Fire surrounded her, everything a blur of red, orange and black smoke, a scene from hell.
This must be what it felt like to burn alive, Cynthia thought, struggling to hold her breath, avoiding to breathe the blackened smoke. Tears sprang from her eyes, and glided down her face, cooling her face. The feeling was short-lived as another burst of flames exploded on her right sending sparks in the air and blasting a heat wave towards her.
Last night, a different kind of fire had threatened to be the death of her; pleasure and joy.
Her eyes searched through the smoggy room, hardly able to see much. How could she have been so stupid to fall asleep while the candle was still burning? She had only meant to shut her eyes for a second, to let the screaming pain within her subside.
Her smoke infested thoughts drifted on the last thing she remembered before falling asleep on the sofa. Her stupid argument with Dejan after an evening of passion and cuddling. All because of a marriage proposal.
A scream filled the air, cutting through the hissing of burning wood and curtains. Her already racing heart tripled its racing inside her chest as wooziness crowded her head, threatening to take whatever bit of sanity and life left in her.
“Alyssa!” She rushed forward, towards the burning doorway that led to her hallway, to her daughter’s bedroom and stumbled back as the flames, as if intentionally blocking her path lashed out at her scorching the skin on her arms. “Alyssa!” She sobbed, “Honey, stay where you are, I’m coming to get you.”
A weak muffled cry seeped in from the other side of the burning door.
Her eyes darted around the room and caught sight of the half-consumed fleece blanket on the now burning sofa. She dashed forward, grabbed it, shaking it to avoid the flames that leaped towards her hands. She rushed to the kitchen and threw it into the sink, making sure it was soaked through.
“Please God, keep my baby safe,” She murmured under her breath, and wiping her face with the back of her hand.
She whirled around, the wet blanket in her hands and froze. Within seconds, the fire had caught on, and the carpet was drenched with it. There was no way around it. She glanced around, her slippers were no where in sight.
She took a deep breath, wrapped the blanket over her head and around her shoulders, bit her cheek and inched forward, ready to leap.
Suddenly, a heavy weight hit her on her back, shoving her forward. She stumbled, but the heavy weight held her down. A sideways glanced confirmed it to be the wood beam from the ceiling. Shocked, dazed and desperate, she screamed. No one would help her baby. She clawed at the carpet, trying to crawl from under the weight at the same it watching the fire as it edged towards her.
“Mommy,” a faint trembling voice called out.
Cynthia’s head snapped up. Through the smoke, she saw her seven year old daughter’s tiny body outlined standing outside the living room door, her eyes round with terror. Panic and overwhelming relief clashed within her, snatching whatever air that left after she was knocked down.
“Aly, I asked you to stay in your room.” Strength was leaving her. She shook her head to keep the dizziness at bay.
“Mommy, are you going to die?”Although she couldn’t really see Alyssa clearly, the tremble in her daughter’s voice gave her strength, at least for her daughter.
“No, honey –“ a fit of coughing bore down on her, the smoke choking her. After a few moments she caught her breath all smoky, “Aly, go now, leave the house.”
“No, I am not going to leave you,” Alyssa said, her tone stubborn and strong.
Irritation gathered within Cynthia like a storm waiting to happen, giving her strength. “Go, now. Leave, baby. Call for help.” Everything was fading fast, pain seemed to be tattooed in every part of her body. “Go, baby,” She croaked, hoping Alyssa obeyed, as blackness claimed her.
“No, you are not going to leave me, darling.”
Her eyes snapped open at the voice, her mind whirled as she tried to focus her eyes on the face above hers. Joy soured within her, numbing the pain slicing through her. Amber worried eyes stared at her, his usual full lips taut.
“Dejan. You came back,” She said, her words a collection of slurred words. Suddenly, the joy within her dimmed as she watched his face glistened, his body unaccustomed to fire. “Go, out, dangerous fire.”
Dejan blinked and straightened, then disappeared from her line of view.
Suddenly the weight on her back lifted. She breathed in and groaned as needles of pain stabbed at her. He reappeared again before her.
“I’m carrying you out,” He said, his voice thickened with worry, his lilting accent more pronounced.
She shook her head, ignoring the shards of needles poking inside her. “Alyssa.”
He snapped his head up and narrowed his eyes to the doorway, his breathing heavy. Even his usually amber eyes had taken a light colour a sign that his energy was leaving him. To Alpice Shifters, open fire was lethal, just as ice was lethal to Deheat Shifters.
“You are weakening. Go,” she said.
“I can manage your weight and Aly’s.”
She shook her head hastily. “Her. My baby.”
Without warning, he slid a cool comforting hand around her neck, swooped down and caught her lips with his, sending a different kind of fire burning inside her the passion in that kiss a balm to the burns on her body.
He lifted his head, pain, passion and love blazing in them. “I’ll be back for you.” And in a flash he was gone.
Cynthia’s closed her eyes.
It seemed like forever before she felt a presence that has always been Dejan’s. Drowsily, she slipped her eyes open.
“Thank you,” She smiled weakly, unconsciousness beckoning her to its cosy depths. She flinched as he gathered her in his arms, wet blanket and all, straightened and began walking towards the blazing doorway. She locked her gaze to his, a smile on her lips.
She was safe.
Tears pooled in his eyes. “I apologise for leaving you.” He blinked, and the tears rolled down his cheeks. “You know, I will walk through the fire for you, Cyn. As matter of fact, I just did. And will do it all over again. I love you and Aly. You are the fire that thaws the ice in me. Marry me.”
She could only nod, joy soaring through her, a warm cosy mist wrapping around her as she fell into a world unknown.
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