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Posted on June 30, 2015 (Second Post)

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My laptop, displaying Mindy's cover photo, sat at the edge of the sink as hot water filled the bathtub. I poured bubble bath into the rumbling water and the smell of cherry blossoms mingled with rising steam. In photos, Mindy decorated her house with chunky block candles, some tall and some short. I had bought the same candles and lined my bathtub with them, lighting each with my Zippo. The candlelight illuminated the small washroom in a warm glow, just as Mindy would have liked.

My clothes hit the floor and I stepped into the hot water and oily bubbles, easing myself in, stomach then chest, submerging in warmth -- my nerves melting away. I lathered my shoulders with the bubbles and peeked at Mindy's photo on the laptop. It was her pink bikini photo, her large tits filling her bikini top, threatening to spill out. I could feel her stare at my naked body, her eyes playful. I imagined my hands sliding up her legs, slick with suntan oil. My stomach filled with a painful lust. I let the sudden yearning take over me, stroking my hardness under the soapy water - stroking faster and faster, closing my eyes and stiffening my leg muscles.

I came, convulsing in spasms. I arched my neck, my head falling back and tipping a hair conditioner bottle onto one of the candles, knocking it to the floor. The candle lay on its side on the linoleum floor, the flame dangling under the plastic shower curtain pushed and crumpled against the wall in a single column. My heavy breathing slowed - the intensity inside me cooled.

And then the smell hit me -- burning plastic. Black smoke flattened itself on the ceiling. I jolted up so fast I almost slipped -- bath water spilling onto the floor. The bottom of the curtain erupted in flames. The black smoke from the ceiling flowed like water falls down the walls.

The fire alarm in the hallway shrieked. I fumbled for the bathtub faucet and spun the cold tap -- freezing water blasted out of the shower head in a circular pattern and I aimed the stream at the plastic curtain now stained in soot. The flames, desperately lapping upwards, grew smaller. Puddles of ash-dirty water pooled on the floor. The flames died and I turned off the faucet, leaving me standing in the smell of melted plastic and the screaming alarm.

I looked at the laptop and saw ashes floating across the light of the screen, obscuring Mindy's face. In a daze, I became transfixed on the smoking remnants of the curtain, the toppled candle on the ground, and the ashes floating in the air, and I imagined Mindy's body - a black skeleton on the ground.

With my toes, I lifted the drain plug and let the soapy, sooty water escape. The fire alarm fell silent, and the wailing was replaced by the gentle sound of water draining away. I stood there, listening to the water flowing down the pipes, destined for the sewers, taking with it all my dignity and the little sense of self I had left.

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