89: Through the Fire
In dreams Alice was Alice again and when she slept she remembered the night that she died.
She remembered how the world ended in a blaze of never-ceasing agony. She remembered the sound of deranged laughter mingled with her own screams. She remembered feeling as if her whole body were on fire, inside and out. She remembered reaching out for Frank’s hand but never grasping it. She remembered his eyes, shining with tears. She remembered her baby, her boy, her Neville, and she remembered thinking she was never, ever going to see him again. Almost every night chaotic memories washed over her and sleeping was as stepping into a burning building, the flames licking at her until the pain was too much and she shuddered awake.
In the morning, Alice did not remember. In the morning Alice was not Alice. Frank was not Frank. Neville was not Neville. There was a man who sat across the way. He too looked as though he had been born from flames. White, wispy hair, skin frail and milky. She looked at him, expressionless, and he watched her with vacant eyes. Sometimes he would stare at her and cry. Sometimes, when she woke in the middle of the night screaming incoherently he was awake too, trembling and mumbling. It upset her because she didn’t understand it.
There was a boy who sat with her. Sometimes he was there and sometimes he wasn’t. The passage of time made no sense to her. There was presence and absence. Boy or no boy. The Alice that was not Alice passed her days in a haze of incomprehension, but something in her scorched memory pulled her strings like a puppeteer, reaching out to the boy, offering him a simple message that she herself did not understand.
The bubblegum, you could still smell it on the paper. Like the remains of a crackling fire, smoldering in the grate. Embers burning low.
Awake, she was the embers. In dreams Alice was Alice again, existing only in the echo of those flames.
oops I drew more fralice
quick fralice love
frank and alice - for anon