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You're sitting in your parents' old corvette (if you had bothered to check, you'd know it was older than you), flicking your eyes between a lighter in one hand, and a box of matches in the other.  You forget when fire became such a need, a distraction.  

Spencer is right beside you in the car, his fingers stroking idly at your forearm, watching you with hooded green eyes.  

"If you want to die," he says, "then just kill yourself, but do it with style."

Pause.  Rewind.

You met The Boy Under the Sycamore Tree when you were four.  Your mom encouraged you to go see the lonely boy, and when you first went over to him, he ignored you.  The Boy Under the Tree, that's what you called him for the first day you knew him, was a little older than you with dark hair and smoky green eyes.  

With encouraging looks from your folks, you walked right next to him and sat down, pressing your back against the tree's rough trunk.  The tree boy had his nose pressed in a book, not something like Doctor Seuss, no, more like Lord of the Rings.

"Hi," you said, getting no response from the other boy.  "Hey," you tried again, your four-year-old patience wearing thin.  If he was going to ignore you, you weren't even going to try.

The next day, you went back to the sycamore tree and the boy was there again.  That time, he looked at you, and a bedazzling smile graced his lips.

"I'm Spencer," he said, taking short steps so his long fingers could grab yours.  You got on your toes and whispered, giggling nonetheless, your name in his ear.  He smiled.

Pause.  Fast forward.

"Humans aren't good at letting go," Spencer says, "they don't understand why things happen, so they can't let go.  But we all die."

The matches feel heavy in your hand, like a weight, something tangible tethering you to this planet.  You'd do anything to let go.

The day has been more than forgettable.  It's always the same routine.  Wake up, eat, school, work, run, eat (maybe), sleep.  Rinse and repeat.

"You are just a product of your people.  You aren't just yourself.  There's always someone who impacts you.  That's why people are all so different," Spencer says, fingers still stroking at your forearm.  "People burn out.  They get too bright and then they're just gone," he snaps, "like that."

"Some people just fade away," you say.

"Yeah," he whispers, "but it's better to burn out than to fade away."

You watch as his hair falls over his eyes, and hope for the best.  It can only get better for you from here on out.

Pause.  Rewind.

There was a week when you were young where Spencer was just gone, and you didn't know what to do.  You were nine at the most, and didn't understand where he had gone because one minute he was there, and then all you can remember is the smell of smoke hugging the air.

Behind your eyes, orange and yellow flashed and you could feel a burning heat against your skin; then, you blacked out.  The next thing you remembered was waking up against a sycamore tree and not seeing Spencer for a week while his family was still around.

The first day Spencer had been missing, you went to his house and asked where he was.  Spencer's parents wouldn't look at you.

Pause.  Fast forward.

"We should go somewhere, anywhere, escape for a little while," Spencer says, wringing his fingers together.  "I don't like just sitting here.  We're just wasting away here."

"Poetic fiction," you say "is a wonderful thing if you know how to use it.  We can go anywhere without leaving."

You look down at the lighter that your fingers still cover, and smile, knowing exactly where to go.

You flick the lighter closed, and drive.  Pedal to the metal you think, move fast, move out, and leave.  Spencer is looking at you, his eyes hooded, surrounded by dark circles and pale skin.  His gaze is calculating, but he hasn't complained about the change in scenery yet, so you figure he'll be okay.  He's never not okay.

You drive to a small family barn on the outer edge of you little town, and let the car idle for a moment as you turn to Spencer.

"I'm searching for my next disaster," you say.  "I'm on a sinking ship, and I don't want to go down alone."

"Then why are we here, what's a barn gonna change?"

"This will be my ticket out of here, my escape."

Spencer just nods.

Pause.  Rewind.

Before Spencer disappeared, you stayed at his house a few times.  It was always weird, being in the house, seeing the place as little more than a maze.  Back then you weren't used to the world, the way it worked.

One night, you couldn't sleep so you crawled down from your place on Spencer's bed, he was always nice enough to give you his bed, and shook him awake.  

"I can't sleep," you said as you slid into his sleeping bag.  "Any chance you'll tell me a story?"

"You know I can't tell good stories," he said as he rubbed the sleep out of his eyes.

"Then let's tell secrets," you whispered.  "You go and then I'll go, and then you go and we keep doing that until one of us falls back asleep."

"Fine."

"Who should go first?"

You ran your fingers along the bottom of the sleeping bag until you found Spencer's hand.

