Wavering Body

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Rachel saw a man on fire that night. He stood there burning at the foot of the bed.

It happened when the covers became too hot and she removed them from her face.

The corners of the blanket were all tucked neatly under her and nothing was getting in. Nothing was getting in! But then Rachel became hot. VERY hot. The The wool blanket felt heavy and sticky around her. She couldn't breathe.

Well, maybe she could breathe, but it was a hot stale air and it wasn't enough. It was like drinking a thick smoothie when a person is dehydrated and really needs to be drinking water. The hot air filled her nostrils and didn't seem to give her relief. It was not giving her the oxygen that she needed. It was leaving with an intense thirst, but for air.

Besides the discomfort of the hotness, and the sickly thick air, there was something else and it was far more important than her discomfort.

If the heat beneath the blankets became too much, it could cause her to spontaneously combust.

She then tore the blanket from her with as much fervor as she'd previously applied in obsessively tucking the corners under her legs, sides, arms and head.

As the pink pulled away, she saw a flash of white. What was it?! The pink blanket drifted to the floor and Rachel lay exposed on the bare mattress. At first there was nothing, only a dark room with piles of junk.

And then he was there.

At the foot of her bed stood a tall white figure. He was as white as the walls. Long tendrils of white flames poured from his head. His eye sockets were empty. Rachel thought she could see the caked debris of his melted eyes crusting his upper cheeks.

Rachel opened her mouth to scream, but nothing came out. She tried to force a primal shriek from her lungs and only a weak squeak escaped.

The creature had long arms and his body wavered continually, as if his outline itself was undulating. He stretched out his arms then and his fingertips emitted long white flames. Long wavy poofs of fingers, too long to be human fingers, or maybe they only appeared to be elongated because they were engulfed in the ethereal white flames.

His mouth was opened, a large black hole. He was silently screaming.

Rachel felt dizzy.

I'm crazy! I'm crazy! I've gone crazy! I'm seeing things! My brain is broken! No! I'm combusting! My brain is on fire! It's making me hallucinate!

Rachel stared at him. He stood there burning. He stood there screaming.

Then just as he had appeared, he was gone. His white, wavering body, became a part of the marred wall behind him. His eyes were a small black stain and the remains of a fly that Rachel had squashed earlier.

Rachel's thoughts were frantic and confused.

Was he ever here? Was I only sleeping?

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