Tuesday, January 6, 2015


From Sarah Selecky: Write a scene that includes frost, cornflakes, and boots.

The fire didn't do it. The mug didn't either. I was still cold.
  I pulled the blanket tighter over my shoulders, the movement sending a shiver through my body, and contemplated the proximity of the fire, wondering if I dared move closer. The cabin had a wood-burning stove, but I didn't know how it worked. I had never had to learn how, before.
  My stomach rumbled. Aware it would send another shiver to rack my body, I tipped the box of cornflakes and filled my hand, a few flakes escaping to the ground. I quickly picked them up and popped them between my chattering teeth, not caring that they had fallen on the worn, wiry grayed rug beneath me. A little dirt and soot wouldn't kill me. Not before the cold did, anyway.
  The fire crackled, sending a spark into the metal screen. The spark flailed against its captor for a second before blinking out and falling to the ground. I dumped my handful of cereal into my mouth, wondering if the spark somehow foreshadowed my future. I was the only one around to notice the spark; who would be around to notice me? No one. They might find me when the snow melted and the roads were again passable. Someone would come to prepare the cabin for the summer crowd. But that was months off. If I could only get warm again, they wouldn't find me at all. But I couldn't leave before my frost-covered nose hairs had time to dry.
  Just as I reached up to feel them, the lights flickered and fingers of frigid air swirled into the room, brushing against me like a lover's caress. My shivering stopped, my body too tense for the movement. The arctic air withdrew, but not before I felt its glee at discovering my warmth.
  I had been found. It was time to leave.
  I stood, letting the blanket fall to the ground. It could not protect me now. Moving the grate away from the fire, I grabbed the box of cornflakes. The fire needed a burst of flame. I hesitated, then ripped the bag of cereal out of the box, clutching it to my chest as I threw the box into the fire. I stared at the flames until my sight started to burn. I breathed in just as boots scraped against the wood porch outside the door. They were too late, this time.
  The air around me swirled, a bright orange mixed with red. I filled my lungs with oxygen and blew until the flames turned blue. They couldn't trace me through the fire, because not even I knew where I'd end up. I stepped into the flames.

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