The tree gave itself to the river, its life source and only companion in death. We fell as the smoke tried to claim us. We fell. I couldn’t breathe. Even the fresh air was naught more than poison. We fell as the air tried to wrap us in a cocoon of un-life, being the breath we had to have without giving us the ability to take it. We fell. I was drowning in smoky sleep, too exhausted to try to live. We fell. I heard voices calling. Hands were catching. Catching us.
The freezing, wet ground met my burning back. I gasped in pain and shock and then coughed and choked and gasped all over again uncontrollably. The hissing of a horrid, evil serpent filled my ears, then I felt it rumble through every fiber of my being as the tree collapsed into the river, spent of life save that of the fire viciously devouring it like a ravenous wild beast.
There was nothing but smoke. All was smoke. The ground. The sky. The people. All was smoke…all was smoke…allwassmokeallwassmoke.
Ashlee was smoke. Everyone was smoke. I was smoke. I was ash. Ash was falling. Everywhere. Falling like a demon’s snowstorm. Everybody was there and nobody was there. All was smoke and ash. All was silent. Silent death. I wasn’t dead yet. I didn’t know how. I didn’t know why. I didn’t know.
I strained to open my eyes to see what was left.
From the starless, dead sky, stared two evil, blood red eyes, cursing at my tiny, choking soul, watching me die, wishing I was dead already. I thought I saw my rescuer, my mother, coming for us, to save us from the evil above, guarding us with her angelically beautiful silhouette, as the darkness closed about me, like a cool, wet cloth on a sweaty summer night. I passed out of knowledge and time.
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