• By Ariana Duckett (she/they)
  • Art “Waiting for Alexandria” by Nikita Podzolka (he/him)

She stood in front of the log cabin with her hands clenched into fists. A campfire fueled by her belongings was between her and the dilapidated house.

“I told you to get your garbage out of my house by yesterday. Don’t give me that little-girl look.”

“It used to be our house. One decision changes that?”

“I told you that if you got rid of it, you wouldn’t be welcome here anymore.”

“Since you’ve turned to arson to solve your problems, I’m glad I’m not raising a child with you.”

“I wanted you to keep it. I needed you to keep it,” he snarled back. She was glad that there was a campfire between them to stop him from getting any closer.

Finally, he was done tossing her clothes and photos into the fire, which was puttering out. She wasn’t going to steal away what little survived, though she saw an old blouse which had been only slightly tarnished; she didn’t want to give him the satisfaction.

“I’ve got to go to work. I’m doing the night shift again. Can you clean this up?”

“You want me to clean up my clothes that you burned?”

“Or maybe you’d prefer that I tell the police what you did. Your choice.” He strode to his car and drove away. She looked past the campfire at the sunset. The trees spiked the orange-pink sky, and the hill separated the deer, foxes and rabbits from her rage ring.

She hugged herself. Her soul slowly returned to her body.

It was hot and shapeless like the magma that managed to see the sky in its lifetime. It didn’t come to destroy the world, but to carve its existence into the world’s memory. He would not forget what he did to her.

The sunset dipped behind the hill that faced the back of the cabin. The hill prevented her from seeing the smithereens that her belongings had become. She started putting out the campfire, stomping on the fried shirts and papery nostalgia.

The clearing in the forest became pitch black. She knew where he hid the spare key—under the flower pot to the left of the front door. She went there with her possessions in hand. She hid the more destroyed clothes, reduced to rubble, in the pipes of his kitchen and bathroom sinks. She hung more of her clothes amongst his fresh ones, and sprinkled his tablecloth with the ashes of burnt photos. Then she left. ▲