The fire comes in the night, but this fire is not the kind with orange flames that bite or the flickering light with blue tips that seeks out flesh and wood and hair to eat. This fire is a storm of the mind. A rampage of heat and sparks where surely every firefighter in the state would rush to with their hoses drawn and their red hats glistening under the moon, if only their sirens would blare, if only the operators were alerted and the trucks sent on their way, if only they could feel her inner heat, the inner flames, the house consumed and crumbling, the tall-as-tree flames that course through her body like a forest fire without limits, as though the wind itself where the conspirator, the ally of the wild with only one goal, the hope for conquest, land, and blackened earth. The flames move to devour, to travel far and wide, before the helicopters come with their retardant powders, before the husky men show up with hard cocks and heavy jackets. And she wishes she could rely on some saviors in hardhats, but all that comes is the sound of owl wings bating in the night and the tree leaves that rustle in the glory of minute feathered vibrations.
Beneath lenses of red and orange, she watches the black cloaked trees. The floor under her feet is cold, and as she stands, staring out the tall window beside her bed, she simultaneously soaks in the silence of the night and hears the crinkling of flesh turning to ash. The tree limbs sway softly in the cold hours before dawn. She, in her long white nightgown, she looks out the open blinds, as though watching a lit spectacle, the flames inside cover the irises of her eyeballs and even though she stands perfectly still, her body stiff as a statue, inside she is ablaze, watching the forest outside like a prisoner watches cars speeding past a barred window.
The thought jabs, she feels it prickling the stillness of her pose. She feels the knife poking through the flames. Cutting through the moving blades of red, orange, and blue. Like thunder in the middle of a calm night, she looks to her right, to the man asleep on the bed, his arms cradling a soft pillow. She looks at him, at the only home she knows, the castle comprised of human flesh, the guardian of her life. He is without armor, without a metal helmet or even a sword by his side. He sleeps, unguarded, his thoughts lost in a dream of sugar and death, watching as flowers blossom into stiff armies advancing upon the gates of a desert. He, her home. Softly breathing, his heat almost strong enough to arm her cold feet and chilled shoulders.
And the thunder roars, and it rips her attention, takes it from his sleeping body and she turns again to the dark night, just outside the thin pane of glass and just beyond her hands’ ability to reach. Like a jab to her love, her eyes wander to the branches, swaying to unfelt wind that began in the arctic, began while they were still sunbathing and barbecuing. Her body feels the cold, her feet are numb against the wooden floor, but still, inside, it comes and the flames stay with her. Her body is cold and shivering, soon, it may collapse beneath the strain, but the fire inside mounts, the flames in her heart crackle in the night.