The darkness lay heavy, wrapping around his throat like a silky scarf.


The word cremate actually scares me a little bit. It sounds so much more intense than the other fire words (inflammatory, incendiary, combustible, etc.), and its meaning is unpleasant. Being a visual reader, whenever I read this word, horrible images flood my mind. I’ve tried to morph cremate’s horrible connotation into something new. I hope you enjoy! Thank you!

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Ode to Pears and Apples

Cremate (v): to burn

The darkness lay heavy, wrapping around his throat like a silky scarf.

Exhaling, he released a cloud of bitter ash. For a moment, the dust twisted into brooding, menacing figures. In the next, they had already dissolved away.

He had brought the painting out with him. All wispy lines and delicate colors. There was nothing bold or surprising about it. The swirling textures of the fruit still lay between the planes of imagination and illusion despite his best efforts to make them reality.

Was he supposed to be proud of this?

The gleaming blue ribbon hung from the top right hand side of the oil painting. It mocked him, waving in the capricious breeze like a flag of surrender.

He roughly ripped it off, discarding it to the grimy, cracked sidewalk below him.

This was not the kind of art he wanted to do.

He wanted something bold.

Something inspiring.

Something surprising.

He wanted to forge into existence something no one else could see. He wanted to test the limits of human imagination and his own capabilities.

He knew what he wanted his art to be. He just wasn’t quite there yet. He could only be happy with any acclamation once he knew it was the best.

This was not the best.

The painting fell to the ground in a haze of smoke.

The flickering embers of the cigarette twisted through the painting like a demon of fire in the twilight.

He heard the voice of his father in the charred cinders of the black lump that was once his painting.


Jin reached for another cigarette.

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