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Creative Writing

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Literature

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Travel

Some Say The World Will End In Fire.


I remember hearing noises from the window as I read to my life-sized green teddy bear. I placed my book down on his lap, covered him with my blanket and climbed the chair that I had carefully positioned beside the window.
The attic looked out onto dozens of gardens and I sometimes pretended that I was peering out onto my own kingdom. My favourite time to sit there was at twilight when the foxes emerged and the rest of the world stood still. It was as if I was the only one alive, I felt important then.
I scanned the gardens for the source of the noise and noticed two men struggling to move a wardrobe. They had resorted to pushing and pulling it across the ground and it was the wood scraping concrete that had been responsible for the havoc.
I looked on until they seemed satisfied with its placement on the soil towards the rear of the garden. It was only later that I would go on to understand why I should have immediately closed the window and returned to my book.
Nobody could have foreseen the weight that I was about to carry.
Together, the two men began to light a fire, eventually stepping back to watch the wardrobe go up in flames.
People were always setting fires in their gardens as if it were the only way to get rid of their belongings. I liked the scent of the smoke so would sometimes watch until the flames lost their spirit.
This time, however, something did not feel right. 
My body was soon overcome by a feeling of dread as I watched the smoke morph into melancholic grey. I remember my hands trembling as I attempted to close the window. The wind had blown the handle too far and so I continued to watch, confused by what was happening and why I felt so afraid.
They say that your first instinct is always right and I think that something in me knew then.
Close the window!’ I would later shout to myself amid my own silence.
I should have closed the window.
Smoke quickly began to pervade the air, and for a moment, I felt like I could almost make out the wrath of the flames against my own skin. The fire was stronger than I had ever seen before, angrier, spreading so quickly that I feared for the lives of the men that stood close by.
I heard footsteps but it was too late to climb down.
Why are you watching them?’
‘I was trying to see what they were doing.’
‘You shouldn’t be. Come on, get down.’
‘But what are they doing?’
I remember the silence, watching the colour of the wood turn to ash.
You’re too young.
But you’re not even a grown-up. Please tell me what’s happening.
I remember the burden of the sigh that traversed through the depth of my cousin’s bones.
‘They believe that when people die, you have to burn them.’
They burn a person?
Yes, like we bury them.’
But there’s just a wardrobe outside.’
Someone is inside it.’
This was the first time that I felt anxiety in the crux of my limbs. I froze, too afraid to inhale as not to breathe him in. 
How do you know?
They’ve done it before.
My cousin closed the window, lifted me onto the ground.
Are you sure they’re not alive?
I refused to go downstairs and waited for a sound, a scream, something to stop them.
It never came.
I remember feeling nauseous and dragging my bear down the stairs to hide in my grandmother’s store cupboard; the safe haven that housed all of my toys.
Days later, I looked out and examined their garden for signs of ash, wood, forgotten life. I thought about the person that had been inside the wardrobe, what his or her dreams had looked like, whether I could go on to live them out in their memory. I thought of them every time I saw fire, could smell them whenever I was close enough to inhale smoke.
It occurred again years later, only this time I was older and knew to close the window before they had had the chance to welcome the flames.

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