Flammable by Lilly Lin

It was a foreign wood she had never seen before. She rubbed it against herself to get a feel for its texture, its splinters peeling against the thin layer of her clothes. She held a lighter to its rough surface and a small flame appeared, and disappeared.

She sat back on a log of familiar wood and surveyed the objects she had. There was a coil of rope, a small, tube-like, and indistinguishable object, a ball of dirtied socks, and a roll of duct tape.

It was cold and dark now and she couldn't feel her legs. There was no one around except her dad out gathering wood. She wanted to tell him she had found one at the campsite; but she wasn't sure it would burn, so she didn't say anything.

She began to roll the log she sat on back and forth, to feel its smooth and silky comfort. There was enough room for five people at least on this one log. She slid along the seat toward the coil of rope on the ground and began to grind it between her fingers. Her eyes strayed to the roll of duct tape and even occasionally to the ball of dirtied socks, but always away from the strange tube-like object near the pit for the fire.

Abruptly she left her log and sat on the stray log she had spotted in the campsite, cradling it between her legs. She suddenly remembered the picture of the pin-up girl on the tent and looked at it once before picking up the rope again and tying knot after knot on it. On a whim she took a light to the rope and burned the end of it. The cheap material frizzed and stung her nose. She let go of it before it burned her fingers.

She picked up the roll of duct tape and ripped out a piece the same way she'd seen it done on T.V.; the sound thundered across the dark campsite. She burned that piece as well, the noxious fumes watering her eyes. She let the blackened residue drop at her feet, near the burnt end of the rope.

Next she picked up the ball of dirtied socks, but dropped it almost immediately, given the foul odour it already had. She flicked her lighter several times before it struck flame and was about to burn the entire pile at her feet when her father came back.

“What are you doing?” He asked.

“Making a fire,” she mumbled, standing up from her log.

He laughed, lowering into the fire pit the kindling he had brought. “Can I have the lighter?”

She handed it over and stood back. He poured some gasoline into the pit and stuck some rolled up newspaper in between the kindling. He looked around once more before lighting and saw the picture of the pin-up girl stuck onto the tent.

“Where did this come from?” He asked.

“I found it in the tent; whoever owned it last must have left it.”

“You found those things in the tent too right?” He gestured at the half-burned objects on the ground, and the sinister tube-like object. “I wonder what they were getting up to in there.”

He took down the picture of the pin-up girl and tossed it into the flame. Her red burlesque outfit and perfect golden curls crinkled in the heat.

“Come on; come inside the tent.” Her father called.

“Aren't we going to eat?” She asked.

“Of course; we'll wait a bit for the fire to settle.”

“I'll stay out here for a bit then.”


She watched the fire burning brilliantly and energetically. She took the foreign wood she had found and threw it into the pit. The imperceptible object stood out in the thin cradle, and it would not burn.

She huddled near the half-burnt objects, now that she had no log to sit on, and picked up the lighter her father had left at the side of the pit. She flicked vigorously at the lighter and held it next to where she sat on the log,     and

Lilly Lin is currently a university student. More of her work can be found at loonunderthemoon.wordpress.com.