Fire Cannot Hurt Me

An extension of my movella, The Purple Daisy.
Alyssa is pulled through her window away from her ordinary life into a world of flames and power. She can walk through fire without getting hurt, has a herd of angels running after her, and her soul may not be her own. Her mind is in two; does she stay and become more than she is, or does she run and stay safe and ignorant? She wants to make her own choices, but the more answers she recieves from her new "carers", the more her mind becomes less her own.

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1. The Knock on the Window; the Bang at the Door

“Are you sure you don’t want to stay with us for a while? You can stay on Katy’s sofa bed. It’d be no trouble.” Mrs Aldwyn smiled that sympathetic small smile I was so used to seeing.

My cheeks ache as I do yet another one of those “I’m-OK-but-obviously-I’m-lying” smiles in reply, “Thanks, Mrs Aldwyn, but I have some things to sort out back home.”

Stroking my shoulder, she tilts her head and smiles once more, “As long as you’re sure.”

I straighten up with a sudden jump and stop playing my tear sodden sleeve, “I’ll come round for dinner next week; only if that’s OK though?”

Mrs Aldwyn’s enormous smile emerges again, “Of course Alyssa! Whenever you want! I’ll do fish finger sandwiches. Like when you and Katy were little. Oh, do you remember?”

I nod my head at her, probably a bit too vigorously.

Mrs Aldwyn strokes my shoulder again, sighs, and walks over to her husband and daughter stood near the drinks table. I don’t let my smile fall as she leaves me. That would just be another invitation for a distant relative or childhood friend or old colleague who lived next door ten years ago twice removed of my parents to come over and try and comfort me again.

Looking around at the shoddy interior, I shiver in this old community centre. Everything is dark green and belonged in the fifties, especially those flowery pink curtains. Nothing had been replaced since the fifties either, with the ceiling paint threatening to fall onto Great Uncle Steve’s head any moment now.

It feels like hours since I’d tripped over the lump in my throat to say my goodbyes. My parents wouldn’t have wanted a drab funeral like this. Mum would’ve wanted a disco of eighties music and Dad would’ve wanted his famous fairy cake recipe to be the only thing available at the buffet. Then again, they wouldn’t have wanted to die anyway. They wouldn’t have wanted to leave me alone…

I take a deep breath and swallow the lump again.

Putting down my glass, I turn and look around at the few groups of people still remaining. The room seems even colder now the numbers were dwindling. The majority of those still left are out of tears and out of good old days to talk about so had gone back to discussing their own lives. My mum’s sisters and Dad’s brother had organised the funeral and they knew from many a family event that I was awkward in the forced goodbye hugs. People will understand if I just slip out.

I don’t have the radio on in the car. I hated driving this shitty old tank my dad gave me after he got a shiny, almost new car. I daren’t go near his Toyota; his ghost would murder me if I so much as scratched it.

The roads seem longer alone in the dark, the trees looming in and covering the limited streetlights. The car gives an unhealthy clunk as I pull into the drive. I’m thankful the neighbours live three miles down the road. I didn’t need more strangers rushing to make sure if I was ok.  My head was so muddled it was hard to tell whether to suppress more tears or let them flow.

Forgetting to take off my shoes and coat, I can’t help but tiptoe up the stairs. Each creak on the steps makes me shiver. The desire to talk out loud to fill the silence arises, but then all I’d hear is my own echoes back to me.

The house is usually so warm; it’s brightly patterned curtains clashing with the wallpaper. Photos and posters and paintings of all sizes line every wall, mismatched furniture, some old and some new, shoved wherever the floor space allowed. Maybe their spirits still linger and that’s making me feel cold. Or maybe it’s because I forgot to turn the heating on before I left.

I never used to worry about sorting stuff like that. My parents’ had managed to pay off the small mortgage on this tiny place, but it was big enough for the three of us. I could stay here if I wanted. Being eighteen the law says I could look after myself.

Maybe I’ll take Mrs Aldwyn’s offer on staying with them for a while. Katy might be the closest person I could call my best friend, but I’m pretty sure she’s just too nice to say no to me following her around since nursery school… I wonder what it’d be like if I was treated like her sister… would she put up with my blunt statements and awkward silences I loved to dwell in?

I plonk myself in front of the mirror in my box room and sigh. My eyes always turn a brighter green when I’d been crying.  I tug at a knot in my brown hair, screwing my face up as my fingers tangle in the curls. I sigh again and turn to slump on the bed.

Taking out my phone, I scroll to Katy’s number. I do think I need some time alone with my house, with my memories. But, I will need someone to take me in, at least for a little bit, teach me what to do next with my life and how to really look after myself. My parents had touched so many lives with so many turning up to the funeral, but I had only gotten close to a few. Will I still head off to university after this summer is over?  Will I stay in this house? Will I feel normal again? I needed someone to help me with these questions. I’m surprised Mrs Aldwyn isn’t banging on the door right now and forcing fish finger sandwiches upon me-

A loud knock from downstairs crashes through the silence and makes me sit up.

My eyes meet another’s face at my window.

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