Tornados of Fire

Tornados of Fire

A Story by Seth Armstrong
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A story of a man who can't forgive himself.

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     How do you look forward? I can’t remember what it was like. Perhaps I never knew.

     My mind is foggy, and fickle. It feels like there’s a disconnect between my brain and my eyes--like they’re hanging onto each other by the last tensing of a cord about to snap.

     I can’t look forward; I can only look back.

     There’s something out in the distance, calling out to me. It looks like a tree. A tree shrouded in silver light and fog, like something grown out of a dream, around which there is nothing but darkness.

      I can see it closer now. There are no details. There is only static--a fuzzy, faded reflection of a tree, like I’m looking at it in the reflection of a misty puddle rocked with ripples.

     That’s all I can see of that tree.

     I can’t look forward. I can only look back.

 

     Oklahoma.

     Tornados and terror a thousand miles away.

     I can hear screaming.

     I can hear screaming calling out to me.

     Is that what it sounds like?

 

     Severed. That’s how it feels.

     Severed from light, severed from darkness. Severed from good, severed from evil.

     Sitting in the darkness.

     All alone.

     Watching.

     Waiting.

     I’ve been waiting here for so long.

     How long can it possibly take for the past to catch up with me?

 

     I feel sick. My stomach churns, and my heart burns. I can do little else but lie here and bed and think of her.

     Tick, tock. Tick, tock.

     Time slips away.

 

     Fire. Fire. Fire.

     Everything around me is burning.

 

     Jealousy is a broken mirror. You look into it and see a perverted, distorted version of yourself. You see yourself as no one we’d ever want. No one we’d ever love.

     Endeavoring to change that, you fight and prove it right.

     And then we leave you. We leave you down on the dirt dying in a ditch like the dog you are.

     I hope you like the taste of mud, you f*****g scumbag.

 

     Silence.

     Breathe.

     Silence.

     Breathe.

     I’m hyperventilating.

     Hyper, hyper, hyper.

     Everything’s spinning.

     Whose ghost is that I see?

     Hopefully that isn’t me.

 

     I’m standing in a field. Endless. Rows and rows of crop grow all around me. I take one in my hand, but I can’t tell what it is. It’s foggy and fickle and distant and reflective and muddy and broken and rippled like that silver tree. It’s a crop. That’s all it is.

     The sky above is formlessly gray. It’s silver and dark and terrifying. I think it’s calling out to me.

     I cower down to the ground in the field. I try to find a point of contact, someone or something I can trust.

     I see fraying roped images at the edge of my sight, far into the fog but close enough to reach.

     Yet too far all the same.

     I’ll stay in this field.

     Allow me to terrorize myself, in peace.

 

     She’s so beautiful, isn’t she?

     Honest-to-god the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen.

     I probably shouldn’t say that, though. She’s already taken.

     But who cares?

     No one will ever hear me.

     How could they?

     I can’t even speak with water in my lungs.

 

     Several days down from the mountain, in the corpse of a rocky terrain.

     The land here is dry, barren, scorched by some horrible blight.

     Yes, right here.

     I think this is a wonderful place to settle down.

 

     Several days out.

     Several miles in.

     Several cuts deep.

     Several souls din.

 

     Hazel.

     That’s the word I was looking for.

     Her eyes are hazel.

 

     How much of a drop is it, do you think?

     If I walked off the edge here, do you think I’d survive?

     I don’t know myself, but I’m tempted to find out.

     At the very least, it’s deep enough that you won’t hear me scream if I realize it too late.

     There’s your consolation.

 

     Scratch, scratch, scratch.

     Scratch it all away.

     Remonstrate your imperfections. Banish them today.

     Scratch, scratch, scratch.

     Are they still there?

     Harder, sweetie, harder.

     You’re not trying hard enough.

 

     Anything can be wiped away. Every mistake I’ve made can be gone. Time itself washes all passings away. Many years from now, no one will ever remember who I was or what I’ve done. The ripples of my actions will cease to be significant. I’ll fade away into nothingness. I’ll fall headlong through the distance, fall headlong into hell.

