The swirls of smoke rose up in still air. It was dark and yet she could trace the curves of grey, rising and diffusing into pitch black. Images were created, distorted, and transformed. She sat there, in her comfortable spot, the sofa she so loved, it held her body perfectly in place; it was like the hands of a lover, comforting and warm.
She was smoking her tenth cigarette in the row. Her mind forced her to think: why?
Why and when did she first get into this habit? It was bland, it was tasteless, it did nothing to her, and it did nothing for her. The answer she thought was hidden in the smoke. And it was. As she watched it rise she could see her deepest desires curved in those little swirls. The desire of being wanted to be heavier than all others; it rose but fell and rose again.
She looked at the cigarette in her hand, it was half-smoked; she watched the glow for a minute or two before touching it to her lips.
None knew where she was, hidden away from reality and within the darkness. She felt safe but alone. She looked at the swirls again to see if she could find an answer within them. She saw it then.
The same silhouette she wished would never cross her eyes; it was round, with little hands and tiny toes. It was there, in midair, floating and cuddled by the grey around it. It got bigger and beautiful, it got bigger and crippled. The red glow seemed to have lit it on fire. It cried, it screamed, it was in pain.
She was horrified, she was paralyzed, and she couldn’t move, her eyes darted, screams got louder, shrieks pierced her ears, her eyes started to burn, but she still couldn’t look away. The tiny hands were ripped off the fragile arms and the arms were ripped off the little round body, the head got cut into half, the head seemed to look upon its own body. The toes were cold, the toes weren’t toes, they spun to a thread, and with a pinch of fire all was set. There was no red.
“I must have done it.” She thought to herself “I did what was necessary; I did it because there was no other way”. And she had done it. She had done it in her room; she did it when her mother was sleeping; she did it in daylight. It had bled, it hurt, but there was no other way. She was a respectful little lady with a respectful family and her need to preserve her respect had made her do it. To her, God meant nothing, morals meant nothing, life and death had meant nothing. Because at that moment it all nullified, she hadn’t thought of anything and her life did flow as normal as it could get.
She woke up every day and slept every night. All smiled and all were fine. Life flowed just as it did yesterday, tomorrow would be no different and neither would be the third, next day. There was a story to this, there were days and nights and months and years which led had led to this.
There was a time when a palmist had looked her in the eyes and said nothing. And months later, her mother had pointed it out, “because his eyes said all, he said nothing.” And it was true, it wasn’t three it was four. But it was only the fate of three to see the light of day, to breathe, to sing, to dance and live.
The three were successful, she was successful, all had passed and all was well. None saw hurdles, none saw pain, and maybe that was the fact which filled in her, the fear of fire. Now in this decrepit old age, morals did matter, God was everything, death was inevitable and there was no answer. No way could she know if beyond this was heaven or hell.


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