Creative Writing

Short Story Excerpt, “Embers”

The flowers that were once beautiful and peaceful are now wilted and burned, mostly red and foggy with no life left.

Every year we would see the petals fall, the stems get weak, and eventually, all of the carnations would die along with the tiger lilies, the hydrangea shrubs, and blueberry bushes. Fall would come, and we would hope for it to be a short winter, and that spring will be here early so we could watch the blooms pop back up out of the ground. Our children loved it, and I loved him more and more every day.

Everything is burned. It smelled like burned brushes, burned wood, and burned carpet and ceilings, like burned everything. Everything had a smell. I didn’t know everything could have a smell when it burned, but I don’t think I’ll be able to forget it after this night. Our life together has ended, and I have no evidence of it left. The rain showers, the bags of soil, even the garden furniture that we used to sit and watch our children chase the bugs and dig for treasure, gone. My treasure, my children, and my husband, all are gone.

“The grease got too hot,” is what I keep telling them. I had cooked for my family every night for years, and this had never happened. All of a sudden the whole kitchen was full of smoke. The children were upstairs in their room while my husband was working on the cabinets in the bathroom next door to them. The kitchen has a door that leads directly outside. I stepped out when the smoke got out of hand, and then I saw the flames looking in from the window. There was nothing I could do then; I had just killed them.

The water hose just wasn’t enough. It was always enough to rinse off the children’s muddy shoes after playing in the water puddles almost every time it rained. It was enough to nourish our beautiful garden, the one he planted for me the first spring after we moved in. But now, it isn’t even enough to extinguish the front porch. The red flames and debris will just keep taking over my house because this water hose won’t help.

That spring was the best spring I ever had. We bought this house, a dream house, with a dream family and a dream to always live life fully. He spent weeks in that flower bed digging and adding soil to plant my flowers and bushes. Before the summer came, this whole backyard had blooms and greens covering over half of it, just enough for the children to still play. I watched him work almost every Saturday, and most Sundays build this landscape for me, and on the last day, when it was finally done, we chased each other around with this water hose, getting soaking wet, and fell even more in love.

This fire left me with nothing. No blooms, no flower scents left in the air, and no family left. The firefighters tried to save them, but I was the only one who got out. I watched as they all ran in, “Save my children, please save my children!” I said over and over, and then everything went silent. I remember them coming out holding nothing, nothing at all. I walked to the garden, where most of the flames had been put out, and watched my whole life disappear.

The flowers are gone, and so am I.

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