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Le Feu

Ella Crosby

Isobelle Carmody Award

for Creative Writing

Highly Commended

Nothing is not peaceful, its blinding; blank white floor, walls, ceiling;

a perfect cube, four metres by four metres, my worst nightmare.

Because in here there is nothing but me and my thoughts. I might

have been in here for minutes or hours, years or a century. Time blurs

into an endless mass of shadowy numbers, drifting and lost in the

abyss of my mind. Though I am nothing, I have learnt something;

Hell does not burn.

Hell is not cold.

Hell is empty.

Memories come in glimpses and flashes, sounds and scents, lost as

soon as I try to focus on them.

Flickering light,

The crunch of straw underfoot,

The crisp smell of fresh cut grass,

A burnt sugar taste invading my mouth,

Then a rush of pain, sudden and violent.

I’m shaking now, pressed to the floor. A bright drop of blood gives me

comfort, a shock of red in this immaculate, snowy-white space. My

nails leave pale half-moons on my palms. The pain is good, it means

I’m still here. But am I still alive? Was I ever?

‘Who am I?’ I beg my identity of the empty walls, but they are

merciless. I glare at them; they taunt me with their steadiness. I

want only a name, a picture, something, anything to reassure myself

that I exist.

I look at my hands, petite and pale, nothing like his. His were

always tanned and strong, and always moving, weaving and tying;

never idle.

Something burning,

Someone screaming.

Tears track cool trails down my cheeks.

‘Go, please, I am lost, but there is still hope for you. Please’

‘Never.’ a whispered promise I am forced to break.

Staggering now, I struggle to make sense of it. It was the straw, those

new bales, ready to be turned into marvellous sculptures. The fire

burned; too fast, too bright, too hot, and he burned with it.