The Ashen Embrace-4)

The marriage that at one time made sense was now held together by mere threads. Distant and unrelatable, both contributing members now felt powerless and alone. A wall of anger and resentment James built, pushing Emily to acts of degeneracy she never envisioned herself carrying out. Her hurt was amplified by addiction and she became more lost with each passing day.

And on that night, as she bled out, the quiet cold crept through her quickly. Deaths embrace soothed where insurmountable troubles once flowed freely.

After the spectacle that was her funeral, pregnant with family members laying blame to his face, James relented back to his home. With the children at his mother’s, he found himself weeping and crying out to his maker for answers and for comfort.

Where numbness had resided, he finally let all the pain of the greatest loss he had ever known embrace him. His screams were overtaken by deep, cutting sobs of shame and anger.

His liquid eyes looked slowly from the floor up to the walls surrounding him as flame burst upon them. The orange flames permeated over every square inch of the room, yet they did not engulf James, now on his feet and terrified.

A voice, quiet and deep, became audible, amidst the inferno of swirling flame. “Do you crave another day with her?”

Surrounded by the searing luminescence, James looked around him frantically, unbelieving both his eyes and ears.

The voice spoke again. “I can give you that which you desire. Simply ask of my help and it will be given.”

“God?” James was frozen in fear.

“To some. Do you want to save her?”

James, now reeling and turning in circles. “But how! And from where?”

A moment of ill fated silence fell upon the room and then the flames intensified, churning and burning and laying waste to the walls. “Leave all to me, only at the cost of your soul, my son. You will live a long, long life, oh I will see to that. You have nothing to fear. Just say yes.”

The walls and the ceiling now ash at his feet, James could see vast distance in front of him and all around him. The flames were unending.

And there she was.. mere yards in front of him, on her knees and submerged in fire, his sweet Emily. He called out to her but to no avail. All he heard was the voice wanting him for eternity. “Ask and it shall be given.”

James closed his eyes tightly and then responding with a resounding “Yes!”

In that moment, he was able to run to her, yelling her name. Through the wretched blaze, Emily fixed her eyes in disbelief on him. Not able to articulate normal words, she forcefully whispered, “James?”

He knelt in front of his Emily and wrapped his arms around her, instantly extinguishing all flame that had engulfed her tortured body…

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