This is the prologue and some of the first chapter of a longer piece that I’m writing. I won’t call it a book, but you never know. Originally inspired by Inspiration Monday and the prompt Patchwork People.
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Flames are telling. They have an amazing gift, the ability to rake burning fingers across someone’s world and strip it of all that is unnecessary. Family, friends, home, appearances, health. They take it all from whoever they can touch. And last night, they touched me.
You’d think I hate them. But I don’t. They were beautiful. Outstretched fingers licked over my hands, arms and later, face. Burning away every part of me that wasn’t needed. Searing away my features and melting the skin away. The flames swallowed me into their warm embrace and crowned me a fire goddess. Intense agony followed and I let the fire take me from its brilliant light into blackness.
Everything was gone.
B-e-e-p. The white line traced across the screen. My eyes followed it’s bumpy path up and down on the screen. Peaking when my heart thudded in my chest. Falling and bottoming out between each beat. An endless pattern of mountains. I found if I wiggled a little bit the peaks were closer together, and if I took a couple of deep breaths, then stopped breathing altogether, the mountains spread apart. That’s when I knew. The most beautiful, mesmerizing thing in the world, was white lines.
Waves. Up and down, rising and falling. Floating in a never ending pattern. A beautiful pattern. One I wanted to follow. White waves offering to drag me under and relieve the burning feeling of melted flesh on my body. I wanted it to go away. Why was I still burning?
Fingers ran up and down my arms, tracing the lines of stitches and scars. The patchwork of skin on my arms, on my entire body, was me; blanketed in pieces of pure white skin, inflamed red burns, and melted spots they couldn’t repair that showed little pieces of my muscles. My mum used to tell me stories about patchwork people. I didn’t think she meant this though. What I’d become was a disgusting mutated form of what she once described. I was just pieces sewn together, a life they decided to spare.
The parts of my face that weren’t paralyzed moved into an expression of disgust. Then the thought crossed my mind. If I was grossed out by myself, was the rest of the world just as repulsed?
A person came in wearing a white coat while I was thinking. I looked at her and decided who I would make her be. Gray pants. Her hair up in a tight bun. I decided she was too neat and tidy. She looked like a picture standing in front of me, instead of a person. She scared me. People aren’t supposed to be perfect. Only bad people look perfect.
By the time she finished her greeting and told me why she was in the room–to get a blood sample from me–I had decided that she wasn’t real. Either that or she was some sort of demon. Sent by the flames because they wanted me back. But that was too far fetched wasn’t it? I wasn’t a lunatic, right?
Her needles pinched in my arm and she began drawing it back, taking away my blood for herself in a vial of crimson. If my face would have moved I would have glared at her. Or if I had a voice maybe I would have yelled. But I didn’t have a voice. No words came when I wanted to speak, and I couldn’t move my face. I didn’t know why. I just, couldn’t.
The fire-spies took my voice away. I realized. That must have been their name too. It popped into my head so naturally, following the new voices and friends that made their way into various corners of my mind suddenly.
Is this what its like to be crazy? I asked them.
No, you aren’t crazy. Not yet.