The Heat

The following piece was presented at the Jersey City Writers’ monthly genre event–Rendezvous: A Literary Celebration of Historical Romance. Please enjoy.

August 6, 1945

The heat seared the flesh off my back and melted whatever was left. I stood there a living shadow, no eyes, no words to speak, only heat and the knowledge that the war was over. The world had gone up in flames and come down in burning rubble. Would I ever see Yoko again?

The answer, surprisingly, was yes, but we would never be together. I was gone, but in the brilliant flash of radiation I had been blown out of material existence but although I was no longer flesh and blood, a part of me had survived.

I had been standing in front of a full-length faux Louis XV mirror, golden winged cherubs, scrolls, laurel and grape clusters adorning the frame. Now only a blackened piece of glass but what the monstrous technology had destroyed, the mirror had preserved as I stared out from the dark surface of ash onto the only woman I would ever look upon for as long as the glass stayed intact.

Yoko had been frozen in time just as I had; disintegrated and from across the abyss she couldn’t look away either, only stare back at me with blind horror. We were both no more than our own reflections or were she just an illusion in my illusory sight, and what was I to her; a vanished memory of form and shape but in reality only a shade, a two-dimensional shadow that could neither speak or move. Hell was all too real and in this way, I knew love was real too because we would never part and never touch, seeing only what we wanted to see.

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