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What Went Up in Flames

calliep's picture
Submission type:

Just a short undetermined length-ed backstory I wrote for Ress (short for The Wanderess). This takes place in present time for those who are curious enough. Despite the length, I'm extremely rusty and this is my first attempt at my roleplay comeback. Enjoy it, or don't, but try to leave a comment either way. Bitches love constructive criticism.

"The Wanderess" a.k.a Ress // age 27 // one-lifer

Recently, I've gone through rash-like bouts of insomnia. One week, I'll sleep like a new-born baby. The next, it's as if I'm a drug addict and I haven't succumbed into my addiction in weeks. The insomnia's rather bothersome, but luckily I've found that the cure for my affliction is to saddle up on my old mare and wander off someplace.

I mean, they don't call me the "wanderess" for silly banter.

After hours of listening to the mono-rhythmic, droning sound of hooves and desolate nightlife, I focused my attention to where I was, or where I thought I was. It all seemed so familiar, the groove in the road, the faint tire tracks, and occasional potholes. I stared mindlessly off into the distance until I saw a house. None of the lights were on, obviously. Electricity has been gone for years and the only town I can think of lucky enough to have light at night is Sunshine Corners, even if it is solar-powered. However, I've no reason to be jealous. The suburban life was never my thing.

Something caught my eye and I froze in my tracks. "Whoa there, girl..." She halted to a stop on the top of a hill overlooking the house. My jaw dropped and my breath hitched as I squinted, examining it. It was built with light wooden planks and a shingled roof, a normal countryside house, but with the house's age and the darkness messing with my vision, I didn't recognize it at first.

It was my own house, the house I lived in before Hoover Dam fell. In 2150, I was engaged to an intelligent man, Joseph Ash. I don't believe I'll ever love a man as much as I love him. His laugh, his irreplaceable smile, and those eyes, God, I could go on and on about those dark eyes. While other women look for a man to match their flames, I found one who sees the fire in my heart and pours gasoline. He was imperfectly perfect with every fiber in his being. We were engaged for as long as I can remember, but we were too poor to officially marry, but money was never an issue to us.

With a swift tug at her reins, she galloped to the house at full speed. We stopped at the fence gate and I dismounted, roping her to the wobbly fence. I took a few hesitant steps through the yard up to the door. The last time I was here was when I fled from home. I decided I needed to start a life someplace else, someplace fresh and new. I did so many things I never thought I'd do. With a bit of force, I managed to get the door to budge open. Searching through my bag, I pulled out a battery-powered flashlight and The stench upon entering the house was almost unbearable and feces, urine, and gasoline reeked in the air. It appeared as if a group of squatters had busted a window open and made my countryside home an impromptu apocalypse safehouse. Remains of rodents and other vermin lay scattered around along with newspapers, flipped furniture, and used needles. "There's no place like home," I muttered under my breath as I dodged shit on the floor to get to the staircase.

I listened to the familiar wooden creek of the stairs as I ascended. It reminded me so much of my family... or what was almost my family. I was twenty-one when I discovered I was pregnant with our first child, a boy, and we were so ecstatic. Immediately, we bought baby clothes and an old wooden crib and did other normal new parent things. We decided on the name Tobias, Tobias Harley Ash. 

Once I'd reached the top of the stairs, I turned my flashlight off due to the large hole in the ceiling providing natural light from the night sky. I wasn't sure exactly what time it was, but my eyes began to feel very heavy, so I creaked the door to our bedroom open. The mattress was charred and thrown aside but the boxspring was somewhat still intact. Looking to my right, I saw something I thought I'd never see again, a picture of Joseph and I on the couch. We took what my great-grand parents would have called a "selfie". It's the stupidest fad, if you ask me. The photograph was most likely one of the only pictures he and I had ever taken because we only had a camera for a short time. I placed the photograph beside me on the makeshift bed before drifting off into a deep, well-needed sleep.

I felt Joseph's warm presence beside me, his arms cradling my swollen stomach. It was half past ten and I was trying to get to sleep, however, I kept hearing sounds from outdoors. I didn't worry about it too much, for it was raining rather heavily outside and it could've been the wind, so I closed my eyes. Suddenly I heard glass shattering. "Joseph, Joseph, wake up. Joseph." I shook him awake. "What's wrong, hon?" He pulled me close as I began to stutter. "I think someone's trying to break in." I was absolutely certain there were intruders as I heard multiple deep voices and footsteps downstairs. Joseph rolled over and reached for his loaded Glock and crept towards the door.

They had already ascended the stairs before he had the time to open the bedroom door. A heavy-set man swung the door open and shot Joseph twice, once in the thigh and once in the abdomen. Joseph groaned and fell to the ground, seriously wounded. I reached for a pocket knife I kept in the window sill and unsheathed it, running at him from the side. He was faster and took a blow to my cranium with his elbow. I fell stomach first and cried out in pain. I was paralyzed with fear. "Die, you cunt." He slurred before spitting at Joseph. A taller, slimmer man walked in with a gallon of gasoline. "I've covered the whole house. This place'll be gone in minutes. I told you that you'd pay, Joseph." The first man took the gallon and poured it over Joseph and I. "Burn in hell, bitches." They lit a match and tossed it down, igniting a fire that was burned in my retinas forever.

My first thought once they'd left was of Joseph. "Get up, please, get up..." With his fatal wounds, there was no way he was escaping from the house in a hurry. "Babe, baby," He let out a cough from the heat. "Go, just go... go! Go now!" I cried out in agony and held him close, objecting his orders. "Save yourself, just go! Go!" Before I could react, the flames licked at his foot and spread to his body. My sobbing deafened my cries. I grabbed my emergency hospital go-bag, the Glock he dropped, and my switchblade and fled through the bedroom window, where I fell to the ground with a thud.

The cries of a baby and the crackling of fire rang in my ears as I woke. "No, no! No!" I woke in a sweat and rolled out of the bed. It was all a nightmare, a recollection of what happened that night, or at least what I recall happened. I received a concussion from the blow I took to the head and I vaguely remember the days, even months preceding the intrusion. I had a miscarriage in my second trimester from the battering my stomach took during the intrusion and I suffer from PTSD caused by the death of my fiancé and firstborn child. Because of that, the insomnia and nightmares are normal occurrences and I've grown used to sleepless nights. 

I guess you could say I'm a bit fucked up, but my guess is whatever went up in flames that night took my sanity hostage.


Engel's picture

(( It's really good! Even the "slow" start of the story kept me interested to read everything and the transition between the flashback from the past and present is seamless. Thank you for sharing this! ))

- this comment was brought to you by Oilville Primo™ -

calliep's picture

(( Thank you! ^^ Took me a while, but I finally got it finished after two nights. ))

Engel's picture

(( It's really good! Even the "slow" start of the story kept me interested to read everything and the transition between the flashback from the past and present is seamless. Thank you for sharing this! ))

- this comment was brought to you by Oilville Primo™ -

Veronica Volt's picture

((Good post linking house of memory with events of memory.

calliep's picture

(( Thanks! ^^ ))

Aiidoneus's picture

(( Very good write up. Great visuals descriptions. ))


calliep's picture

(( Thank you for your input! ))

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