Swingsets in OctoberMature

The rusted swing blew slowly in the breeze of the autumnal morning. The crisp frost lay on its metal structure as it moaned in protest at the gathering swell. The shining of ice on the floor made every sound vibrant and distinct, and all that could be heard in the park that day was a clunk of a heavy boot falling as a man made his way down the path, gravel crunching under each step. A breath released into the air as if a dragon was firing smoke at the ground foreshadowed the mans approach to the ghostly swing. The mans dank, darkened hair hid his face as he pulled up the side of his long coat. He pushed into a concealed pocket, just as a group of children ran screaming excitedly into the parl, rushing for the roundabout, or the slide, but not the old swings. The man was well known in the area for being shady and, frankly, quite scary, and the children made sure to leave him to it, whilst the parents on the bright blue bench gave him furtive looks and whispering as they watched their children play.

The man ran a finger through his grimy hair, whispering to himself under his breath in flurries of steam, wafting their way into the cold air above. His enveloped hands shook as he glanced quickly at his surroundings. A smile grew on his unshaven face, quickly turning into a deep giggle as his maddened face turned to the parents less than thirty feet away. The man's hand closed around the object in his pocket, and he brought out a bottle of vodka. He took a quick, shallow swig, before coughing and dropping the liquid down the inside of his heavy clothing. He laughed once more, pulling out a lighter and a box of cigarettes, taking care to light it slowly and deliberately. He threw the lighter onto the ground, laughing, and took a sharp inhale of the smoking cigarette. A high pitched laugh left his mouth as he started to swing, attracting the attention of the mothers over the way. The man saw them looking and winked, dropping the cigarette down under his clothing to join the alcohol already soaking into his skin.

The man kept swinging as he quickly became engulfed by a ball of fire, screaming to the world happily as the flame danced along his blistering skin. The mothers screamed as one, some fainting, others running to their children, and yet none tried to help the man screaming happily how his master would welcome his sacrifice, and moaning as he quickly became unrecognisable due to the extreme heat penetrating his skin, it's terrifying glow scorching him slowly, agonizingly, brutally. The children laughed or looked on as the adults ran to them, screaming, hiding their eyes or taking out their phones. Some finally came over to help the man, one woman in front with long brown hair desperately trying to pull the man off the swing. His response was to instead pull her in with the little strength he had left and giggle as her long locks caught fire and she screamed, as did the children finally realising the horror of what was happening here. The other mothers quickly managed to pull her off and put her hair out as her screams shattered the blanket of thick smoke billowing in the autumnal gale, as the old swingset broke, throwing the dying man forward onto the floor as he breathed his last breath, his skin and indeed soul almost completely burnt away as he died, alone, on the burning grass in late October, fading away to the delightful sound of children's screams and his fulfilled dreams...

The End

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