Story by Gregory M. Fox
from A Breath of Fiction’s archives
* * *
The sudden flash in the heavy blackness caught her eye like a shooting star.
She made a wish. It was a sort of morbid tradition she had.
Her father had been a smoker and a drinker. She was six when he first burned her with a cigarette. Sometimes she still saw that smouldering prick of fire and ash coming toward her face, and since then, the pain of her burns would return whenever she came anywhere near fire or smoke.
At sixteen, she had been driving at night for the first time. Her father was in the passenger seat yelling about something. She wanted him to stop—stop shouting, stop hurting her, stop making her miserable.
Then—a flash of orange cinders
She had never seen a cigarette thrown from a car window before. It flew at the windshield, and in a flash of sparks she smelled tobacco and burning flesh, and felt her scars ache.
her father shouted
and she was just wishing he would stop
and they were flying
Then all was still. And quiet. Just her breathing and … nothing else.
Now she wishes on cigarette butts. Because of guilt. And maybe hope.