     With enough time, enough patience. With enough elbow grease, enough work. Anything can be wiped away. Nothing I do will ever stay.

     So, why should I be bothered with my own happiness?

     Why should anyone?

 

     Who is that, holding her hand?

     Oh, I see.

     I guess it was never meant to be.

 

     “I’ll always be here waiting for you.”

 

     Grotesque. Grotesque. Grotesque.

     Disgust and dirt, death and deserters.

     Eat lead, m**********r.

 

     My eyes are glazing over.

     My soul is sucked away.

     What’s on the other side of this screen?

     Who’s there?

     Who is that?

     Can you tell me your name?

     Oh, okay.

     I didn’t want to know, anyway.

 

     I tucked flowers in my heart just for fun. I flitted and floundered the words around and basked them in the sun.

     What am I, a second-grade poet? I can’t seem to stop trying to rhyme.

     Rhyme, thyme, dime, time, grime, crime.

     It’s all a f*****g crime.

 

     A fish, a fish--a flippant fish.

     A fish in a pond of blood.

 

     Hello?

     Oh, sorry.

     For a moment there, I thought someone may have cared.

 

     Streams. Rivers. Tributaries.

     They’re all flowing, all flowing away.

     All flowing away from me.

     There she goes.

     Goodbye, my love.

     Until the end of time, I’ll always be here, waiting for you.

 

     Shake shake shake.

     Shake your leg.

     Shake your leg ’til you wish you were dead.

 

     She has the most beautiful eyes in the world. Those hazel eyes. I just want to stare into them forever. I could be lost in them. I could spend an eternity there, never ceased to be amazed. Everything is behind those eyes. Everything but me.

 

     I’m sorry, reader.

     I’m sorry you put up with me.

 

     Help me.

     Help me, goddamn it.

     I can’t do this on my own.

     I can’t get rid of her.

     She won’t go away.

     The best I can do is get rid of myself--cast off the carapace and fall headlong into the sea.

     There, it will end. A few bitter minutes of kicking and silent screaming, and then a moment of blissful awareness, and then an eternity of silence and peace.

     Oh my f*****g god, yes.

     I would like that very much.

 

     Always treat guns as if they’re loaded and capable of discharging.

     I know that rule.

     Keep your hand away from the trigger.

     Don’t point it at anyone.

     Stick by that until you’re absolutely certain that you’re ready to shoot.

     But I’m not ready to shoot.

     So, why do I have this barrel in my mouth?

     Why do I have my finger on the trigger?

 

     An island would be a wonderful escape.

     A secluded, rocky jut in the middle of the ocean with tough flora and peaceful fauna.

     Basking under the weight of the sun with nowhere to hide.

     Nowhere except the cave.

 

     How is it possible for someone’s skin to be that beautiful? Without blemish or imperfection?

     How is it possible for anyone to be like her?

     How is it possible for someone to entrench themselves into my heart like she did?

     How is it possible that I found an angel just to tear off her wings?

     It makes sense, though.

     I deserve to watch her slip away.

     I hurt her.

     I deserve to bear my love for her while watching her drift further away from me.

     I deserve this.

     I deserve the pain.

     I deserve the acrimony.

     I deserve every stubbed toe, every fracture on my heart.

     I deserve to be dragged into hell like so.

     I deserve this.

     I deserve every last drop of it.

 

     Am I already insane?

     Do monsters mar mirrors, or do mirrors make monsters?

 

     Flicker on, flicker off.

     The lamps keep flickering in my mind.

     Turn them off, for God’s sake.

     Let me get some f*****g rest.

     Please?

     Please, someone.

     Someone, let me rest.

 

     Loneliness is the only cure for unrequited love, isn’t it?

     It would make sense for new love to work, but it doesn’t. That isn’t fair. How dare you make someone else fall for you while you’re still holding onto something else?

     How f*****g dare you?

     Don’t come out of the darkness. Don’t even bother. Stay in there until you’re better.

     Stay in there until you rot.

 

     Acrimony.

     Acrimony.

     Acrimony.

     It tastes so sweet.

     It takes so sane.

