Caught In The Ashes

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  • Published: 7 Jun 2013
  • Updated: 2 Jul 2013
  • Status: Complete
Desma Lee is dead. She died for being a witness to something so controversial that the authorities would kill for it to stay hidden. *For the Inspired By A Song competition based on the song Pompeii by Bastille*

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2. Chapter 1

I died that day. The combined efforts of the ashes and smoke smothered me. It crammed into my lungs until it killed me. The fire burned what was left of my body until they too, were ashes.

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. How fitting.

I’m going to say it now: my death was no accident.

The records say that a fallen candle was to blame for my death. Even now, anger bubbles into what would have been my chest if I were alive. A candle could not have set a whole building on fire. Unless, of course, I was in a dynamite factory and the candle just so happened to fall on a pile of loose sticks of dynamite.

Nice investigating, officers.

I wasn’t in a dynamite factory; I was in my dorm on the edge of Paris. I remember that the knife under my pillow was to protect me from intruders. I’ve been running away for some time back then, two cities every two weeks. I was finally getting used to it. Waking up, picking up some loose change from people on the streets (when I say “picking up” I mean stealing from their pockets and cheque books), packing up and moving again.

I didn’t think they’d catch me in Paris. The sole reason for that assumption: I made an ally.

His name was Lucien.

We met on the streets-nice company, I know-while I stole a woman’s purse (to be fair, I helped her carry her bags up to her apartment and then I took her purse, my service for her money). And he threatened to call the cops if I didn’t share whatever was in her dreadful, alligator-skin purse.

“How do I know that you won’t rob me and still call the police?” I asked, I remember being proud that I didn’t panic and directly divide the money. That would have made me a complete novice.

He grinned. “Because I don’t have a phone.”

“Then you’re in no position to bargain.”

“How about,” he said, “you divide the money and I won’t kill you.” At that I laughed.

“Don’t underestimate me; I can have my hands around your throat in half the time you could ever get to me.” A half-truth. He studied me a bit after that, his gray eyes roaming my green ones. I stared straight ahead at him. He was tall, broad shouldered. His pants were less shabby than my jeans but they didn’t quite fit right. His dark hair was tousled and his eyes looked sleep deprived. I must have looked the exact same way.

That’s when I noticed the scar.

A long, thin scar winding around his wrist like some twisted bracelet. That’s when I knew we were the same.

“Stop with these games, the police is on to us and we got to go,” he said in a panic, his façade apparently fading. I wouldn’t budge though; I strained my ears trying to find the familiar blare of sirens. And in the distance, there were some; faint, but there.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I said, trying to play cool, trying not to blow my cover. I clutched the bag tightly until my knuckles turned white. I wanted to run but I didn’t want this guy finding out how much fleeing is apart of my life.

“We’re the same, and we gotta go,” he said after, showing me his wrist up close. “There are a few of us left, we need to go now.”

Maybe it was the scar, maybe it was the sound of the sirens getting closer that made me take his hand and run. Our scars touched together, it was a long time since I found someone like me.

Someone who got tangled up with the incident that day. Like me.

I needed someone to trust and Lucien was that person.

That was the beginning of the end for me, that’s where everything fell apart.

 

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