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Paris In Flames: Chapter 1
By
Fading

Paris In Flames: Chapter 1

“Tony, there’s a fire!” Scout yelled as loud as he could. He could see the smoke rising from the streets of Paris, a glittering mirage of smoky auras that clouded his view.

Oui, I am coming!” Tony screamed. Scout pulled on his hat. This looked like a massive fire. Even bigger than the one he’d put out in London once. That London fire, well, nobody could smoke like the British, and neither could their houses. He could have seen the fire from a mile and half away. It had been his proudest moment of late, ever since… well, Scout didn’t think much about Before anymore.

Tony could smell the smoke too, but he didn’t see so well anymore. He’d been afraid to tell Scout, afraid the younger man would look at him with pity. Tony could see enough to operate a vehicle, read a book – but this aroma of smoke was plenty. He didn’t need to see it too. Like the dogs that rely on their sense of smell much more than their sight, Tony had an unbelievably strong nose. He could smell that this fire was a hundred thousand times more pungent than the puny kitchen fires he’d been putting out all year, usually induced by the tomfoolery of local French boys.

The scene was nothing like anything Scout had ever seen before. Not because the fire was so massive. Because there was no fire, no cause of the smoke that seeped from the ground. Scout could smell the smoke too. He knew what fire smoke smelled like, woodchips and pine and the vague scent of his childhood… which he didn’t think about anymore. But there was literally nothing there. Well, nothing except for a single scorch mark in the middle of the street, the area the smoke seemed to be rising from the fastest. Scout wasn’t afraid of much, but this black, sunken skull embedded into the pavement gave his stomach reason to lurch.

“Damn,” he said softly. “Damn.

The perpetrator, had there been one, was long gone. Scout knew this. The man or woman who had set the fire... whatever it was, had done so deliberately. As Scout gingerly stepped out of the pavement, cement clung to his boots. That’s not normal, Scout thought. Then the world exploded in a series of deafening flashes and the scent of pure fire, burning like his father had burned meat on the charcoal grill. And for a second, Scout’s walls were down and he could remember… everything.

Elsewhere in Paris, a young couple strolled idly down the banks of the Seine. They did not join hands, nor did they even acknowledge each other’s presence, except for the slight murmur in which their melodic voices chattered, like the calling of exotic birds. She wore a dark grey dress with the belt tied firmly around a slender waist. He was handsome in black trousers. Her blond hair had fallen out of her chignon and leisurely waved around her face. They looked like something of a magazine, was it not for the single skull tattoo she bore on her arm, a perfect match to the one he had inked onto his ankle, out of sight and out of mind.

“Paris burns,” she said.

“Indeed,” replied he; and with this confirmation, their conversation ceased for a little while until she felt the need to speak again.

“You owe me for the coffee.”

“I do,” he said gracefully, pulling out his wallet before she put her hand on his arm.

“I did not mean in money.”

“Did you now?’

“I meant–“ here she let her lips tickle his ears “in secrets.

Tongues of flame licked at the bistro they had inhabited just a short while ago. When the firemen arrived, they would find no trace of the fire but a broken bowl of porcelain, with coffee black as a promise covering up the etching of a skull.

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