Soul of Flames

On the edge of the reality we know, there exists a pathway that conceals a realm far more extraordinary than any have dared to imagine. In this realm, a war is raging. And one girl is at the centre of it all. Yet, to fight the suffering, she must learn to accept a heritage that could send the life she knows up in flames. One way or another, she is about to discover that, sometimes, giving yourself to the flames can unlock your soul...

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6. Chapter 5-Robyn

I am in utter blackness. The deep shadow surrounding me presses down, a heavy weight attempting to crush my lungs and force all life from me.

I struggle to draw a breath, the oxygen that I need saturated with dust. I choke, my body convulsing with the effort. My movement causes a sharp pain in my abdomen, a pointed object digging into my skin.

I stop a minute, thinking. What the hell is that? Then I remember. It’s the corner of a box from the tower that nearly collapsed on Cherri. I saved her from it, and now it’s fallen on me.

Well that’s just great.

I wriggle to try and relieve the pressure, but I only succeed in trapping one of my arms under another box.

As a struggle, I hear a creaking noise directly above my head, like something is groaning under the strain of carrying a heavy load. I freeze, worried that one little twitch will cause more piles of books to come tumbling down on top of me, reducing my already dwindling air supply.

I’m beginning to panic now. I can feel my heart pounding in my chest, threatening to break free and leap out, leaving me as a crumbling shell on the hard wood floor, my scarlet blood pooling around me, forever staining the wood a dark crimson.

I wonder who would mourn my passing, if I am to die under here. I hope my friends would, but I know that they would adjust quickly and forget about me. Life is too harsh to allow time for sorrow of that nature.

My family. They wouldn’t mourn me. The only reason why they would be sorry to see me go is they would have to find someone else to bully and take out their anger on, someone else to blame when everything is going wrong.

The thought makes something inside me stir and awaken. I feel my panic receding, a new, more powerful emotion taking its place-rage.

A warm sensation begins to glow within me, centred at my core. This hot ember starts to grow, expanding until I can feel its heat pulsing through my whole body.

As my body temperature rises, so does my anger. The rage that I now feel transcends mere annoyance, and reaches into something greater.

I try to quell the feeling, to make it retreat back to its den, to follow my will, like a dog bowing to its master.

But the emotion is now too powerful. It swats away my weak protests and continues to take control of my body, until my blood boils and my vision blurs into a white hot light.

Still the now-burning ember grows, pushing against my skin as if it can escape the boundaries that contain it and burst forth, leaving a fiery trail in its wake.

Finally, I can’t take it anymore. With one last gasp, I scream, releasing the fire that smoulders inside me.

The last thing I see before I sleep once more is roaring flames billowing out, turning all they touch to ash.

 

***

 

‘Shouldn’t she have come round by now? She’s been out for hours! Are you sure she’s alright?’

A frantic voice pierces through the fog that clouds my mind. Recognition flits through my thoughts as the sound passes by, leaving the chiming of church bells behind before I once again allow my unconscious mind to wander through layers of dreams. 

‘Miss, please, just try to calm down. She should come around in the next few hours, so if you wou-‘

‘Should! I don’t care about what should happen, I care about what will happen! So, tell me now, will she come around soon?’

There’s that voice again. It sounds so familiar. Then it clicks. It’s Em! But where the hell am I?

I focus on what I can feel. Fabric is brushing up against the bare skin on my arms, the rough surface catching on the fine hairs that line my body, whilst my head is cushioned by a pillow. Am I in bed at home? No. The bed is far too uncomfortable for that. It must be the hospital.

At least that means I’m alive.

‘I-I...yes she...I think so. Let me just go and get the doctor.’ That must be the nurse.

I hear hurried footsteps leaving the room, heels clacking on the hard surface. The creak of hinges resounds through the air, then the thud of a closing door.

Silence reigns for a full minute before my ears pick up the faint noise of movement to my right. A faint scraping sound echoes around the silent ward, and then I hear a soft thump, like someone sitting on a cushion.

‘Why do you always have to be so freaking selfless? I mean, really?’ A voice near my head mutters.

‘Come on Em, don’t be hard on her. She probably saved Cherri’s life.’

‘I know, but who will I have to make crazy jokes with in English if she has to stay in hospital? ’

I finally find the strength to lift my heavy eyelids and speak.

‘It’s nice to know you think so highly of me Em.’

She gasps, bolting up out of her chair like a jack-in-a-box and grabbing my shoulders firmly.

‘Robyn! How dare you scare me like that!’ She begins to shake me roughly, like she is trying to knock some sense into me. ‘What were you thinking? You could have died!’

‘Calm down! What else was I meant to do? And it’s not like I’m hurt, anyway.’

Em looks shocked by my casual statement and freezes, allowing the hands that are now gripping her forearms from behind to draw her back, away from me.

 ‘Whoa, Emily, back up a little. She’s only just woken up, for Christ’s sake. Give the girl time to breath.’

I strain my neck to see around Emily and find Matt standing behind her, a relieved look on his face, alongside his usual smirk. I smile at him, and I’m about to ask how Cherri is when Em recovers from her previous shock and starts shouting again.

‘How can you be so carefree? This is your life we’re talking about, not some doll!’ She screams in my ear. I just lie there, watching her face and waiting for her to finish her scolding.

When Em sees that she is not getting a response from me, she deflates, as if all the fight has been squeezed out of her. Her posture slumps and she just stares at me with her wide, emerald eyes, reminding me of an owl.

I look up at Matt, who seems slightly lost. I gesture to him to take Emily out, and his eyes brighten as he understands.

He steps forwards and gently tugs Em’s arm. ‘Em, how about we go and get something to drink from the cafe? Come on, the doctor needs to speak to Robyn anyway.’

Slowly, without taking her eyes off me, Em nods, her short blond hair falling around her face as she does.

Matt slings an arm over her shoulders and turns her away from me, guiding her to the door. Just as they reach it, I shout after Matt.

‘Matt! Is Cherri okay?’

Matt glances back at me, but his eyes are caught by something behind me.

‘Yeah, she’s alright. I’ll tell you more later.’

With that unhelpful comment, he takes Em out of the room and I am left alone. I sit quietly, wondering what to do now. Should I see if I can call a nurse? Or should I just wait until-

‘Hello, Robyn. So good to see you’re awake.’

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