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A New Flame - Chapter Nine - Rising From the Ashes
 By Moose   •   19th Jul 2014   •   1,308 views   •   0 comments
A New Flame

Elijah opened his heavy eyelids, his mind still working to comprehend the loud ringing of the home phone. He reached forward and answered it. “Hello?”

“Elijah?”

His eyes slipped shut for a moment. “Yes,” he replied.

“It’s Liam.” The voice answered. Elijah’s eyes opened again.

“Liam, what happened?” He responded instinctively.

“Jane left. She’s not in her room, I think she tried to go back out there but Flora is still here.” Liam explained quickly, yet softly. “I’m not even going to try to go after her, she doesn’t listen to me. You’re the only one she listens to. She needs you.”

Elijah sighed, “I’ll find her.”

“Thank you, Elijah. And please be careful.”

“I will be.”

Elijah hung up the phone and threw his bed sheets aside. He stepped out of bed and into a pair of blue jeans. After getting dressed, Elijah headed down the stairs. He stumbled towards the front door and began searching for his boots. After losing his balance several times trying to stand on one leg and pull on his boots, Elijah rolled his jeans over the top of his boots. Just as he was about to head out the door, a small figure appeared on the staircase, making him jump. He squinted in the dim light and recognized the figure. “Benjamin,” he whispered. “Go back to bed.”

“Eli, where are you going?” The groggy little boy asked, rubbing his eyes.

“I’m going to Jane’s house,” he replied in a hushed voice. “Don’t follow me, okay buddy? I promise I will be back before you wake up.”

“Okay, you can-you can go.” Benjamin replied with a yawn. “Take care of-of Jane.”

Elijah glanced up at Benjamin’s sleepy figure at the bottom of the stairs. He looked unconscious yet his words were so moving. Elijah’s head began to pound.

“And Eli?”

“Yes, Benjamin.”

“She’s by the tree.”

Chills shot up Elijah’s spine. He froze, trying to comprehend what Benjamin had just told him. Am I dreaming? He asked himself. His blonde eyebrows creased into a frown. “How did you know that?” he asked with wide eyes.

“I had a dream.” Benjamin said softly before turning and heading back up the stairs.

Elijah watched with chills as the little boy climbed back up the stairs and returned to his room, his words still ringing in his head, ‘She’s by the tree’. Of course. Noah’s tree.

Elijah spun around and shut the door behind him. He shoved the keys into the ignition, started the truck, and flicked on the headlights before pulling out of the driveway and heading towards the Kennedy’s farm. He shut off the headlights when he pulled into their driveway. Every light in the house was off.

When Elijah shut off the truck and stepped outside, the sounds of crickets and frogs filled the air. Suddenly, he heard footsteps. Liam appeared.

“Take the horse,” he said abruptly, handing him the reins attached to Aquillo’s bridle. “Do you know the trails?” Liam asked.

“I know exactly where she is,” Elijah replied.

He took the stirrup, slid into the familiar, soft leather of the saddle and bumped the gelding’s sides with his boots. Aquillo broke into a jog, then a canter, then a gallop. Elijah felt the rush of cold air on his face as Aquillo thundered down the path towards Noah’s tree. When he reached the river and slowed to a stop, he noticed the trail change. The trees became bare. They hung over the river like sad, lonely figures in the dark. Gray ashes covered the ground like a blanket of snow. As they crossed the river to the other side, Elijah felt his heart strings pulled. Just hours ago he walked down this trail in awe. The trees stood so tall and proud. They towered over him and seemed to scrape the sky with their magnificent branches. Now all that was left was their weak, broken skeletons.

Aquillo’s ears flicked forward as they reached the clearing. In the mix of ashes and debris, Jane sat alone. Her small body was lit by the blue cast of the moon’s dim light. She was so still. Her knees were drawn into her chest and her blonde head was buried in her hands. Elijah slowly slid down from Aquillo’s back and landed in the ashes next to her.

“Jane,” he whispered.

She looked up at him, her dull eyes filled with tears. “It’s gone,” she said with a broken voice.

“I know it is,” Elijah whispered as he knelt down beside her. She reached forward and wrapped her arms around him, burying her face into his chest. He held her blonde head against his chest and squeezed her tightly. “I’m so sorry, Jane.” he breathed into her ear.

Glancing up, Elijah saw what remained of Noah’s tree. It had been burned to the ground, nothing but a partial stump remained in the center of the once magnificent clearing. Branches buried in ashes were scattered all around the base of the destroyed oak tree. The field that was once so full of life, for once was completely still.

Jane lifted her head and met Elijah’s gaze. “I came here thinking I could somehow fix it, or save a part of it.” She began with a soft voice, barely above a whisper. “But I can’t, it’s gone. And now all I have are the memories.”

Elijah watched Jane turn her head to look back at the what remained of Noah’s tree. He saw pain in her gaze, but he also saw something else.

“I understand now what you said last night when you said that no one can take these memories away from me. When Noah died, I thought all I had left of him was this tree. And when Andrew died, this tree became a place I could visit him again. But those memories will always live inside of me, I don’t need this tree to revisit them.” Jane paused and sighed softly.

“I think I’m ready to move on.” She whispered as she turned to Elijah. “It’s time for me to put out this fire, and start a new flame.”
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