Touch Off

“Foarder, where are you?”

Her plaintive inquiry was like the meowing of a lost kitten, emerging from the smoldering ruin that wreathed her words in smoke. Our house had been reduced to a charred wreckage glowing red in the darkness of night. Barely a year ago I had carried her, my new bride, over the threshold now reduced to ash.

Carelessly dropped were the tools I bore, lingering heat made my ingress painful as I made my way to her. My darling was scorched and trembling. The smell of burnt hair and cooked flesh almost gagged me and I hovered over her. I knew that my touch would be a torture of pain beyond what she was already enduring.

She gasped, ragged and broken, coughing out a plume of smoke. Her eyes were full of soot and grime as she sightlessly turned her head toward where I stood. Her mouth worked soundless a moment before speaking.

“Foarder? Don’t leave me…”

As gently as I could, I kissed her forehead – tasting blood and seared flesh.

“I have to dear – there are more houses to burn.”

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