     It tastes like justice.

     That’s what it is, isn’t it?

 

     Tennessee.

     From Tennessee.

     For Tennessee.

     From sea to shining sea.

     F*****g Tennessee.

 

     I still have the turtles.

     I wish I could tell her that.

     I never gave them away.

     I never got rid of them.

     They’re right beside me, right now.

     I could still give them to her, if she wanted.

     I know she doesn’t, but I’d like to believe in happy endings even if I’ve already written my tragedy.

 

     “Happy endings”

     Is that what this would be?

     If all I hope for in this truly came to pass, is that what it would come out to?

     I sure f*****g hope so.

     After years of reflection, it’s all I’ve ever truly wanted.

     It’s the only thing I’ve ever so viciously fought myself over.

     I should let go, but I’ve fought to not let go--to never let go.

     I’ve tried to force myself to let go, but there are always more ledges.

     There will always be more ledges.

     There will always be this choice.

     And as far as the horizon rises on, I can’t imagine that I shall ever change mine.

 

     “Until the end of time, I’ll always be here, waiting for you.”

     We both made that promise.

     At least I kept up my end of the deal.

     But I wish she had, too.

 

     Flick it up, sticky note.

     Tell me how I feel.

     Draw me, draw me.

     Lines are lectures, and lectures, pain; pain is pleasure for someone like me.

 

     Wave to them.

     Wave.

     Wave to them on that magnificent vessel as we float further out to sea.

     The raft is creaking, and our food stores are low.

     Wave to them, pretend to be happy.

     Don’t ask for help.

     They don’t understand me well enough to save us.

 

     The thunder of hooves in the racing of my heart.

     The silence of gunfire on the endless field of battle.

     A monster locked between fear and peace.

     Everything is perfect, everything is chaos.

     Everything is fucked, and that’s just wonderful to me.

 

     ********* ******* ******

     The bane of my existence,

     The love of my life.

 

     Hello?

     What is that I heard?

     Was it a response?

     It was probably just an echo.

     No one will ever find me down here.

     It’s better off that way.

     I deserve to be buried, but I deserve it alone; and no one else should be forced to watch.

 

     Hedges arise on either side.

     Higher,

     Higher,

     Higher.

     Higher still.

     Is it possible that they could grow so high as to swallow up the whole world?

     It’s possible, I imagine. Hell, I’d venture to say it’s probable.

     I’ll never know, though.

     I won’t make it that long.

 

     I see a flicker of silver.

     I see that silver tree.

     Someone, save me from its glare.

     Even righteous scorn is hard to bear.

 

     Who is she?

     It took you this long to think to ask?

     I’ve already told you.

     Oh, you want specifics?

     I’m not sure I can satisfy your query.

     She’s layered.

     She’s perfect.

     That’s such a loaded question.

     How dare you ask me that?

     I was on a roll.

     If you just listened, I would have told you everything you wanted to know and more.

     Everything.

     I can still try, but I have a tendency to fragment the past to protect my image.

     I don’t intend for that to be an issue here. I’m far beyond vindication. I’m slipping from purgatory into hell. My secrets are sacrosanct no longer. My fears have already been realized.

     I have nothing left to lose, and nothing I could lose to you.

 

     Like every good love story, it started with a dance.

     Like every good love story, it built with respect.

     Like every good love story, it stymied through distrust.

     Like every good love story, it degraded with enmity.

     Like every good love story, it crashed in flames.

     Like every good love story, it will always haunt me.

     Like every good love story, it will keep me captive.

     Like every good love story, it will never let me go.

     Like every good love story, it will never end.

 

     A boy and a girl, face-to-face.

     Tête-à-tête.

     Vis-à-vis.

     Eyes locked.

     Lips upturned.

     Happy.

     Free.

     Forever in their eyes.

 

     A storm on the horizon.

     Distant and small from here.

     But large and menacing.

     What’s there to worry for?

     We’ll never see it.

 

     Fame is fickle.

     Fame is fleeting.

     Fire is eternal.

     Fire is freeing.

 

     I can’t see straight, or clearly.

     I see fuzzy images.

