View Full Version : Up in Flames

January 10th, 2011, 06:02 AM
( I apologize if this turns out a wall of text, I re-entered tabs twice but they weren't showing up in the preview for some reason. Sorry!)

I walk home from work everyday, but this time there was a strange ringing in my ears, and my steps were forced heavier through the muddy slush. My flat was as stale and dank as ever, and frost clung to both sides of the window above my couch. With my heels still on, I lit the fire and collapsed on my couch, watching the flames leap higher and higher. My eyes stung, but as the fire came to life, the room became ever colder, and the frost on my window stayed still there while more snowflakes gently landed and clung to the pane. It became colder and colder, and as my body grew more numb, I was just thinking to pile myself in blankets when I saw an illusion in the flames.

A bear was staring directly at me. Fascinated, and thinking that it was the texture of the log projecting this image, I slid off the couch and sat cross-legged on the floor. The bear turned, and paced the log as if it were a trail and he was confused about which way to go. He cried out in pain. Just then, one of the highest flickering flames spread itís wings, and formed a great hawk, with feathers that glistened red and orange and yellow and white. From itís tattered wings billowed black smoke, more than any fire I had ever seen before, and it swooped and screeched at the bear. They fought for a few moments, the hawk screaming and the bear pawing at it and growling, until the bear was finally defeated and disappeared. The hawk rose gracefully again and spread itís wings wide once more before curling into a ball of ash, the size of my fist, and falling to the floor. With the hawk, died down the fire until it cracked comfortably once again.

I was paralyzed by my own imagination, and my gaze never left the fire.

Each pop of the fire became louder until I was sure that a song was being played. Every soft crackle became a tinkling bell, and the highest of the flames became fireworks, in symphony with the bells.

I glanced to where the ball of ashes had fallen and saw that it was formed into an ornately carved egg. Everything was silent besides the tiny bells, even the fireworks,
The egg opened in half, and inside little flame-figures danced gracefully on their toes. I was stunned by the fairy-like nature of it. As I watched, everything around me grew more dim until all I could see, the only thing I ever knew, was the dancers twirling on and on to the bells.

Suddenly, a log collapsed, and with a magnificent shower of sparkles the room around me was illuminated! The dancers were thrust forward and became my own size, swinging around me in elegant displays of the richest orange, red, and white dresses Iíve never seen. My scanty living room became a huge ballroom, dripping in gold and marble. Caryatids stood regally on the outskirts of the room, and enormous windows, covered in delicate white lace, showed the entire nighttime world, with horses prancing through the snow, pulling the chariots of kings. I heard fireworks explode over the palace, and still the beautiful dancers glided in pairs in circles around me. Girls with sweeping curly red hair smiled and waved at me, as if I was an old friend, and men winked and guided the princesses in intricate revolutions. I sat cross-legged on the floor, in awe of all the finery. A man in a black suit wavered before me and offered me his hand. When I rose, I saw that I was wearing a cascading gown made purely of rubies.

We danced in the midst of all the others, and the faster we danced the louder the fireworks became, and the faster the horses raced, and the louder the bells clanged. Our surroundings became like swirls of lava, and the swifter we spun, the less I cared of anything else.

I could hear the laughter of the girls, and the compliments of the gentlemen, but their figures were blurred by our atmosphere being set in motion. We almost danced eternity away, but within the crowd I noticed another man reaching for my arm. My partner pulled me away from the man, and his hand seemed to burn into my back. We danced further into the throng, so as not to be visible to the other man. But he was persistent, and chased us through the dancing couples. Before I knew it, the other man had grabbed me, and in a swift transition had pulled me away from my partner. Without skipping a beat, we danced on through the colors, only this time more urgently, until he had guided me straight out of the ballroom and down an eerily quiet hall. As we twirled further in, the golden babble of the ballroom grew faint, and it became just me and the man. The hall was dark, with litter skipping along as if pushed by a breeze, and every now and then a mime with a white face and striped clothes would rush by.

As our dance slowed down, I looked straight into the eyes of my partner and saw a fierce determination set in the kindly lines around his mouth and eyes. He seemed to sense a danger, however, and continued to guide me down the calm hallway. To me, it was like taking a walk in the forest at night, after an exhausting day; I hadnít felt it since my childhood.

Through the stillness of the hall, I began to hear a faint buzz of noise in the ballroom. I knew that the dancers were still going faster and faster, and now they began to laugh maniacly, and the fireworks got bigger and bigger. All the while, the statues, bit by bit, came crumbling to the floor, and showered the dancers in dust and bits of stone. The scene was chaotic, with me viewing it safely through a tiny slit like a cracked door. Presently, dancers began to slow down, and a queer shadow passed over the ballroom. Their fine gowns turned to ash and clung to them like dead moths, and the lights went out, leaving nothing to guide them but a full moon streaming in through what was left of the windows. But they continued to dance, on their toes, softly in utter silence.

My partner and I continued to glide down the dark hallway in silence, until the blackness of it pressed down on me, and everything wavered as if I was seeing it from underwater.

I woke up in the arms of a fireman with lines around his eyes and mouth, and a deep burn on my back, having willingly danced with death and been saved by a stranger.

January 10th, 2011, 06:06 AM
Wow. That was really, really good. Awesome imagery and I love the ending. No criticism.

January 10th, 2011, 02:17 PM
I really like your description, it is very good imo. I do however think you are missing a few words scattered throughout the entire piece that really would add to this. I added a basic example below in a small part.

The egg opened in half, and inside little flame-figures danced gracefully on their toes. I was stunned by the fairy-like nature of it all. As I watched, everything around me grew more dim until all I could see, the only thing I ever knew, was the dancers twirling on and on to the bells.

Keep in mind, this is just my opinion, as it is, it's fine, I think this is a good piece.

January 10th, 2011, 08:41 PM
Cambyses: Awsome, thank you!
Johnathanrs: Thanks, I've had problems with sentence structuring before, so it's probably just showing up again.

July 15th, 2011, 08:25 AM
I mentally retitled this to 'A Passing Promenade'