by Carter Lappin
The city where my mother was born is long gone. Even the ambition of chrome and steel wasn’t stronger than the ever-hungry fires that tore across the continent. Nothing was.
I keep a twisted glass shape on a cord around my neck. My mother took it, later, after the flames gorged themselves on her home and moved on to the next. It’s all that remained of the church’s stained-glass window. Her family had stayed there for a while, during the first evacuation wave. But the air was just too hot, and the rain that was supposed to come never did.
The temperatures had been so great that the glass had simply oozed from its frame and eventually, eventually, cooled. The ash had mixed into my mother’s piece thoroughly by then, but there were still sparkles of color to hint at a previous life.
Sometimes, when I sit outside and watch the blue sky my mother hadn’t known when she was my age, I think about that place. The fire wasn’t kind. There’s an environmentalist team stationed there semi-permanently now. Hauling away sundered rubble and ash. Turning destruction into life.
Now, sun shines in its season and rain falls when it should. I live in a city of glass and greenery and never worry that a shift of the wind will turn a hungry wildfire’s attentions toward me. What happened to my mother’s home will never happen again. She, and others like her, made sure of that.
Carter Lappin is a Californian author. She mostly writes science fiction and anything else strange and unusual. Her short stories have appeared in publications such as Air and Nothingness Press, Apparition Lit, Improbable Press, Dreadstone Press, and Parsec Ink. You can find her on Twitter at @CarterLappin.