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Fuego

February 15, 2013
Fuego


Her fluorescent green nails bit crescent moons into the pleather seats. Her legs were mashed together and glued by the slick sweat that coated her thighs.
“Please,” Her voice was tremulous inside the cigarette haze. He ignored her, keeping his eyes strictly to the road. “Please stop the car.” A tear threatened to slip through her clenched lids and he merely lowered the window. His cigarette rolled into a bush on the side of the gravel, the ashes crumbled into the soil. A leaf began to send soft wafts of smoke into the air. A spark caught. A flame bloomed. A fire unraveled. A wave thundered into the forest. Trees became candle wicks. The grass became writhing tongues. The car continued on, unaware of the damage it had caused. It stopped a mile from town to rid itself of its burden, speeding off into civilization moments later.

A young boy was playing in the field near his father’s home. He wasn’t allowed to leave the backyard but he often did. He was playing bandit, the cops weren’t that far behind. His hunger grew as he raced and the heady scent of barbeque increased as he ran. His foot was caught in a branch and he landed heavily on his outstretched hands, skinning a knee. His wail of pain turned into a shriek. It wasn’t a branch that had tripped him. A corpse lay upon the floor.
Her hair was a bright cherry red spread on the earthen floor. A raspberry mouth was stretched in horror. A sticky hole had been opened under her chin. The boy scrambled to his feet and sobbed anew as he noticed a shard of fingernail embedded in his elbow. He wrenched it out and threw it away. He soon stumbled to empty the contents of his stomach, not noticing the thick scent of barbeque quickly approaching; destruction in the shape of heat was tearing away nearby. The acrylic nail was a small shard of ruby on the side of the road.

A whole state away a car rumbled along the highway. The woman had ceased to weep and instead stared listlessly out the window. The driver rubbed her thigh, but not for the aim of comfort. She peeled his hand away and gnawed at her fingernails. Fluorescent green flakes stuck to her lips. The missing passenger haunted the back of the car.

They stopped at a gas station and he walked in to buy another pack of cigarettes. When he returned he reached out to touch her once more. She slapped his hand away and her eyes became furious embers. He shrugged and turned away.
“It’s your turn to drive.”

Behind them, charred remains were lying amongst the rubble. A father gripped his trembling child. A cottage burst open. A town became ruins. A hospital became a cemetery. A boy became still.

She drove stiffly through the traffic as he lazily flicked ashes out of the window. His eyes flickered towards her occasionally. He marked her flushed face and rapid breathing. He noticed her drumming fingers and jogging left knee. Her silence was the only nonmoving feature.
“We’re in this together.” His words seemed to burn themselves into her mind. She relaxed, her fingers loosened on the wheel. Her face went slack. Then it tightened. Determination raced through her soul. She turned to look at him. They were approaching a bridge. The water was a crystalline teal.
“Together,” She whispered. Her attention snapped back onto the road. Her foot slammed down. The car lurched. The speedometer jolted. Burning rubber hit the air. Cars honked. An automobile flew off the bridge. He screamed. His hands clenched the dashboard. She leaned back. Her eyes were a vibrant turquoise. The river engulfed them.
A cigarette floated demurely on the water.




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