Note from the Author: This story is too long for only one post. That is why I’ll split it in two.
The flames looked like tongues, growing up so violently, so tall they could lick the ceiling, painting it black. The room looked small compared to the body of the fire that raised, that soon would devour the mattress of blue bed sheet and the white and blue wallpaper. The plush toys looked the situation like an audience of dead, the fire stretched over the little feet of the child, weighing over his legs.
The little boy was immobile, paralysed by the heat, drowned by the smoke; and the black shape looked pleased. In silence, it stabbed him with its deep black eyes, where the fire reflected like two little suns. It didn’t burn yet but he was starting to feel the warm on the skin, the hungry force that was climbing his chest. When the orange flames started to lick his face, the dark shadow moved.
Went through the fire and pressed the white, dead-cold fingers, on the child’s chest. It brought his face closer and looked at him with those eye’s sockets that looked like empty.
He could still hear the crackling sound when he waked up.
When he opened his eyes, he couldn’t see anything more than darkness. He was burning, like if the flames were hiding inside of he and then he realised how his skin was hurting with the touch of the sheets. He stretched his arm until he could feel the furry fabric of Mr Bunny. He grasped the plush toy against himself and fought for a breath of air.
-Mum! – He shouted. In the silence of the night the scared scream resounded on the walls, between the family pictures framed.
The woman entered in to the child’s room, with the fear on her eyes. In silence she approached and lifted his body in the half light. The mattress was wet from sweating, her baby was burning from the fever and he was sopping with a warm perspiration. The father arrived later and he turned on the rooms light. The white-and-blue wallpaper, this time without the orange glow, showed a toy cars pattern. The plush toys on the child’s little sofa and on the wardrobe looked at them with the same empty gaze.
-What’s happening? –His voice tone sounded tired and he was glancing with his brow knitted. He wasn’t an old man, but his face was marked with frustration and annoyance wrinkles. It was four in the morning, ‘in a few hours I’ll have to go to work’ he thought while he observed the situation. But the child insisted on calling them every night.
-He is boiling with fever! –She replied, alarmed, while she tried to dry his forehead with the border of the bed sheet –The fever doesn’t come down; it has been like this for days. We have to go to the hospital-
Candie was on the edge of crying. Her slim and tall body looked fragile; she was shaking while she hugged the child. The arms looked almost like bones, while rounded him in a hug warm of fever and wet of tears. Kennth pierced her with a resentment look.
Then the argument exploded, that it was really nothing to worry about, that the doctor would make her come back with a few aspirins, that it was just laryngitis, for sure, that all they had to do was wait. ‘No, you are never here; you never worry about your family. You know nothing about what’s happening’. Shut up, that if he didn’t worried he wouldn’t go to work each morning. It continued in the hallway, in the car, at the hospital’s door.
Since a few days that the sun was bright, the hot beams went through the atmosphere, bending the perspective. But inside of the house was ruling the absolute silence and the shadows. The characters in the family photos, the cupboards full of mementos; everything was surrounded by a darkness that was fighting the heat. Edan turned six years and a half some days ago. He just started his first school year, with much pride for Candie, who took a photo and put it in a frame.
But it has been a week since he stopped going to school or even going outside. He felt like his friends had forgotten about him. The fever was guilty of everything, by getting low during the day and going up during the night. He took one of the colour crayons with one hand and slid it over the paper.
On his lap Mr Bunny was sitting. It was his favourite toy; his grandmother stitched it for him when he was only a baby. She used soft cotton fabric, brown and orange, and two little buttons for the black eyes. Edan used to take it to the kindergarten, but after that the years of colourful rooms finished, it wasn’t long until the professor wrote home, informing that the child couldn’t bring the toy to school. This was, without any exceptions.
Obviously, the boy wasn’t happy about this, it made him to be quiet and lonely the first few months. He knitted his brow while he focused. He drew the shape, its white mask and its black and deep dark eyes. He made its ears and then he tried to draw to fire, like he always did, but he failed. Those orange flames didn’t burn like the real ones.
-Are you drawing Mister Bunny? – She asked, sitting on the floor by his side. The child nodded, even though he knew it wasn’t Mr Bunny –And, what are those? –
She was pointing the red fire. He felt a little disappointed.
There was a tense silence on the table while dinner. The television was on, like always, and the father, looking tired, was zapping channels. He stopped on the News Time, he yawned. Kennth felt like his days were stretching since the flu. At least the man, in his complete and wise ignorance, he knew it was flu. He looked at his son who was resting his head on the table. He had already taken his medicine, and he was getting sleepy. She lifted him and hugged the boy in her arms.
-You better sleep tonight. I won’t get up from bed for you anymore- He blurted out with a voice tone that it was not known if it had some empathy or it was pure frustration. Candie looked at him with an angry glance and with the boy on her arms they discussed between whisperings.
He never raised his hand on his wife, and she had the light impression that he won’t, but she always ended deciding to not push him into the situation. Sometimes it’s good to give up, you can say, while he talked with a voice full of frustration and violence. Finally she went out of the room, closing the door behind her.