I don’t know how much longer I can keep her heart from going cold, how much longer I can keep her from the fate we all share. How long it will be until she turns to stone. Nothing more than a statue of of who she once was.
I hold her every chance I get. And pray the heat of the molten rock inside my shell reaches her, and warms her, so I may have one more day with her. One more day.
The first time I felt her growing cold was the day her father turned to stone. The day the last glimpse of heat left his eyes, and all the flames of life flickered out, and faded from his surface, leaving nothing save the granite he once lived within.
That day was fatal to her. It was the start of her own freeze. The beginning of her surrender to death. To the cold.
It was slow, so slow. I didn’t know what to do. How to you speak of such a thing with the one you love? How do you keep them warm? How do you convince them to keep their fire burning?
When our daughter left home, to find a life of her own, it weakened her further, and the cold grew. I could feel her heat fading daily.
I took time off of work, and took her everywhere she’d ever wished to go. To the top of the mountains. To see the mothers of us all, the volcanoes. Where our people were first born, in fire, and heat, filled with life, and lust to see the world, so many centuries ago. She cried. She walked in their fire, waded in their pools of molten rock, their streams of lava. For a time she was warmer.
But it didn’t last. Once we returned home, to our place here in the caverns, in the dark, the only light being the light of our inner fires, she spoke with me, for the first time.
“I grow cold, my love.” A molten tear flowed from her eye, down her perfect cheek. “I grow cold.”
“I know.” What more had there been to say? “I’ve known for a while now.”
“I will gather what heat I can. So I may stay with you.” Small flames flickered, and raced along her surface. “I would stay with you as long as I can.”
“I would stay with you forever, my love.”
She smiled. I had always loved her smile. She always brought warmth to me. Heat. That raced along every surface of me. Flames that flickered on the surface of the molten rock that were my eyes. “I know.” She placed her hand on my cheek, and I felt a hint of warmth in her fingers I hadn’t felt in ages. “I will last as long as I can.”
In the years since then, she has slowed. Now, most days, she sits. Motionless. And watches the sun, basking in its heat, resting her feet in the lava stream that flows along the edge of our back yard.
Now, most days, I cry, for I know it is only a question of time, now. Many nights I don’t sleep, standing with her by the stream, my arms wrapped around her, as I desperately try to breathe my warmth into her.
But I know the day will come when the last of the fire in her fades. And she follows her father beyond the veil of this life. And all I will have left of her is a cold, stone statue.
This is written for Week 73 of Miranda Kate‘s Mid-Week Challenge. You can read about Miranda’s small fiction challenge here. Please, go read Miranda’s short tale this week, and any others that showed up. The tales are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed. And many of them are amazing.