wrap her feet. She spotted the baby near the fire, his face still sickly thin. She felt mad and jealous; that child must be so warm and she was left to bear the cold. So spoiled!!! She wanted to yell. But a small memory came back to her. Phillip?John? She much liked the name Benjamin. Benjamin was her beautiful child. He was to grow up and be a doctor. Won’t he be the ladies man.

Her husband certainly was.Only once she hated the words that came out of his mouth. She remembered a story he once told, of a magnificent ship that fell prey to an ice burg. Her husband claimed the true heroes were the musicians on board. They played to ease the passengers; to help them accept death. The mother wondered what a big toll that must have settled on their hearts. To trick the people to just accept “giving up” is horrible! The people could have tried to escape! Her husband said they couldn't escape, that they would have been choosing death still. Playing their violins was all they had left.

A horrid story, she would say. And she thought and thought how grateful she was that it was just a story. Or was it? She shook her head and knew that anything like that would not be true. She would know.

She sat back on the small stool. She thought about why the windows were barricaded. Need to take those down? The beautiful trees and flowers would be such a lovely sight!

She looked back at her child and thought, what a good baby! I don’t remember you ever crying. Such a good baby! She felt an overwhelming sadness, but she didn’t know what it was for. If the story about the violinists were true, she almost agreed with her husband. The violinists kept playing to ease the passengers and, she thought, to ease themselves. The mother began crying. She remembered everything clearly now but her mind soon became foggy and a quiet, sad violin song played in the back of her head. She accepted it, even welcoming to plague her mind. It was her death, and she didn’t care, as long as she felt at ease. If that story about the violinists was true, she definitely felt like them. But what did she give up on? It certainly was not on life she thought. She had all the time in the world to keep on living. Whatever it was she didn’t care. She felt calm and happy. Her mind created her a world and she couldn’t remember why she was thinking about a violin song. Her attention went back to the windows and she wondered why they were covered. She thought and thought and then her mind told her.

“Don’t worry,” she spoke to her child, “Papa will be here soon. Don’t you worry.”

Join the Discussion

This article has 13 comments. Post your own now!

applesauceHater said...
Jun. 26, 2012 at 8:34 pm
When I wrote this article, for the longest time I couldn't understand how people had found mistakes. I couldn't find any! Now that I look at it again, I found the mistakes! Grammer was defenetly not my strength! Though it's amazing I became more aware and have learned from my mistakes and hopefully will become a stronger writer!Thanks to everyone on TeenInk for opening my eyes!
lucygirl26 said...
Jan. 6, 2012 at 1:55 pm
This was interesting! I liked it and thought it had AMAZING description. Again, the few grammar errors and the switching between tenses are things to work on, but other than that I loved it! I can't tell you how much I enjoyed the description. They were very real and vivid. Great job!
applesauceHater replied...
Jan. 6, 2012 at 5:13 pm
yeah my tenses are horrible, but i am working on it:)thank u
thisbeautifulmiasma said...
Jan. 4, 2012 at 12:15 am
Hey! I can't thank you enough for the kind words posted on my article, "Falling." Writing is, at times, a lonely process, so having others give me feedback, especially feedback so encouraging, is always lovely! I noticed in some of the other comments you mentioning the grammar aspect of this short story, and I agree that it's something you should work on. A lot of the comprehension about grammar and sentence structure, I believe, comes from reading well-written books that use these tools to the ... (more »)
applesauceHater replied...
Jan. 5, 2012 at 12:05 am
oh shucks XD yeah, in one of my classes. the creative writing class shares the classroom and i over heard them saying that they are to write every day on anything. i defenently am gonna try to do that, and recently i too picked up quite a lengthy and well written book(or so people say):)thank you for the wonderful comment, it shall learn from it
StrangeJade This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Dec. 5, 2011 at 8:44 am
Very, very interesting, and I'm not just saying that because I can't find anything else nice to say. :P No, it really is interesting, and the mother is a very engaging character to read about; you keep wondering about her state of mind, whether her husband will come back, and where he is. I also think that you ended the story at just the right moment. Bravo! :)
JoPepper said...
Dec. 4, 2011 at 1:35 pm
This probably got first place didn't it! Keep writing!!!!!
applesauceHater said...
Dec. 3, 2011 at 12:24 am
:(ughhh. i found the grammer errors. well, dont i sound smart(sarcasm)
furcifer said...
Dec. 1, 2011 at 5:35 pm

She is a beautiful character, and this is a beautiful story. The only thing I noticed were a few grammar spots, nothing too distracting. Were you going for the reader to read into the mother lying to herself about her husband coming back? If so, there are a lot of parallels between her and the character Lena in Faulkner's Light of August. The story about the musicians was brilliant.

Great job.

applesauceHater replied...
Dec. 1, 2011 at 8:11 pm
ooooh thanku!!! i was so worried about adding the musicians but it was for a contest so i had hoped it worked. ill look for the grammer errors on my original. thank u!
applesauceHater replied...
Dec. 1, 2011 at 8:12 pm
oh and yeah! i wanted the readers to see that she was lying to herself
mbrown106 said...
Nov. 30, 2011 at 6:46 pm
I agree, the emotion is fantastic! I was hanging onto every thought she had. The voice is excellent.
PolkaPete said...
Nov. 30, 2011 at 1:29 pm

This is great! I liked the emotion from the mother. The only thing i noticed is that you had detail where i didn't expect it. That isn't a bad thing, it's actually good, I just noticed that.

Hope you write more!

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