Let’s be alone together
We can stay young forever
~ Fall Out Boy, ‘Alone Together’
That’s all she feels as the fire reaches her. There is chaos all around her as she tries to find him. People are screaming, their faces and hands stained with blood as they embrace their friends and family for what might be the last time. Her wounds are smarting painfully, the cuts on her arms and legs pushed to the back of her mind as she forces her way through the throngs of people who are running from the hailstorm of smoke and ashes.
She’s screaming now, her lips trembling as she calls for him desperately. A part of her knows that he’s gone, but the rest of her perseveres stubbornly. She stumbles over bodies, and gags as the blood-stained, crumpled corpses crack under her as she searches for him.
Please, she screams as tears roll down her cheeks, and she thinks that she sees a shadow of him around the corner. Fire rains from the sky as she shields her head from the rubble, the thin scarf that she’s wrapped around her head hardly enough to protect her from even the thick dust.
It’s only after she comes to that she realises that she’d lost consciousness at some point as the flames fell from the sky, and she scrambles to her feet. There’s a sharp twinge in her ankle which tells her that there’s a possibility that she’s broken something, but she forces herself to keep moving.
She can’t help the tears that roll down her face as she walks through the broken, war-torn streets in the cover of night. The pain in her ankle has spread to her thigh, and she’s limping and waving off the people who come to help her. She tells them that she’s looking for him, and their broken, sad faces make her heart stutter in her chest every time she repeats the reason she’s still walking.
It’s pitch black when she finally sees him, a hint of him peeking out from under a particularly large slab of concrete. No! The tears double, her eyes aching from the dirt as she wipes her face with her filthy hands before attempting to dig him out. A few others come to help her, and it takes them a while to move the large rock. After that, they leave her as she sobs over the relatively large body.
She runs her hand through his grey-streaked fur, her tears soaking into his blood-stained head and muzzle as she curls up against him. This was a mistake, she tells herself even as she mourns for him. She should have never left him alone, especially when he was so old. His body is cold and stiff as she flattens the fur on the top of his head with a trembling, dirt-caked hand. He looks like he’s sleeping, and if she believes hard enough, she can almost fool herself into thinking that he is.
So she believes.
She curls up beside him just like she usually would and she wills herself to sleep. When she wakes up, the sun is burning her skin once again, and the screaming is all around her. Beside her, he’s still unresponsive and stiffer than ever, and she ignores the arms that try to pull her away, swatting them aside as she holds on to him.
When the fire reaches her this time, she welcomes the burn and the red and the heat.
Burn this pain away, and sear a new life into these bones.