     Static televisions.

     I’ve lost all sense of nuance and detail.

     Broad strokes impale me, and frighten me.

     Better that I stay in this world so that I don’t see the horror I’ve created.

 

     Monsters.

     Mirrors.

     Monsters.

     Mirrors.

 

     Is that her?

     Is it?

     I can’t tell from here.

     But I’ll die if I don’t find out.

     PLEASE, come closer.

     Please, let me love you.

     That’s all I want anymore.

 

     Flick.

     Fire.

     Breathe.

     Crackle.

     Inhale.

     Hold.

     Exhale.

     Smoke.

     This is one hell of a way to kill yourself.

     At least it looks cool as f**k to do.  

 

     Smile, smile, smile.

     Smile like this pumpkin that’s smirking at me.

 

     Rip it all to pieces.

     Tear everything to shreds.

     All the memories.

     All the artifacts.

     All the memorabilia.

     All the love.

     Rip it all apart.

     Cast it down from the walls.

     Cast it down from its throne.

     Burn those holy seats.

     Rip down the tapestries.

     Set fire to the halls.

     Batter the castle.

     Take down every brick--

     By hand, if you must.

     Rip it all to shreds.

     Tear it all apart.

     Destroy every last remnant, every memory of her.

     Burn everything, and cast the ashes into the sea.

     Do you feel better now?

     Good.

     Now put it all back together.

     Put everything back in its place.

     Build it back up to what it was before.

     Place her back on her throne.

     Hand her back her crown.

     You stupid, stupid boy.

     You’re not strong enough to get rid of her.

 

     A sacred black dress.

     A hand outstretched.

     The most beautiful smile in all the world.

     A perfect girl, a perfect place.

     A foolish heart, a fateful embrace.

 

     I’m f*****g drunk.

     She’s f*****g taken.

     Everything is fucked.

 

     Swipe.

     Swipe.

     Swipe.

     Swipe.

     Swipe.

     Swipe.

     Swipe.

     Swipe.

     Swipe.

     Swipe.

     God, goddamn it.

     There’s nothing out there.

     Nothing even compares.

 

     Everyone on the line.

     Everyone, get on the line.

     Can you hear me?

     Can you hear me out there?

     I sure hope so.

     I have some apologies to make.

     The first of which is for making this call.

 

     Curves.

     Curves of clouds reflected on the glistening surface like hills of smoke.

     Hills of smoke.

     Hills of smoke.

     If God is merciful, I’ll bury myself under one of those someday.

 

     Lights on the other side twinkle like stars.

     Do they know I’m out here?

     Can they see me watching them?

     I wonder.

     Because they’re all lightyears away from me--or, rather, I’m lightyears away from them.

     I’m lightyears away from everyone.

 

     I’m sorry for how I treated you.

     I know it wasn’t right.

     But you’ve already heard me say that before.

     And you already forgave me.

     I don’t know why I said it again.

     Save for the fact that I can never get it off my mind.

     Lo siento, mi amor.

     I’m so, so sorry.

 

     ******** *******,

     ***** *****,

     ***** ** ********,

     *** ***** ** *****.

     Where are you now?

 

     Where is that tree?

     Wait, I think I see it ahead.

     I think it’s calling for me.

 

     Fire and Fury/Ashes and Regret.

     Fire and fury.

     Fire and fury.

     Fire and fury.

     Ashes and regret.

     Ashes and regret.

     Ashes and regret.

     Fire and Fury/Ashes and Regret.

 

     Ashes. Ashes are all I see.

 

     I can barely hold down a breath. I breathe it deep and draw it back, and it fights its way back out of me. It strains and constricts my throat, thrashing and raving and clawing and screaming until I finally let it go, back out to sea.

     And I stay here, breathless, dying of a broken heart.

 

     Keep trying.

     Keep trying.

     Keep trying to breathe.

     We’ll make it out of here, someday.

     That’s what they told me, anyway.

     But how the f**k would they know?

     They abandoned me long ago.

 

     It…I don’t know.

     Does it hurt?

     It tingles. It tingles in the most uncomfortable way.

