Ring of Fire
I’m surrounded. I’ve been surrounded for I don’t know how long now. Days? Weeks? Years? I can’t remember. All I know is that there is a wall of flame as far as I can see in every direction. I’ve tried to walk through, but the heat seared my clothes. I’ve tried to find the circumference but got exhausted and passed out, only waking up back at the little home I’ve made for myself in what I can only assume is the middle. It feels like futility is hunting to see if there’s a way to escape and, honestly, I’ve stopped trying. I don’t know why I’m here or how I’m here but there’s no way out.
It’s not been fun, but it’s less bad than you may expect. I’m not cooking or baking or boiling or anything like that, unless I get too close to the flame. The temperature is moderated, somehow, so I’m at least sort of comfortable. There’s food and even water, although how that still exists is beyond my understanding. It feels like I’m being taken care of and that makes me both sad and confused.
Eventually, I learned to just roll with things and carved out some semblance of a life here. I don’t think that was a good idea, though. I think it made whoever in charge mad. See, lately I’ve noticed that the fire, which had just been a nice, unmoving wall, is starting to change.
It crackles and hisses as it begins to ascend. Something about that twists my heart. It had been static for so long, too long. Longer than I can remember. Now it’s changing and fear spins off of it like the smoke that curls into the sky. It’s getting taller and angrier and I could swear that a disapproving face is lurking in the yellow and orange and red.
I tried to sleep last night – or whatever counts for night here – and that was a mistake too. When I woke up, the fire had changed more. It was closer now. However far the edges had been apart, they had moved. Condensed. I can see the wall all around me now and it keeps getting higher and hotter. I’m sweating now. Not pouring sweat, but there’s that annoying thin sheen on my forehead.
Wait. No, it’s getting closer for sure. It definitely is hotter than it had been and is so tall I can’t see what passed for the sky anymore. It’s collapsing on me. I’m starting to cook. I can feel myself getting crispy and it hurts and it hurts and it hurts.
It’s closer now and every nerve in my body is screaming at me. I can’t move. I’m curled up in a ball, hoping for some sort of relief, but it’s not coming. It’s too hot. I can’t move. It’s too hot. It’s too –
I wake up. I’m confused. I’m surrounded. I’ve been surrounded for I don’t know how long now. Days? Weeks? Years?
I can’t remember.
Here is where I''ll post random stories that aren't, as of yet, in a larger book. Call it a free ride into the mouth of madness, yo.