"How about you tell me your biggest fear?" you asked.

Spencer smiled softly, fear glowing in his eyes.

"Fire.  Burning candles that burn down a house on accident. The idea that a human life is oh so tangible."

Pause.  Fast forward.

Spencer's fingers are intertwined with yours as you flick the lighter open and closed next to the old barn.  You want to set this place up in flames, destroy it the way the world has destroyed you since you were young, but you can't seem to do that just yet.

It's not that you're afraid; you've done this before, you have, it's just that with Spencer there, the circumstances are different.  He has to see this, to watch what he's most afraid of.  You've done that, many times, and it won't be the last, so Spencer should watch this.  That's how you rationalize it at least.

"People will get hurt," Spencer says,  "they'll get hurt and what about their families?"

This is the first time you've heard Spencer care about other people in a situation.  He cares, he'd just rather look out for himself than for everyone else.

"We all die," you deadpan.  "They'll die anyway, I'm just speeding up the process."

Spencer's eyes widen and he just looks at you, calculating as always.

"I'll live forever," you whisper, "if I do this, I'll never die."

You know your voice is shaking.  It's not that you want to be infamous; you just don't want to go out as no one.  You need people to know your name, you always have.

"You'll live forever, but you won't be around to see it," Spencer says, voice laced with ice.  You can see his veins underneath his pale skin.  Something's different with Spencer, something has been different with him, but you can't quite see what it is.  "You just repeat everything don't you?" Spence says as he stalks away.

You stare at him, confused.

Pause. Rewind.

Fire, you remember Spencer always saying he was afraid of it.  Your fingers clutch at the matches that are sitting softly in your hand.

The smoke surrounded you, grey clouds of ash that cause heaving coughs when you took anything that seemed like a deep breath.

Spencer's house was in flames in front of you, and you started the fire.  From outside the house, you could hear yelling and feet pounding down the stairs.  Spencer's mom had the door open, and was ushering three kids down the same.  It took moments before you realized Spencer was missing from the pack.  Spencer's mom noticed too late.

In the distance, you could hear sirens blaring, and could see red and yellow flashing, speeding towards you.  You panicked, and ran, feet thumping on the ground as you ran, not quite knowing where.  You didn't have anybody waiting for you back home, so you ran to the place you found most comforting.

The sycamore tree.

When you sat down, you passed the box of matches between your hands, not knowing what else to do.  You felt jittery, but at the same time, languid and relaxed.  Your muscles had been trembled at the thought of what you had done.  

Pause.  Fast forward.

You watch the barn go up in flames from a distance as you slowly walked back to your car, to find Spencer sitting on the hood.  He looks tired, and you can still see the veins in his arms, but he doesn't say anything.  You don't expect him to.

When you open your door, he jumps into the car, and looks at you.  You leave the barn and the flames behind you, and just drive again.

"You know what happened," Spencer says, "and you still repeat history."

"Am I going crazy?"

"No, you just needed someone around, and I happened to be free."

"Spencer, YOU'RE dead, gone, not alive.  How am I not crazy?"

"Because," you turn your head towards Spencer as he speaks, "this is real to you, and they say that's all that'll matter in the end."

You're distracted, eyes not on the road, so there's no way you could see the turn in the road.  Or the rocks that block the cliffs edge from being the edge of the road.  A car is too fast to stop before you hit especially without notice, and, suddenly, the car is in flames.

Spence smiles, "You're stuck with me now."

You never really took burning out literally.  You were wrong.  Because now, you're up in flames.

This is the end, you think.
Ummm... So this is my entry for :iconteenage-writers: Christmas and new years contest, if they'll take it. If not, it follows all the prompts it asked for.

So, here we go, the prompts I chose were...

Beginnings
First Steps
Endings
Afterlife
and Closure


Uh... they were all hit at some point or another.

Also, the challenge I used was

Use a well-known quote in your piece (if it's not particularly famous you may want to give information in your author's comments) without having a character just recite it (recite as in "here's a quote I heard somewhere, blah blah blah," working it into general dialogue is fine).

The quote I used was if you don't know it, I used a quote made especially famous by Kurt Cobain's suicide note (if you don't follow music, or weren't alive then, you may not know the quote.

