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Candle Memories

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My skin was warm, warmer than it ever should be. Sticky, suffocating, and warm. My throat refused to let air escape, instead tears squeezed from my eyes. Speaking was a struggle. A hand stretched in front of me, my own hand reaching for papa. Why… his nose and forehead wrinkled in a look of disgust. Through the suffocating fog I could see his retreating back. Emotions flooded me, coming out in pouring tears. Even in my state, I understood that I was being abandoned. Anger kept the dark spots on my vision from growing. Sadness filled my limbs with lead. Confusion swirled my sense together, blending until all I could recognize was pain. Red eyes dulled as I took my last choking breath. Looks like I died.

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Pain racked my body, everything sore like an old pain and yet also stinging and sharp like fresh, new pain. The lime was bitter, and my lips puckered when I tasted it. The vibrant green was the outside world, a stark contrast to the grays, browns, and blacks of my everyday life. The jailors spoke, the citizens spoke. An execution? What were they on about? I yelled, screaming out curses as my body lit up. A funeral pyre for the living. I died, my lungs only breathing in smoke, my flesh burning bright like the sun.

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The knife in my gut meant that I felt her suffering. All of it. No one wanted to laugh at me, but I could understand. This was nothing compared to the flames and jeers I had felt. Blood flowed from my stomach as I wrenched the knife from it, releasing the red liquid. This isn't that bad. Water filling my lungs meant that I felt her suffering. All of it. This wasn't bad at all! Killing yourself from despair was dumb. That mermaid must have been stupid. My lungs ached, the water burning my nose and my throat and my lungs until my vision went dark. Water didn't hold a candle to the pain of fire, the smell of burning flesh, and the hateful eyes, leering, thinking that you deserved what you got.

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Fiona's hand moved off of her stomach as I leaned my head towards it. The fabric of her shirt was soft, and she seemingly unthinkingly placed her hands on my head as my ear and her soft shirt met, tickling my ear. The next thing I heard was the unmistakable thumping of a heartbeat. The sound filled me with dread, like the march and beat of a war drum. I yanked my head back, out of Fiona's grasp, my eyes wide with terror. Fiona, who had previously been smiling, tilted her head, giving me a raised eyebrow and a confused expression. That was horrible, and my stomach felt like a pit. How awful.