Toying With Fire

Two men in a house who were in love with the same woman.

He places the ax against the tree which would stand for another day. He could feel the storm approaching and couldn’t leave the man alone in the house for much longer. He turned to face the old house and examine the much needed repairs. The wood of the tree would go to boarding up the windows where time had blown away the glass. He knew that she wouldn’t have been pleased with the state he’d left the house in. The walls of the entrance hall, where countless family pictures once hung, were now barren and most of the rooms now filled with ghosts. Dust had settled on the blue tile countertops of the kitchen. The wood of the dining room table was buckling under humidity and the weight of a vase whose flowers had long since died. 

The other man sat as he always had, facing the mirror that ran along the wall next to the door with his face to the window on his left. The room was empty apart from the man in the wheelchair. All the furniture had been removed from the room as punishment for the fire that had consumed not only a portion of the house but a portion of each man’s heart. 

John placed his palms on the cool tile of the counter wondering if he would finally gain the will to leave this place. He walked heavily past the stairs to the parts of the house that had been charred and blackened by the fire. He began to close the doors of the rooms where walls had fallen to ash and where the coming rain would scrub away all the impermanent scriptures. He heaved himself up the stairs, each creaking under foot, to pass and close each door excluding the one hiding the man in the wheelchair from him. He stopped in the doorway of a bedroom, their bedroom, and watched the memories of his wife dance before him. She had always stood looking out of the window while she brushed her hair before she slept. She had always watched the storms while strewn completely across their bed. This he saw and this he let boil from the pit of his charred and blackened heart in his whole being. The fire had consumed more than just a portion of Johns heart. He would have stood there indefinitely had the rain not begun to erase little streaks of his beloved picture.

The End

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