     I can’t tell if it’s pain and punishment or enlightenment and breath.

     I can’t tell what it is.

     But I can see the stars ahead.

     They flicker beautifully on the edge of the night, sparkling like diamonds in the firmament above.

     It’s so beautiful.

     So, so beautiful.

     I wish she were here, holding my hand.

     There’s no one I’d rather watch this with than her. 

 

     Can’t I just drop it already?

     Can’t I let it go?

     Won’t you suffer for the angels to fly?

     I guess not.

     I don’t even have her, but I don’t want to lose her again.

 

     Worthless.

     Worthless. Worthless. Worthless.

     That’s why she doesn’t love me.

     That’s all I am.

 

     She once was a true love of mine.

     Oh, wait, she still is.

     Whoops.

 

     Meet me beneath the moonlight. Shine out with all the radiance of the stars. Flicker and flounder in the paths lost to the universe. Come to me. Let me breathe.

 

     She was so sweet.

     So, so sweet.

     Sickly sweet.

     So sugary sweet that she ruins your teeth for whatever you bite next.

     Maybe that’s why I can’t get rid of her.

     My teeth are still weak from her.

     I couldn’t bite anyone else if I tried or if I wanted to.

     Just let them rot.

     And then, me.

 

     I'm standing in the center of a field of dust with twisters on all sides--tornadoes of fire lashing at the night, rising thousands of feet in the air, whipping away the dust and ashes as it sears everything in sight. 

     Everything but me, in the center of the field.

     There I sit in wait in darkness impenetrable to all but the firelight. There I sit and wait while the caladity works away at my carapace. There I sit and wait for her to kill me.

     Or, rather, for me to kill myself.

     After all, no one is forcing me to stay.

     But my legs are like lead.

     It might make you feel better to tell me to just get the hell up, but I can’t move.

     Allow me to terrorize myself, in peace.

     Allow me to catch fire.

     Allow me to burn.

     Hear my screams, witness.

     Listen carefully.

     This is what it sounds like when somebody dies.

 

     Where is that white tree?

     I thought it was right in front of me.

     But now I’ve pushed and pushed through the fog, and I--

     I don’t see it anywhere.

     But I can still hear it.

     It’s still calling out to me.

     I can feel the call deep down in my heart.

     Help me, reader, show me where it is.

     Oh no, I forgot.

     You don’t know a damn thing.

 

     No. No no no no no no no. No. No. No no no. No.

     Goddamn it, NO.

 

     California, California, California.

     Is there really paradise in those hills?

     West Virginia, West Virginia, West Virginia.

     Here, there’s the apocalypse.

 

     Thunder. I feel thunder inside my heart, underneath my skin. Everything pulses within me. My vision fades to black--no, not black: to outlines. I see the world in base components. Everything falls apart--falls back on the facades, on the lies that keep it together.

     The paintjobs that make everything pretty to look at--they’ve faded away.

     I see this world for what it truly is.

     Everything is cast over gray and suffused with sorrow.

     All the people are faceless, and all things tangible are sharp edges and abrasive.

     Nothing is sweet or happy in the recesses of my heart, at the heart of the world.

 

     I remember dancing the night away all those years ago.

     We spent the whole time in each other’s arms, close together, swaying to any and all music, lost in the love of our eyes and the gentleness of our kisses.

     Lost together, but stuck together.

     Together forever.  

     Goddamn it, I know why she left.

     But can’t I get her to come back to me?

     I just want to hold her--to dance the night away, tonight and all other nights forthwith.

     Her in my arms.

     The sweetness of her smile.

     The softness of her eyes.

     The resonant litany of her voice.

     The endearing magnetism of her subtle quirks and fatal flaws.

     The sweltering sweetness of her vibrant heart.

     Her.

     Just her.

     All of her.

     That’s what I need.

     That’s what I need to be happy.

 

You have to let her go.

     It’s not that simple.

I didn’t say it was.

     Then what do I do?

Stop thinking about her. Find someone else.

     Don’t make me laugh.

Someone else is out there for you.

     It’s her, or it’s no one.