"It's better to burn out than to fade away"

And this clocks out at... 1684 words
Add a Comment:
 

Daily Deviation

Given 2013-07-27
Burning Out, and Falling Fast is by ~russetwolf1. Says the suggester, the unchronological way in which it is told simply adds to its power. ( Suggested by GuinevereToGwen and Featured by Nichrysalis )
:iconunluckyamulet:
UnluckyAmulet Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
I love this. The relationship between the girl and Spencer, the motifs of fire, the little details like the sycamore tree and the old corvette. Amazing work!
Reply
:iconbeaversatemygrandma:
BeaversAteMyGrandma Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2013  Student General Artist
This was just amazing! I was instantly taken into the story, i loved it. And the ending really got me, that was unexpected. :D 
Reply
:iconrhaessus:
rhaessus Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2013
you shall burn out
Reply
:iconrhaessus:
rhaessus Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2013
arsonist was never been this beautiful
Reply
:iconwesleyblakereese:
WesleyBlakeReese Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2013
Aaaaand I'm dead.
Reply
:iconfedoraforahalo:
FedoraforaHalo Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2013
Nice job :) The telling of the current story and that past really keeps it suspenseful, and the Kurt Cobain quote is a great touch :)
Reply
:iconmissdudette:
MissDudette Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2013
:clap:
Reply
:iconskygazing:
skygazing Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2013
love this :heart: 
nice work~

its one of those pieces that don't make sense until
the end & all the pieces just fall together beautifully 
:love:
Reply
:iconschneefuechsin:
Schneefuechsin Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
:iconcongratsddplz:
Reply
:iconsimplysilent:
SimplySilent Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2013
:heart: Congrats on the DD! :clap:
Reply
:iconrookanga1945:
Rookanga1945 Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2013  Hobbyist
This piece was so beautiful.
Reply
:iconreflexively:
reflexively Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
congrats on the DD!

your tone and language in this is absolutely stunning
Reply
:iconfauxal:
fauxal Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2013
beautiful
Reply
:iconhiland-rose:
Hiland-Rose Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2013  Professional Artisan Crafter

Just a note, the quote was made famous about twenty some odd years before Mr. Cobain used it... If you listen to Def Leopard, they use it _(I believe as part of the song Rocket), I haven't listened to them in a while, but check out their Vault CD it's on there (a collection of their most popular songs).  They got it from somewhere else too.  You may want to research the phrase a little better before you cite it for the contest just to be sure....

 

It was an interesting piece, good luck.

Reply
:iconxlntwtch:
xlntwtch Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2013   Writer
:+fav: Good story. Thank you.
Reply
:iconpizzapotatonbacon:
PizzaPotatoNBacon Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2013  Student General Artist
Very, very powerful. The DD description is right about the unchronological form it takes- just amazing. The plot is pretty interesting, with a lovely twist at the end. The mood and the wording is also fantastic.
Reply
:iconlintu47:
lintu47 Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
    Congrats on the DD! :dalove:
    Have a nice day! :heart:
Reply
:icongoats:
goats Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2013
Oh, and was the character a guy or a girl? I never really thought that. But then I saw your past comments down below.
I saw the character as a guy 
Reply
:iconarb-deviantart:
arb-deviantart Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2013
The character seems a girl to me. Just the way the narrative flows suggests that to me. Also, the part where he/she gets into Spencer's sleeping bag is almost conclusive.
Reply
:icongoats:
goats Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2013
I dunno, the way everything was just screamed guy to me. Plus I wouldnt be surprised, she has a few guyxguy stories in there.
Either way though, I thought this was an amazing piece, and I wouldnt like it any less if the character did turn out to be a girl
Reply
:icongoats:
goats Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2013
wow this was amazingly powerful. great job  
Reply
:iconjeffreyrebowlski:
JeffreyRebowlski Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Its kind of a Donny Darko time warp thingy
Reply
:iconhakurenchi:
Hakurenchi Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I may have missed something, I didn't quite catch why she set his house on fire. Was it on purpose or was she just playing around?
Reply
:iconyukai-yami:
Yukai-yami Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2013
Whoa...Just...whoa. I wish I had better words but, damn, this thing is really good! I just clicked on this and started reading out of curiosity, and now I'm super glad I did ^^ I hope you won the contest! (adds to faves)
Reply
:iconskeletonsbasements:
SkeletonsBasements Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Wow that is so incredible. I didn't realize he was a ghost until she said so, and the crash at the end was startling and so..real. Accurate to this story, great writing :)
Reply
:iconguineveretogwen:
GuinevereToGwen Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2012  Student Writer
So, so good. I was so surprised, at the end. Great job!
Reply
:iconrussetwolf1:
russetwolf1 Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2012  Student Writer
Thank you! And being surprised ny the Spencer thing right?
Reply
:iconguineveretogwen:
GuinevereToGwen Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2012  Student Writer
Yes, definitely. I love being surprised (as long as it's not a bad surprise...)
Reply
:icontreo-legigeo:
Treo-LeGigeo Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2012   Writer
Oh wow, I love this. I love the ambiguity, and the second person worked really well. The format the story was told in was great and so was the ending. The impact of this piece is amazing.

