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Misfortune and the Fire

Misfortune and the Fire

I heard the soft murmur of death high above me. As the sky gave birth with darkness I crawled into a tight ball. It was not the soft clouds nor the wet rain that touched me, but rather the breath of a beast. The four hundred and fifty pounds of dense muscle and razor-sharp teeth approached me like a lightning bolt. I ducked as feathery wings flapped past me. A long, slender neck descended towards the water. For the first time I saw the face of Misfortune. She had a powerful jaw, strong enough to decapitate the heads of wyverns, leshys and lycanthropes in one bite. Inside her eye sockets burned a flame with a glazy gaze.

The deep royal blue ocean started churning as Misfortune’s dark black mouth touched it. The water stank of dead fish and rotten seaweed.
Suddenly, the sparkling water engulfed my wooden boat. The waves chewed me and spat me out like a piece of gum. Misfortune’s gusting breath shattered the vast ocean, proving my insignificance. While the monster tossed me around hope escaped my body.

I heard the wind moaning louder and louder. No! Not the wind. The ghostly singing came from Misfortune as she expelled a new set of thick, cloudy breaths, so dense that not even a slither of sun could penetrate their thickness.

My pulse raced through the waves. Coughing water turned to vomit. Every breath was a fight for life. The icy raindrops struck me with their chill. Pain! Intense pain and haunting fear shot through my veins.

Instinctively, I pleaded for help. I pleaded to the heavens, begging God to save me. Strange blue glows of lightning shot from Misfortune’s eyes. Sounds of metal clanging against metal echoed through my ears as Misfortune’s thunder struck the water beside me. Electricity ate my body and I slowly felt the silence swallow me up.

Grains of sand rested beneath my fingertips. Around me fire exploded into the black ocean. Flames licked the bottom of the ocean floor like a gentle puppy with a bowl of milk, calm and peaceful. The fearless fire took me into its care and tenderly warmed me up. The bruises on my arms faded, the shock of my body evaporated and the blood on my nose dried up. Above me the malicious waves obeyed the fire and Misfortune fled.

In front I saw an enormous town built from eons-old marble and surrounded by ornate coral railings. I swam closer as sunshine wrapped me up tightly. In the middle of the town was a royal palace encrusted with diamonds. Weeping willows arose from the seabed and a perpetual rose, covered with flame-bright orange roses, stood guard in front of the palace.
Silver drops glistened from the petals as the plant carpeted the floor. The tranquil waters rippled through the megalopolis and luminescent fish swam inside. Science has names for some of them and others have not yet been discovered. There were unknown flowers, buildings and creatures and there was the unknown fire and the unknown me…

I had lungs to breathe in water and feet to walk on sea sand. The monster left and my disaster has faded, because to get to the warming fire, my God had to help me traverse the storm.

Sareez Basson (19 years)

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