Eyes void and watery, the woman lay frozen on the slab of scorched granite stretching the darkened forest floor. The white coats surrounding her reflected the night sky–blindingly–while they awaited instructions. Taking in the familiar scene, the surgeon commenced with a sharp command that pierced the chilled air like a knife:
It was passed.
The patient’s fever rose.
“Ready?” They gently gripped the pale flesh. Then, with the expert’s grim nod, from clavicle to navel, they cracked the laceration, divorcing the the woman’s body into two equal parts.
It should’ve gaped black, even with the moonlight. But it roared red, yellow–even cerulean! “Quick, the damper!” The surgeon ordered, but the device sucked oxygen hopelessly as the hellfire raged.
“What is it?”
The surgeon stared, transfixed by the flame-entwined spires piercing through the heart’s pyre. She’d lived this inferno of anguish.
“This, my coats, is despair–charring, purifying despair.”
The following story was based on the following image as a prompt:
Burn to Fly
Violently, I swayed, more than just a little wind-tossed. Conch’s plan didn’t factor in my fear of heights and the potent gales.
But Conchita, with her tight curls and snarky grin, motioned me to climb higher still– each branch closer to flight.
It seemed ages since we’d escaped, which was because neither of us had actually ever left. As a purebred Leeflang Dutchess, I was expected to stay forgotten yet be so committed to the land that I wouldn’t poke my toe out.
But here, hanging high over the river, we were birds. While freedom sung through the roaring wind around us, it also spread our roaring cause.
When we heard of the slave riots we knew it was time. Liberty must be swept in from the future, from what the soon-to-dawn 1900’s must blossom.
And so with the plantation burning behind us, we jumped into the muddy river, leaving only a marble arch to memorialize our flame.