She could feel the heat from the flames on the left side of her body, warming her as if she were sitting next to a bonfire. But instead of that familiar cozy feeling, dread overwhelmed her. It was getting closer now. Fear gripped her body in a tight squeeze that made it hard to breathe.
“What do we have to do?” She turned to the dark figure next to her. His body tensed at the sound of her voice, but he did not meet her gaze. Instead he continued to stare up at the sky.
She followed his gaze but could only see a tiny flicker of light in the darkness above. What time was it? The tiny flicker had to be Nova, the smallest of the four suns. The three other suns were nowhere to be found. Well, that wasn’t entirely true. She turned back toward the source of the flames. She wouldn’t have believed it if she hadn’t seen it herself. They were falling to the earth.
“Aren’t you going to answer me!” She shouted, her anger getting the better of her. “We have to do something!”
He turned to look at her with sad, dark eyes. “I’m so sorry, Amelia. But I think... I think it’s too late.” He ran his long fingers through his hair anxiously. “How can you put the suns back in the sky?”
“No. It can’t be.” Amelia could feel her anger growing steadily inside her. “It can’t. I believe. I believe you!”
“It’s too late. I didn’t find you in time. There’s nothing we can do.”
“No!” She screamed back in his face. “Get out of my way.” She grabbed her sword with one hand and pushed him out of the way with the other. She began running toward the flaming crater.
“Please! Come back!” He yelled after her but she paid him no mind.
She ran until she couldn’t hear his voice shouting over the crackling flame. She ran as hard and as fast as she could with her sword swinging uselessly against her leg. The closer she got to the fallen sun, the hotter and thicker the air became. Every step made it more difficult to breathe. When she finally stopped to catch her breath, her face and lungs felt as though they had been plunged into the fire she had been desperately running toward. She pushed the useless sword away from her now bruised leg and quickly leaned down on her knees in hope of some clean air. A loud noise shot through the air, like a someone had cracked a whip. Still hunched over from lack of clean air, she looked for the source of the noise.
An involuntary scream left her lips as she saw the flaming piece of rock shoot just inches over her head. She let go of her knees and began hitting her head relentlessly to put out the flames that she had yet to feel the full force of. She threw herself onto the ground and rolled away from the heat, all the while screaming and hitting her head like a madwoman.
Her rolling stopped with a thump. She opened her eyes and saw that she had rolled into something solid. She stood up slowly, patting herself to reassure that the flames had indeed left her body. She looked down to see what she had rolled into and instantly wished she hadn’t.
It was the man she had run from, had given up on, just moments before. She felt a twinge of guilt as she looked down at his charred body. The flames had gone out, but the small piece of rock rested in his stomach as if it were a cannonball. He groaned softly. He was still alive. She leaned in closer to hear what was sure to be his last words.
“Remember.” She could just make out the word.
“J...” He sighed out the syllable just as his body went limp. He had passed. She looked up at the sky to blink away her tears. The darkness had ebbed a little but it offered no comfort. The flicker of light was quickly becoming larger. Her body tensed. The last sun was falling.
She woke up with a start. Her heart was racing and her hands were clammy. Where was she? What had she been doing? She looked around her room groggily, taking in the familiar shapes and shadows. It had been just a dream. She took in a deep breath to calm her racing heart but the effort only sent her into a uncontrolable fit of coughing. What was that scent that lingered in her nose?
Catching her breath as best she could, she got out of bed and headed toward the bathroom. A drink of water should do the trick. The young girl cupped the water in her hands and drank whatever didn’t slip through her fingers. Breathing came a little easier as the water trickled down her throat. She cupped the water once more and splashed it onto her face in an attempt to wash the sleepiness away.
It was time to get ready to go. She looked up at the mirror only to find it covered in dark streaks. When was the last time she had cleaned the bathroom mirror? She groaned as she added it to her mental to-do list. It wasn’t until she reached out to wipe the mirror that it occurred to her. She rubbed the sleepiness out of her eyes once more and took another look. The dark streaks were on her face, not the mirror. She looked down to find that her hands were covered as well. In fact, she was completely covered in dirt. She held her hand close to her nose and inhaled. She began to cough uncontrollably once more. The smell was unmistakable now. It was ash. She was covered in ash.