Snippet again

Another story I started, based in the world of The Ace of Knives story that I sold.

===

The wild yellow dance of flames.
The scent of smoke.
Your screams.

You’re in my arms, you hold onto me tight, and we sit as the flames surround us and climb into the night sky, and you whimper, a sound almost consumed by their crackle and hiss. You get frantic at them licking at your sleeve, scream as the hungry flames cause a blister to appear on your pale skin. You wonder at my own untouched black sleeves, at my implaceable calm.

“Because this is just a dream,” I remind you once more. “It is not real.”

Your fear of imminent death, your panic as your clothes begin to be consumed, fades along with your fearful moans. You regain composure. Your back straightens, a stable, confident clarity shines in your dark eyes, something I rarely see in them these days.

The fire disappears. We wake in your bedroom, on your bed. You rise and extricate yourself from our embrace. You look into my eyes, the sober clarity I saw while lost in your dreamworld replaced in the real world by a fragile skittishness that makes your eyes dart hither and yon.

“Thank you,” you say softly to me.

You look into my eyes, mother to daughter, a broken toy past its playable date, uncertainty and gratitude trading places within your eyes, along your features.

I kiss your forehead, lay you back down onto the bed, and pull up the covers, telling you goodnight before heading to my own room.

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