I did spot one mistake. "Spencer says ringing his fingers together," should probably be "Spence says, wringing his fingers together."
Reply
:iconrussetwolf1:
russetwolf1 Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2012  Student Writer
I fixed that one spot. My spelling is pretty atrocious most of the time.

But I'm glad you like this. I was kind of going for mystery and I guess it payed off. If you're willing to not pick it apart persay, but see if there is anything else that could be changed, I would owe you greatly.
Reply
:icontreo-legigeo:
Treo-LeGigeo Featured By Owner Feb 24, 2012   Writer
Sure. Just give me some time (I just got back from camp, which is why I took so long to respond, sorry) and I'll write up some critique. Would you like it here as a comment or would you like me to send it as a note?
Reply
:iconrussetwolf1:
russetwolf1 Featured By Owner Feb 24, 2012  Student Writer
yeah, okay, and it doesn't matter, whichever is more convineint to you.
Reply
:icontreo-legigeo:
Treo-LeGigeo Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2012   Writer
A few times, I found you tended to overuse commas. Too many commas can make the flow awkward. "You're sitting in your parents' old corvette (if you had bothered to check, you'd know it was older than you), flicking your eyes between a lighter in one hand, and a box of matches in the other. in which the last comas isn't needed. "You're sitting in your parents' old corvette (if you had bothered to check, you'd know it was older than you), flicking your eyes between a lighter in one hand and a box of matches in the other." Same with "Your mom encouraged you to go see the lonely boy, and when you first went over to him, he ignored you.", "Your mom encouraged you to go see the lonely boy, and when you first went over to him he ignored you." Just a few examples, there were cases all through the story. But this is a rather minor point, I still loved the story as it is.

A few sentences I thought could be improved dramatically by elimination a few words. Like, "Spencer is right beside you in the car, his fingers stroking idly at your forearm, watching you with hooded green eyes.", "Spencer is beside you, fingers stroking idly at your forearm, watching you with hooded green eyes." The matches feel heavy in your hand, like a weight, something tangible tethering you to this planet. You'd do anything to let go., that could just be a metaphor, "The matches feel heavy in your hand, a weight, something tangible tethering you to this planet. You'd do anything to let go." And the things about Spencer "stroking at your forearm" could just be "stroking your forearm." Just suggestions, and just my personal preference. There were a few more cases through the story.

A mistake I think was in this sentence, "Fire. Burning candles that burn down a house on accident. The idea that a human life is oh so tangible." Should be "by accident," not "on accident."

In The Boy Under the Tree, that's what you called him for the first day you knew him, was a little older than you with dark hair and smoky green eyes., the comma isn't the right punctuation mark. Should be "The Boy Under the Tree - that's what you called him for the first day you knew him - was a little older than you with dark hair and smoky green eyes."


Yeah, so, that's what comes to mind. Still, great job.
Reply
:iconrussetwolf1:
russetwolf1 Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2012  Student Writer
Thank you.
Reply
:iconhomewinggamer:
HomeWingGamer Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2012
Looks like Spencer needs a Moirail
Reply
:icongoldenwing57:
goldenwing57 Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I kind of like how you made Spencer and me burn up in the car at the end. It's a bit ironic.

Of course, you picked the dark prompts. I kind of want to cry, now.
Reply
:iconrussetwolf1:
russetwolf1 Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2012  Student Writer
It starts with fire, so it has to end with fire, I liked the irony. I also like that I played Spencer as a ghost for the role. It was slightly intriguing. Because if Spence is dead, then maybe the main character is suicidal, and this crash wasn't accidental you know?

And I made them dark, the could have really been anything.

Quick question, when you read this, did you see the you character as a male or female character?
Reply
:icongoldenwing57:
goldenwing57 Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Greeeaat.
Reply
:iconrussetwolf1:
russetwolf1 Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2012  Student Writer
Quick question, when you read this, did you see the you character as a male or female character?

You didn't answer the question.
Reply
:icongoldenwing57:
goldenwing57 Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Girl.
Reply
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