Ashes to ashes


She fed it to the fire. If her hands hesitated for a brief moment, her heart didn’t once flinch. She heard it cackle and watched how the orange flames licked it up greedily. Strangely, this image had a calming effect on her. She thought about doing this on many occasions, but she held on for old-time sake. For the joy it brought her. But the pain was inconvenient, and definitely unnecessary. She looked at it again one day and discovered what she had once treasured had slipped away over time. An empty void was in its place, arriving so silently. That did it for her. When the fire fizzled out, all that was left was a pile of grey ash. Gently she reached out and touched it. The sensation surprised her. It was warm, powdery and smooth. She sat down quietly in the dark and buried her hand in the mound of ash to enjoy the warmth. She tried to think of a word for what she was feeling. After what seemed like hours, she swept up the ashes and threw it out in the garden, in a hole next to the partially crumbling wall. Relief, was what she thought of eventually. Goodbye, was what she whispered.

p. 247, I Must Be Blind? (2064), by C. Hope

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