Don’t be unreasonable.

     I don’t know why you came here for sensible negotiations.

I came to talk you down from this ledge. To stay your hand from madness.

     You’re wasting your time. I like the feel of the wind.

Aren’t you scared?

     Vaguely. But not of falling--of turning my back.

On what?

     See that sparkle? That’s her. I’m waiting for her.

There is no sparkle.

     There is. You just can’t see it. You don’t have enough faith.

It’s because I’m not delusional.

     She made a promise to me. This will all work out.

If it will, it won’t work out like this. Get down from there.

     No.

Don’t be unreasonable.

     I’m not. I’m just in tune with the wind. I like the sound it makes. I hear the songs it sings. I sense its pain as keenly as my own.

You’re delusional.

     Maybe. But I prefer it to whatever you are.

Why?

     I don’t want to be happy. Not without her.

Why?

     I deserve pain.

You’ve hurt for long enough. You’ve been abluted by now.

     Divinely, perhaps. But I’m far less forgiving than God, and ever more vengeful.

No one needs revenge.

     I do.

No, don’t ju--

 

     Swords ring out and clatter on this battlefield. But I’ve been blinded by the heavens. I can’t see any stroke or feel any fear.

     Thankfully, I can’t feel any pain, either.

     Nothing they do can hurt me.

     No one can hurt me but myself.

     And it’s time to feel that pain again.

 

     Fwhoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

 

     I’ll just curl up into a ball and hold that dog and pretend it’s her.

     And pray and pray and pray.

     And hope and hope and hope.

     And wish and wish and wish.

     And watch nothing come true, and bathe in disappointment.

     But I’ll still stay there, holding him and wishing for her.

     Go ahead, laugh.

     I know it’s pathetic.

     I know I am.

     But it’s the only way I find comfort anymore.

     It’s the last refuge of my waning happiness.

     Like the last soldier of an army surrounded on the battlefield.

     Broken and battered, armor tattered, out of ammo, and weeping his last prayer.

     And off shoot the enemy.

     And there, he dies.

     And there, he dies alone.  

  

     All the simple things have faded away.

     Swirling in sundering seas, far away from me--blasted away like fallen autumn leaves by the first chill winds of winter.

     And then all the beauty of death is gone, and the emptiness reigns supreme.

 

     I like to look back like a kaleidoscope.

     I like to see all the memories happening all at once--everything I threw away and can never get back. I like to see it, to dote upon it and wish for its return.

     Wish for its return.

     I can see them all like a thousand paintings merged together into one. Every outline and detail looks frayed and muddled to you in the madness; but every little dot stands stalwart and indelible in my eyes. I can see every little piece of the puzzle, and sit here in my room and imagine it. And wish for it. And love it. And love her. And hate myself.

     I can feel every ache and pain yet joy and laugh of every drop of love that I will ever feel for her all at once--in one glorious, cacophonous declaration of my unyielding and indomitable affection toward her that shall never pass away.

     And then, silence--because she isn’t coming back.

     She’s never coming back.

 

     Why won’t you come back?

     Can’t you see I’ve changed?

     Don’t you realize it’ll work this time?

     Don’t you know what I would do for you?

     Don’t you?

     Please.

     Please, come back.

 

     I’m standing alone on the top of this hill with a cross I built for me.

     I can drive it into the ground, and I can gather the nails and the spears and the crown of thorns.

     But I can’t do this on my own.

     I need someone to see me, to witness me--to crucify me.

     I can’t drive the nails into myself.

     I can’t break my own legs, or stab myself in the chest.

     I can’t put that crown atop my head.

     I would, but I can’t restrain myself and embarrass myself at the same time.

     It’s just not possible.

     I need someone here to do it for me.

     Please, reader, won’t you torture me?

     Won’t you kill me?

     That’s all I’m asking of you:

     Crucify me, and leave me for the crows.

 

     I’m almost out of apologies.

     Can you imagine that?

     I can’t.

     I sent vessels out for forgiveness to those who will burn my ships at sea.

     But I sent them nonetheless.

     The only person left to ask forgiveness is myself.

