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Burst of Flames

Tags: ghost, twins, fire

Light filtered through the musky window. Cobwebs crowded the corners and between objects against the wall. A smooth untouched layer of dust blanketed the whole space.

Shattered and broken, the window would never close completely letting in creatures like the barn owl that made its nest here. Quite a brave owl, not even flapping its wings at me as I pass; maybe it can’t sense me. Most animals can, every family pet from down stairs react strangely at my presence. Dogs bark at the attic door, while cats stalk me on the floor below.

Today a new family comes in, with all new stuff, but the forgotten attic only obtains new stuff, almost all of the old junk in here never moves. I watch as the movers unloaded the bulky van, carrying various objects into the once barren house.

I turn away hopeful and uncover a cracked mirror. I peer into the glassy abyss at where my reflection should be, only to recover the empty reflection with the blanket. Maybe someone could see me this time. I waited and heard footsteps approach.

“Just put those in the attic,” said a women’s voice and down went the ladder.

The owl barely shifted, safe in its little corner as I stood there waiting. I’ll try not to scare them off, this time; I’ll be a good host.

The workers didn’t even sense my presence, not the slightest chill. People could be so dense that they become disconnected; out of tune with the world. How foolish of me to believe otherwise.

I’m trapped in my own world, where the torment of seeing but not seen; Hear but not heard. They never see the charcoal black parts on the wall where the fire touched the original foundation of the house.

I cross back to the window to watch the moving truck leave. Another car pulled up and the lady greeted them outside. A man and two children, twin’s maybe? They certainly look like they’re twins. One glanced up at the window, like she saw me.

“Look!” She cried excitedly pulling her father’s sleeve. He looked at the window.

“Just a broken window, sweetheart,” he told her, “We’ll fix it in no time.”

The girl tilted her head confused, she didn’t notice the window. Did she actually see me?

The family came inside and the children ran from room to room. Their mother called to them to unpack, while she made them some lunch. The little girl paused at the attic door as she ran past; they left the ladder down.

She climbed up and began to look around in amazement. Her eyes stopped on me.

“There you are! I knew you were here, my brother didn’t believe me,” she said cheerfully. I froze speechless as the girl came up to me. She must have been my age I had been because our eyes met at eye level.

“I’m Kelsey; I’m going to live here now, would you be my friend?” I nodded numb from over joy. She tried leading me out to meet her family, I told her they can’t see me and won’t understand the way she does. I’ve seen my share of people written off as insane because they can see the dead. She understood and kept me a secret. She went down stairs for her lunch; didn’t mention a single word about me.

I began to clean up the attic; it would be wise if certain objects kept out of the child’s reach. She came back up with a sandwich for me. I told her to give it to my feathery friend, the girl complied.

The boy kept to himself, I noticed, and he played with things he oughtn’t to. The girl told me he snatched the box of matches and hid in his room.

This should have worried me, especially with my past, but I didn’t think anything of it, besides whom could I tell besides a little girl. Nobody believes a child. I told her that the alarm system died weeks before they came and no one has yet to replace the batteries. She nodded and continued to talk, me grasping onto every word.

She was too into her story, she didn’t notice the smoke. I am only aware of the usual muskiness of the attic. I didn’t notice her slight coughs either. It wasn’t until the blistering heat rose up through the floorboards that there was eminent danger. I rushed to the ladder when fire gushed up and engulfed the attic; yet again I was trapped in the claws of a fiery inferno.

The owl flew away leaving its little home behind. The girl screamed as the fire spread rapidly, reaching to claim its next victim. I grasp her tightly as if I could shield her; Screaming help on the top of my voice, willing the world to hear my plea.

Soon the fire passed and with it the house again. The girl and I followed her family to the new house. It had a bigger attic, roomy enough for two girls and without the clutter of the last. The owl perched itself on a shelf waiting for us, expecting us like we had a business meeting.

We smiled at our feathery friend and settled down quickly unlike the family below. They never settled and fell quickly apart; all we could do is watch and together we watch as the earth moves forward.

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