Marguerite focused.

Am I dead?

A young Russian man, speaking English, the expression of a desire, and then a fire- a dull fire, a tired wall of heat and orange blackness had overtaken her vision.

In her childhood, she’d had a recurring nightmare that she had been caught between a tall fence and a wall, wading through piles of trash, and rolled up carpets that housed ravenous wolves. In the dream, all she wanted to do was to get to the other side of the alleyway with her friends, and she kept falling farther behind.

She woke from the same nightmare, except this time, the alleyway was on fire.

And she didn’t wake up in her own bed.

Now she was somewhere else.


My Dream

For those of us who fancy ourselves writers, a daily prompt, a blog on writing is a valuable tool. Well, the prompt I fished from Tommiastablet encouraged me to include the dream sequence in my writing. My dream was filled with images of smoke and fire. Here is the actual dream:

This is the dream I dreamed as well, except in my dream I’m back in Argentina, stumbling along, thinking no one will harm me in the alleyway, but that my children are in danger. Then, I notice the military. I saw them in Argentina, and I saw soldiers again in Haiti. The UN Blue hat was supposed to make me feel better, but all I saw was a milico with a machine gun, like in that time long ago. In my dream, the milicos were building a fire in the alleyway to cook an asado, a big barbecue.

They say the malaria medicine I’m taking makes you dream vividly. I could smell the smoke in my dream.



A bed. Crisp linen sheets. A window. As she rose, she realized that she had been stripped to her undergarments, and that her bangs though perfumed by some considerate stranger with lavender  still carried the pungent incense of burnt hair. Her coiffing had probably saved her from the balding effects of the fireball. She raised a cautious hand to her eyebrows. burned wiry gappy, and completely missing at the edges.

She recalled that a wise woman once told her that the most politic thing a woman could do is to sew herself a pair of “indecisive underpants” and put them on when she wasn’t sure what to expect. She was grateful she heeded the advice. The underpants had protected her skin, and her virtue, while not making her look too dowdy.


Perhaps, after all, she’d been transported to Virginia.

Today in the news, Tuesday, 4/2/13 (minus forty)

One American, one Canadian.

Today, In Arizona, a man will walk free after serving a 43-year sentence.

Convicted of arson, he claimed innocence all those years.

He will step out onto the streets of Arizona some time today, and be free for the first time since 1970.

In 1970, the US was in its fifth year of a campaign in Vietnam

When the ten helicopters landed this morning, in the midst of these huts, and six men jumped out of each “chopper”, we were firing the moment we hit the ground. We fired into all the huts we could….

It is then that we burned these huts…. Everyone is crying, begging and praying that we don’t separate them and take their husbands and fathers, sons and grandfathers. The women wail and moan.

Then they watch in terror as we burn their homes, personal possessions and food. Yes, we burn all rice and shoot all livestock.”

The rivers of history diverge around great rocks, but they eventually come back together.  In 1971, 800,000 tons of bombs were dropped by the United States on Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam.

No arson, no conviction,

not even a victory.

The fire consumed the young girl’s clothing, travelled up her arms, kissed her tiny cheeks.

Refuge in a temple couldn’t save her. The skin on her arms melted, shrink wrapped against the muscle and bone. Thirty percent of her skin was roasted, and the stench of burning clothing, hair and flesh insulted her nostrils.

She lost consciousness.

Somehow, she survived, and was determined to become a doctor. The Vietnamese government wouldn’t allow it. So she escaped and ended up in Cuba. Scarred, in constant pain and spiritually bankrupt, she finally found meaning,


and a cause.

Now, she works to help the victims of armed conflicts throughout the world.

She has two sons of her own.

Forty years in prison. Not guilty.


Forty years in pain. Innocent.vietnam

Marguerite peeled back the linen sheets and stepped toward the window, modesty prevented her from opening the roller blind, so she peeled back a corner of the Holland linen and peered out.

Nothing was familiar. She was in a city, this was clearly a city. Carriages bustled for position in the cobbled streets. She realized that she was about three stories above the street, and by the look of the traffic, it must be the morning bustle. Right across from her window, a deliveryman fumbled a mirror in front of someone who seemed to be the client. The shards reflected the sun back into Marguerite’s eyes, and she self-consciously retreated from the window.

When she peered out again, the client seemed to be happily paying for the mirror despite the broken frame. The delivery man was refusing the money.


The client was waving, tipping his bowler hat at the clumsy delivery man, who climbed back up into his carriage and led his horse back into the busy stream of traffic.

 From another home in the row, a pair of women appeared, garishly clad in feathers and long sparkling dresses. Performers? The two women were slightly plump and kept poking each other and smacking the arm of the driver.


The sequins on the dress and headpieces of the girls, the shards of glass on the cobblestone, lent to the effect that the world was on fire.



3 thoughts on “Part Two- Persistent Fires (and four blogs)

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