     But I know better than that.

     Nothing I’ve done deserves forgiveness.

     Nothing I can say can amend my transgressions.

     There is no ablution that can wash away my sins.

     There is no savior that can heal my soul.

     There is only fire.

     There is only death.

     That beautiful, beautiful smile.

     Those beautiful, beautiful eyes.

     I hope those are the last things I see as I slip away.

     Into unforgiveness.

     Into the tornados.

     Into the fire.

     Into my heaven--my prison.

     My light--my love.

     My sins--my forgiveness.

     Allow me to wash myself away.

     Don’t forgive me.

     Please don’t forgive me.

     I never will, anyway.

     Just say goodbye.

     And let go.

 

     There it is.

     I can see it once again.

     I can see that silver tree.

     It’s blinding.

     It’s flickering.

     I have to get to it.

     I have to.

     Charge, charge, charge ahead.

     It’s growing brighter, more intense, more lovely.

     It’s growing brighter.

     And bigger.

     And brighter.

     And bigger.

     And brighter.

     And bigger.

     And--

 

     It’s her.

     Here she is, at the root of the tree.

     I’ve never seen such a lovely face.

     I’ve never met such a beautiful person.

     I reach my hand out to her.

     She smiles.

     She reaches out to me.

     Our fingertips touch.

     And hers break apart. 

     Her fingers shatter like glass, and the shards blast apart; and the wind whips them away, and they fade out of the light, and into nothingness.

     And the craquelure snakes down her hand, and up her arm. Across her chest. Down the other arm and to the fingertips. Down her stomach, past her hips, and race down the legs. Past the knees, over the calves. Down to her feet, ripping to the tips of her toes.

     And up her neck. Crawling up her cheeks. Scarring her smile, tearing her nose, ripping her eyes. Shattering her ears, devouring her hair.

     And she slowly breaks, in that order. She comes apart at the seams. Her body breaks away. And the wind carries her off.

     In those frightful moments, with tears in my eyes and vanity in my heart, I cry out to her,

     “I’m so sorry.”

     “I love you so much.”

     She regards me with a cautious smile, a guarded freedom. She says,

     “I know you are.”

     “I know you do.”

     And then she breaks apart. She shatters into silver threads just like my heart, and the wind whips her away. 

 

     I lean forward, catching my breath against the silver tree. And it seems so dim, somehow.

     I sink to my knees and cry.

     And lean against the tree and cry.

     I need to rest.

     I need to rest.

 

     I forget the fantasies, and fall back into reality. I forgo my happiness, and fall into madness.

     Here I am, still wishing.

     Here I am, still waiting.

     I love her.

     With all my heart.

     With all of me.

     But she won’t come back.

     She doesn’t have to.

     I want her to be happy.

     That’s all I want.

     That’s all I truly want.

 

     I hear a dripping, then a roaring. Time passes senselessly by the roots of this silver tree. I feel a wetness, and see the water rising on the ground. The waterfalls in the distance have let their payment gush forth into the only baptism I shall ever receive--into the one I pray for, the one I deserve. They come to wash the world clean.

     I lean against the silver tree.

     Through my tears, I smile.

     I’ll drown here, with this silver tree.

     And all hope shall die.

     That’s no more than I deserve.

     That’s what justice demands.

 

     Goodbye, reader.

     It’s time for us to part.

     It’s time for me to drown.

     Please, don’t try to save me.

     Allow me to terrorize myself, in peace.

 

© 2019 Seth Armstrong


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Such powerful imagery! Left me questioning what this guy did that was so bad?? Curious about your choice of asterisks following the lo siento line. Why did you approach it that way?

Posted 2 Years Ago


Very powerful words and story hidden way in the message of this story of the torment of a Tornados of Fire.

Posted 3 Years Ago


Seth Armstrong

3 Years Ago

Thank you, Shep!

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Added on January 19, 2019
Last Updated on February 1, 2019
Tags: tornados, of, fire, forgiveness, love, regret, story, never, coming, back

Author

Seth Armstrong
Seth Armstrong

Tuvalu



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A Chapter by Seth Armstrong