Falling Flames: a 50/50 story (Part 2)
I’m a little bit excited – as I am writing this very sentence I still haven’t flipped the coin which will decide the mother’s fate from part one! I will flip the coin as soon as this paragraph is complete; my insides are wriggling like jelly on a plate. Please enjoy the second installment of this ‘seat-of-my-pants’ story which will be completed in an indefinite number of posts (:P). And the coin is being flipped (heads the mother lives, tails she dies)………..now!
The fire was roaring upwards and outwards; Miriam’s cries for help were dwindling. Jasmine knelt next to her mother, ignoring the heat – it didn’t seem to affect her. She dragged her mother away from the flames, mouthing a silent prayer.
Please be alive, mother, please…
But her mother was silent. Skin was peeling off her face, revealing raw red flesh underneath. Her clothes had been burned onto her skin; savage black marks covered her body.
‘Mother!’ Jasmine considered peeling the clothes away, but decided against it. Her mother needed a doctor.
Jasmine slid her arms gently beneath Miriam’s back, eventually managing to stand up completely, her mother cradled in her arms. Then she began to walk, avoiding the flames as much as possible. The fire from above seemed to have stopped, and the remaining civilians were chucking huge buckets of water over the erratic orange blazes. Jasmine looked at her mother, realising just how precious she was.
* * *
Jasmine had been carrying her mother between breaks for about two hours; her home town was no longer in sight. The starry night had begun to disappear, replaced with the first hints of dawn. The sky was a light grey and the air was cool. Jasmine shivered.
Her mother mumbled.
‘Mother?’ Jasmine snapped her head round to her mother, who was placed carefully on the soft grass. ‘Mother, can you hear me?’ She bent down and lightly brushed Miriam’s hair from her face. Most of it was burned away. ‘Please, if you can hear me, say something, say anything.’
Jasmine wept. For several minutes the world around her was nothing but a blurry mess. Then, as if nothing had even happened, she picked her mother up carefully, had one last look round, and ventured farther down the dusty, rocky road.
And so she walked, along the dusty, rocky road, until the sun was a quarter of the way up in the sky. Every time she coughed into her hand several specks of ashes could be seen on her palm. Her mother was becoming gradually worse too, and several times Jasmine panicked when her mother’s slow breathing changed for the worse. She would run to the closest patch of grass she could find and kneel beside her mother for goodness knew how long, before she returned to her steady, albeit shaky, breathing.
They both needed water and shelter; soon the sun would be at its highest in the sky, and when that happened, Jasmine would be too weak to continue on. She needed to find a house – needed to find someone – before that happened.
And then she saw it – a temple, built high into the mountain on her left-hand side. It looked old, even from far away; it looked like the sun could pierce through its walls.
But it was shelter, a place to aim for. She and her mother had already journeyed too far. The temple’s path was to the left. Her right: onwards…
So, the 50/50 question: does Jasmine continue on, or head up to the temple? Heads she continues on, tails she goes to the temple. ‘Til next time!
Please forgive the lack of answer to the previous 50/50 question. I know what happens to Jasmine’s mother, but decided the time wasn’t right to tell all of you! 😛 I trust you also liked this installment of the story; if you have any comments or questions, please do write them below and I’ll reply to you ASAP! 😀