"Yes," she trailed off, flicking the lighter in her hand as she attempted to set the tarry baton on fire. With only a few more clicks, the stick lit up the evening sky, sparkling like a Morning Glory, as the lighter burnt through the black ooze tip.
"One and only."
Her big, glossy grin illuminated behind the blaze of her baton turned torch. She approached Kasumi, slowly twirling the flames.
To her surprise, the brightness glinted off a speck of familiar metal, flat on the grass. She knelt.
"Huh," she said lifting it up, inspecting it with slight rotation. The gardener was right. This thing really was pretty.
She planted it back into the dirt as she continued on the task at hand.
Daddy had taught her to build a camp-fire using some tinder and twigs, surrounded with rocks, when she was a young girl, out camping with him. She’d been a bit rusty, but ultimately the skill only proved to be complementary, as the pack had already contained a lighter within the first aid kit, for good use. Still, she arranged the collection of sticks and rocks like so, touching the small pile with her torch. New flames rose from the earth.
Looks like the tar was flammable after all. At least in small amounts on wooden sticks. It was good to know.
"Let's get some sleep. It's bed time."
There were no more sounds in the witching hour, aside from the crackles of fire — just the hooting of owls.
For a moment, Wendy’s nearly eternal smile disappeared as she looked onto the dancing embers of their campfire, mesmerization taking ahold of her. It was as if she could see images in the flames, sounds louder than the crackling wood as it burned. More like gunshots, screams, an unrecognizable boy torched as the fire engulfed him.
Then a flash. Wendy could see the flames rise from the contained campfire, saw them slither up her arms, roasting them into charcoal. She saw them work their way up to her braided pigtails, sizzling them up, reducing them to ash. The image of herself, burned into her vision, her charred remains collapsing into a heap onto the smoldering floor.
She continued to stare for a while.
“You okay?” Wendy spoke to the still jutting legs that hadn’t quite sunken yet. A fresh new tar baton in hand. It surely hadn't taken this long last time, did it. Perhaps she was still alive?
"See Vincent down there?"
The skies sparkled in the clear night. Laying here on the ground like this, next to Kasumi was pleasant, almost like stargazing. She arched her left knee up, crossed her right ankle over it, her arms crossed in back and under head. She sighed in delight and drifted to sleep.
Sometime during the latest part of night, the legs had finally sunken, no longer were they there, leaving only Bridgette's black Doc Martens boots, floating at the surface.
The gardener had become the fertilizer.
Sometime during the initial breaths of morning, when the dark remained, mixing a slight blue hue before the earliest hours; a carnation had been placed upon the grimy earth just before the boots. A pretty knife, taking its place within the handbag.
Then came the dawn, with it a whisper and a promise of help and return, careful not to disturb. Aside from shattered knees, a shattered globe and a shattered girl still clutching her carved and personalized totem - Only the campfire remains, remained.
There were other fish in the sea.
[[Wendy Fischer Continued To: I'm Looking For a Place to Start, But Everything Feels So Different Now