The only item left was the thirteenth one on the list, of course. It started to rain. She ducked under the nearest tree bough and pondered leaving it undone. “I’ll only have to do it tomorrow if I don’t finish,” she instructed herself. The rain pelted her scalp through the leaves. She shivered. Things could wait. She chose the path that involved a dash home and leaving the list incomplete.
Halfway through the park the earth heaved slightly, as though something blanketed beneath it were rolling over. The air shimmied. She ran nimbly, dodging puddles, ignoring how the rain seemed to arc towards her face.
The front door groaned shut behind her. She dragged into the living room. The list itched in her palm so she dropped it.
She built a large fire. Damp clothing littered the floor, indiscriminately tossed. She added herself to the mess. The rain continued to claw down the window beneath clouds that howled violence.
The list lay discarded on the rug. Raindrops had feathered the ink in key places but she could still see the number thirteen unchecked, glaring at her. She turned back towards the fire. The list curled in on itself.
It was the crackling that awoke her. She was in the middle of a divine red blossom. Petals danced in the heat and orange pollen was spit up the walls. The list floated overhead, just out of reach but easy to read.
It was then it dawned on her that she didn’t have a fireplace.
- Corinne Simpson