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©2018 Barren Magazine. An Alt.Lit Introspective.

Hilltop Chats


by Samuel V. Mariano

We sit together atop a hill overlooking the expanse before us covered in patches of white flowers. The air is sweet to our senses; a mid-spring day. We share small talk back and forth for no reason other than we can, but then you stand up. I didn’t notice before, but there is a gas can a few feet away and as you lift it up the gas spills over your body. I can hear the whimpers– you must know what is happening, but you don’t stop. Before I know a blanket of flames engulfs your body and you scream. You scream so loud, for help, for a solution, for anyone who will listen. Your once porcelain skin begins to bubble and blacken. You collapse.

I remain seated in the smoke, troubled by what you have just done to yourself. I don’t even know how to respond. The flames eventually flicker out and I can hear the small rasp of you voice ask, “why does this happen to me?” Again, I’m stuck bothered by your question, it doesn’t make sense. We were so peaceful atop of this hill and now the grass is scorched, and the rotten smell of burned skin and singed hair pollute the once intoxicating air. Sitting up the tears are rolling down your withered face and you ask again, “why does this happen to me?”

Header photograph © Jason D. Ramsey.

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