When Mary gazes into the distance, she sees children rolling balls of snow along with the blanket of white, piling 3 balls on top of one another. They giggle as they use milk bottle top as eyes and a carrot as a nose. Soon they ran back to their mom, giving her a warm hug as if to say I love you, the three words that Mary has never heard anyone but her grandmother say to her.
She rummages through her backpack, trying to find something that would spark a pleasant memory.
She sits to explore the pockets, matches in everyone. She holds it firmly between her thumb and first finger near the gunpowder end, she’d rather get singed fingers than no flame at all. Then, with a sudden violent ferocity, she strikes it against the sandpaper strip. The match flares in the darkness and she quickly cup a hand around it to prevent the wind from smothering the precious flame.
In moments it was ablaze, a tiny inferno that lights up space. She watches it, the flame that came with a simple movement of her hand. In the glow, she sees her father.
I told you to sell them, its the only way our family can get income.
His hand hit and she fell immediately to the floor. The first slap, several years ago, had been the worst. She hadn’t expected him to be so strong but there were weight and strength enough to stun. Though his hand was empty, it was like being hit with a brick and afterward, she would endure his words of venomous hatred.
Why cant you understand that? Why are you so selfish?
He stands up and looks intensely at her, giving her one last kick on her stomach before leaving the house. She lets out a strangled scream and felt blood well into her throat from the tongue she had just bitten through in an attempt to keep quiet.
Fwoosh another match splutters
She didn’t know who attacked first, but suddenly his fist slammed into her face while she bit into his stomach. They stumbled apart for a brief second to catch their breaths before diving back at each other. Stars burst in his vision but he shook it off, blinding throwing a sloppy kick. She jumped back, easily avoiding the kick. Is that all you got? This is payback. smirking infuriatingly at him. She growled and threw herself at him, changing direction at the last minute. His cries are music to her ears, his blood the finest perfume. To watch him suffer is her joy.
Fwoosh another match lights up. Her grandmother appears. To Mary, she was that listening ear, She was Marys number one supporter, her angel and hero.
Oh dear, how could your father do this? Ill get some dressing to fix you right up
Im fine. Youve seen me like this every day, I think Im ok
When can we just leave this place? I dont want you to suffer any longer.
Soon, until I make enough money and have another place to stay
She pressed her palms against the mangled flesh, she once heard you were supposed to stop bleeding by putting pressure on wounds. But there was so much blood – dark crimson, with a metallic scent.
I just need some time alone, give me something to stop the blood and Ill take a walk outside
Are you sure dear? You need some rest
The sobs are restrained at first as she attempts to hide her grief, then overcome by the wave of her emotions she breaks down entirely, all of her defences washes away in those salty tears.
The teeth sank into her flesh as if she was nothing, just meat, blood, and bones. A lilac liquid had drenched her white shirt, the light had left her eyes as the colour from her rosy cheeks vanished as if ice had struck her. Her face froze, eyes open as she fell backwards. Her body laid like a ghoulish mannequin, her esophagus and arteries stuck out like corrugated rubber tubing. Her eyes rolled back revealing that red has completely taken over her eyes. Her bones move under her skin like mechanical snakes; audible cracks slices through her. She stared as her grandmother twitched, the tears burst forth like water from a dam, spilling down her face.
Her grandmothers screams and shrieks echo in Marys ears to this day. The guilt sits not on her chest but inside her brain. What she had done she could not undo. Regret washes over her like the long slow waves on a shallow beach. Each wave was icy cold and sent shivers down her spine. How she longs to go back and take a different path, but now that was impossible. There was no way back. She envied the pebbles, hard and lifeless, unable to feel the torments of life. Through her tears, she reached for the rest of the matches. With the last strike of the matches, she set all of the matches on fire. There was no way to make it right. The remorse would eat at her everyday of her life. She observed each time she watched the flames leap and hiss, always reaching feverishly out for him, trying desperately to grab and hold onto his fleeting shadow. And how beautifully they swayed, beckoning her, enticing her, and each time she looked away. But this time she took a step, and reached out with her pale hand and let it be immersed under the raging flames and she let the blazing lips kiss her hands. The flame turned her skin a brilliant shade of blue, spitting its rage as the wind came through in rapid bursts. She walked slowly into the flame and let the inferno devour her. She closed her eyes, finally, she can escape the guilt.
Death didnt want her to go that easily. Mary woke up, laying on top of the burnt out matches. The place is transformed by the light of the full moon, which hangs like a great luminous pearl. Then she feels her skin split like tree bark. Black hairs sprouts. Her once kind brown eyes melts into a heavier, more red colour. She can no longer control her body. Her heart is cold and her mind has no room for pity.