Hello all! I’m not going to even try to excuse my absence, I’ve just been very busy. But never mind that, today I have a short story that I’d like to share with you, yay! I actually wrote this for my English class and got an A on it!
The Ashes of a Fallen Phoenix
The first one came on a foggy January morning. Ashley Ravel stepped out of her house into the biting, cold air, watching her breath billow up. As she strolled past her dirty mailbox, a hint of white stole her attention, glowing against the grime.
It was a plain envelope with no writing. But since she was late for work this particular morning, Ashley didn’t think much of it and stuffed the curious letter into her purse.
She rushed into the office, already bustling with the life of journalists and their stories ready to hit the papers. Her boss and editor in chief, Mr. Bacot, was stepping out of one of the many offices that lined the hall when he caught sight of her, “‘Morning, Ash!” He greeted her by her commonly used nickname. His fat, amiable face was a stark contrast to Ash’s stern, thin one and his overall cheerful atmosphere toned out her dark presence. He flashed a jolly smile and waved a fat hand at passing coworkers as he fell into step with her hurried one, “I heard last night’s bonfire was great, did you go?”
Ash gave him a small smile, “No, I went to sleep after I sent you the article.” Her voice was strong, despite her lanky, feeble appearance. Ashley didn’t have the ideal look for the top journalist spot she held, but her dedication made up for everything. Though many would call her dedication an obsession because she did nothing else, ignoring any attempted friendships from others.
Mr. Bacot felt the familiar shiver run down his spine as he looked into the empty pool of her dark eyes, “Thought so. But, Ash, when’s the last time you went out and had some fun?” He sighed, following her into her office.
She thought carefully, setting down her bag. Then she shook her head slowly, “Work’s everything I’ll ever need, so why should I go out?”
Mr. Bacot shuddered at her cold words and vacant, tight-lipped smile, knowing she meant it. Quietly, he backed out, leaving her alone- just the way she liked it. Ash took no notice of his leave, instead pulling her laptop out of her bag, along with a white letter. It dropped heavily to the ground and waited patiently, as if asking to be opened.
Ash stared curiously, and slowly, she picked it up, feeling a cold rush run through her arm. She clumsily tore open the note as her ears began to ring, drowning out the buzz of the outside world. Her fingers shook as she drew out a folded sheet of paper.
Her entire body froze as the paper unfolded. Random phrases “Victims of a hit-and-run”, “Off the edge”, and “There were five” swam in front of her eyes, but she was unable to clearly process their meaning. At the bottom of the page, there were three words that struck fear into Ashley’s once unmoving heart.
“It was you.”
These words were the only ones written by hand while the rest were cut from what seemed to be a newspaper. They were scrawled out by an erratic hand, making each letter waver unsteadily
Ash stood up quickly, grabbing the letter with a nervous hand, crumpling the paper in a tight fist. She bolted out the door to her car. Speeding out of the parking lot and to her house, Ash slammed the front door shut as she locked herself in her room.
Something about the letter scared her, making her shake as she stared at the fist that held the note. She could still see the words, still hear them in her head, echoing.
You did it. You did it. You did it.
Did what though? The words opened something that Ash had buried deep within herself, so deep she’d forgotten what it was. But the letter brought past feelings back, a flood of fear, terror, and… guilt? This had something to do with her forgotten past, she knew that much.
Ash flung the letter against the beige bedroom wall as the terrifying feelings swelled up, making her crawl pathetically under her sheets like a child. Eventually, she was asleep, exhausted by her fears. But sleep was not an escape for it brought nightmares.
All around her, she heard screeches of tires on a pavement and flying glass surround her, cutting open her ghostly pale skin. Yet blood only flooded from her hands, dripping onto a black floor. Ash jolted awake with the sounds of screaming in her ears.
She was sitting in the armchair in her living room now and the light of a new day seeped through the heavy curtains. Slowly, Ash stood up, confusion settling in as she looked around her living room. Then her mind began to thaw and a second later, Ash was frantically running out towards her mailbox. She saw another white envelope and grabbed at it, tearing through to the paper inside.
It was just like the last, but with different clippings, “Died instantly” and “Dropped” were the only phrases taped to the paper. But again, at the bottom, the same words were written in the same, shaky writing, “You did it.”
She rushed back inside to her room and opened the first crumpled letter, scanning the clippings while trying to ignore the cryptic three words at the bottom. Then fear kicked in, making her abandon the letters.
The rest of her day was spent avoiding calls from work and in restless fits of sleep, with her waking up, stifling screams as images of a child stared at her with blood running down its small body.
The week dragged by and the only thing Ash did was retrieve each new letter every day. They always came, without fail, never missing a day, and with the same three words at the end. Ash would stay up, watching the mailbox, hoping to see the deliverer of the letters, but would always fall asleep, missing the chance. Then she would wake up, sweating and screaming, in another place of her house.
Mr. Bacot called several times and left several messages. Subsequently, he stopped, and the last message was to inform her that she’d been replaced. But Ash felt nothing for she’d devoted all her time to the letters, each one with new clippings taped to them and the same words at the bottom. Every time she looked at the papers, a shocking yank of guilt pulled at her heart, making her whimper.
She hadn’t showered or eaten for days but she didn’t care. Her entire life was now focused on the letters, piecing together the words. But they made no sense.
Suddenly, the letters stopped.
January 25th. That’s when it all stopped, but why? As she sat, anger rose up within her body, making her crush all the scraps in her hands and fly to the nearest trashcan. Just as she was about to fling the scraps into the can, she saw a newspaper. A cut up newspaper.
Dropping everything, she pulled the paper out, feeling her blood run cold.
Ash dropped to her knees with a crack and frantically pieced everything together. What she discovered was an article. Her heart beat faster as she read the story, the story of a hit and run accident. The story of how a reckless driver killed an entire family of five, on this very day, two years ago. The driver was never found, but Ash knew.
Her dreams now made sense. It was her who’d hit the family’s car driving on the side of a mountain. The family flung off the edge, screaming, and died hitting the bottom of the ravine. Newfound memories rushed back in a hideous blur, making her shriek while pulling her hair. She saw herself driving carelessly fast, then she heard a crash. Her memories revealed a wrecked car flying over the side of a road. Ash survived and was well enough to speed away, never looking back.
But now her guilt was coming back to haunt her. She was the one who had written the notes, she was the one who had cut the newspaper, and she was the deliverer of the letters, sending them in her sleep.
Ash finished reading the article before flying out of her house. With patches of hair ripped out and her body looking starved and hollow, Ash looked insane, but she didn’t care.
She ran all the way to the cemetery, knowing exactly where they were buried and fell with her nose touching the grass in front of the first gravestone. Tears streamed down her face as she hiccuped loudly.
“I’m sorry,” She begged with all she had, for it was all she could do now, “I’m so sorry.”
Ash stayed there, on her knees, moaning and crying pitifully in front of the gravestone of the youngest child she had killed- Phoenix Silva.
I hoped you all liked it, I’m guessing my English teacher did considering my grade…