Day 2: Flash Fiction 30 Day Challenge

Day 2 – ‘Smoke hung so thick in the library’s rafters that she could read words in it.’

Belle’s Safe Haven

  My name is Belle and I live with a Beast; he is frightening, cruel and fierce. I am trapped here for always; my only companions are the cursed people who are trapped here too.
My days are spent wandering around this empty house, most doors are closed to me and I feel lost inside the cold, dark walls.
I miss my father, I miss my life.
I walk and walk each corridor, knowing where each brick lies and knowing which door handle turns for me and which ones require a key that I don’t have. The only room that I feel safe in is the library. This is a room that keeps me sane and stops me from losing my mind. In the library I can escape to a different world; the expanse of books is incredible, and I love how I feel a little closer to normality by just being within its walls.
The Beast was not very happy with me yesterday. I had entered the wing of the house that he had forbade me to enter. I had peered at his personal items and I had looked on in horror at the slashed paintings which I assume are depicting himself before the curse. My eyes were drawn to the beautiful red rose encased in glass. A flower that defies rationality as it stands on its stem. My eyes had lingered far too long on the astonishing petals, some of which had fell away and lay littered at the base.
I didn’t hear him approach; it was his warm breath I felt first. Hot and angry on the back of my neck. The hairs on my skin stood on end and I slowly turned to the enraged face of the creature that has imprisoned me. I had shielded my face with my arms, fearful that he would strike me down where I stood, but instead he had dragged me from the room as a deep, guttural growl rose from him. I was locked into my room and only let out this morning when breakfast was served.
I am now walking down the corridor towards the library. My feet are stepping eagerly as I long to read the next chapter in the book I had started yesterday. But something doesn’t feel right, the air is thick around me, almost like there is smoke. I reach the door to the library and I feel the smallest parts that I held together within myself start to break. The room which had a beautiful wooden interior; my book haven is now full of flames and smoke. The entire room is on fire and the tears that spring to my eyes are as hot and angry as the inferno that is raging ahead of me. I enter the room slowly and feel the heat on my skin and I breathe in the deep smell of burnt wood and paper. Smoke is hung so thick in the library’s rafters that I can read words in it.
The Beasts final words from yesterday ring in my ears, ‘You will be punished for your insolence, you wretched girl’. All at once I see my life mapped out in front of me; the endless lifeless days coupled with the intense fear I feel of living with a creature who is depraved and cruel. I refuse to live my days in this way, I refuse to let that monster control my every move.
Turning back towards the double doors, I stand tall and breathe my last full breaths before slowly closing the door and locking it so that I am safely inside. I would rather face the fiery inferno inside this library than live another day a shadow of who I used to be. With that thought, I walk further into the flames and feel the heat as it tickles, nibbles and then bites at my skin.

 

Flash Fiction
by Stephanie Geary

 

 

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