Tine Cuid II (Fire Part II)
Roma, Italia (Rome, Italy)
The ripple knocked Alessia Rossi out of her apartment and into the street below. Luckily she lived on the ground floor, so she wasn’t hurt that bad.
Shakily, Alessia got to her feet. An intense heat was starting to spread through her. A man ran towards her, to check if she was all right. She waved him away, then froze. She could see the man. She could see her hand. She waved it in front of her face, and laughed with mirth. The man backed away, then ran, suddenly doubting her sanity. Slowly, Alessia began to make out shapes around her. Her tall apartment block, the motorcycles littered outside it, the cars driving around the corner, the road she was standing on luckily being for pedestrians only.
Every thing just looked so vibrant. All the colour: the reds, the blues, the yellows. Even the grey of the cold shaded concrete looked fantastic to Alessia. All the colour around her, it was as though the world was on fire. She spun around in circles, giggling with giddiness, the bright blue sky overhead, lit up with the greatest fire of all, the sun.
Even her other senses seemed to improve. Alessia had never felt heat like this, it was like there was a bonfire inside of her. She could smell everything, the car exhausts, the ice-creams of tourists, the wine from a nearby restaurant. It was all so exquisite, so delicious. She even fancied she could hear peoples’ thoughts as they skirted around her.
Then she realised how she must look, her bright red hair getting fuzzy from the humidity, wearing nothing but a bathrobe, laughing and twirling in the middle of the street. She stopped and tried to regain some semblance of decorum, but it was hopeless.
She didn’t care what people thought, she could see. It was only now she realised how much she missed it. Why could these people not see how beautiful the world was? It was so bright, shiny, and full of fire. Gorgeous, firey life.
And then Alessia understood what this meant. She was free. She could travel, just like she'd always wanted to. She could live outside of her books, and see all the world as it was, not bound by the trappings of her imagination, extensive though it might be.
Someone tried to grab her. It was some old woman, smelling just like the cooking from across the hall, her eyes full of fear.
“Alessia?” Segnora Bianchi asked, wondering what was wrong with this poor child.
Alessia frowned at her, and with a gasp the old woman let go of her, as though she had been burnt. Alessia started to feel uncomfortable. The ground was getting hotter beneath her. She hopped from foot to foot, then cried out when she realised she was leaving scorched footprints on the street.
The world really was on fire, Alessia thought fearfully. It was burning and it was going to burn her! She started to run, trying to escape the fire only she could see. She knocked people out of her way. She had no time to explain the fire to them. If they couldn’t see it they were too stupid to live anyway.
Alessia saw her red hair whip around her face, and threw it back screaming, thinking it was the fire catching up with her. Thinking quickly, she figured there was only one place that could save her: the nearby Fontana di Trevi. It was full of water. It would shield her from the fire. It had to.
She kept pushing people out of the way, all of them yelping as she touched them, as though she had burnt them.
Idiots, Alessia thought, she wouldn’t burn them, the fire would!
She felt the fire start to reach her skin just as she reached the steps leading down to the fountain. Trying to distract the fire, she threw off her bathrobe, letting the fire consume that instead of her skin. She had expected to meet a huge crowd here, but oddly, they were all sprawled on the ground, shaking their heads groggily as though they had all simultaneously fainted. Alessia looked at them disdainfully. If they kept lying there, they’d get burnt, she thought.
Not wasting any time, she clambered into the fountain. As she did so, a policeman got up, spotted her, and started to blow his whistle. Alessia ignored him, and ran into the middle of the pool. The policeman ran down the side of the fountain and jumped into it after her. The water got to his legs and scalded him. He roared and got back out.
The water was starting to boil around Alessia. She looked at it fearfully. Can’t the water even save me from the fire, she asked herself, scared witless. Steam billowed around the fountain. She felt the fire finally latch onto her skin. She immersed herself in the pool, but it did no good. She could still see the fire crawling over her body, burning her up.
She spotted a huge statue right above her. He looked like some kind of water god, or at least what she imagined it would look like, relying on the stories she had read.
A water god will save me, Alessia thought desperately.
“Salvimi!” she shrieked at the statue. It didn’t reply.
Alessia got to her feet, and let out a horrifying scream. The fire consumed her totally. She was a bright torch in the middle of the fountain. And then the fire crawled up her neck, and got into her mouth, burning her insides.
With one final look at the water god, who did nothing but gaze blankly at her, Alessia let the fire take her, and turned to ash.
No less than a minute later, all trace of Alessia Rossi was gone, her ash blown by the wind through the streets of Rome, across Italy, around the globe. Little pieces of the girl who yearned to see the world as it was. Land, sea or sky, she was there. The world her oyster.