She sat in the darkening night, shivering. It was summer and the nights were not full cold, but it wasn’t the night was the cause. It was the rising flames which stroked her cheeks, warmed her arms and chest, brushed over her hair. It was the scent of wood smoke in the surrounding air, not quite covering the darker spice of charred flesh.
Even in the bright light of the centre fire, she could see the shadow of her husband’s body. Here was the source of the shivers, this lost man whose spirit moved flame and smoke to reach out to her again. How could she leave when he called to her so?
They had tried, her sisters, to bring her back to her empty hut. They thought she should leave the tending to the flames in the hands of his brothers, should carry out her mourning from a distance. He kept her there though, through all their protests, until they had given her up, left her to her vigil. Even the brothers had stopped their sideways glances, paying her no mind as they sat on the other side of the flames and passed a bottle between them.
Only her husband cared that she was still there. Teasing, touching and taunting her from the flames and smoke. Each moment, each shivered response pulled on her, drew her from her seat on the ground, closer to him.
A breath of smoke, a caress of flame, and she was at his side once more.
BD WILSON is a writer and Web page developer from
"I recently joined an online writing group http://community.livejournal.com/nanoljers/ that presented the challenge to write a piece based on the word ‘Pyre’. While thinking of the image of the flames, I began wondering what would happen if someone was unable to let go, and the two concepts became Devotion."