The Eternal Flame
There is an eternal flame that burns below every home. Like any fire, it can grow out of control. It can spread through your home and destroy everything you once admired. The following is a true story: The tragedy of the eternal flame that left one young man horrendously scarred. Now, the protagonist of this story would like some privacy as he recovers, so his name has been scrambled to maintain anonymity. Yrag was a lot like you: Young, hot, and overly optimistic about his future. He wasn’t even aware of the eternal flame burning in his house. That fire only rages once a year. Usually, he was at school when this happened—however, the pandemic left Yrag without any means of escape. We all know the dangers of fire, but Yrag has learned the most dangerous situation is when a flame hasn’t been tended to in a long while. For the weak of heart, stop now. Forget this article and live a happy, ignorant life. I won’t blame you. For those who are too curious to leave this tale be, you have been warned… Tick. The clocks flip to midnight. October 23. The house is silent. Friday begins like any other. Yrag lays asleep motionless in his bed and his parents in the neighboring bedroom listen to CNN reruns. But the eternal flame is raging beneath his home. CLANG! Yrag is startled out of his slumber. What. Was. That? Bewildered and anxious, he turns to the shared wall, his parents in the next room over. His ears perk up. The flame rises through the basement floor. Whispers faintly seep through the walls. “You dropped the remote again, honey.” The flames take over the basement and begin to spread below Yrag’s parents’ bedroom. Yrag groans to himself and turns over, hoping to return to slumber, unaware the fire has reached his parents’ bed. The house falls still. Yrag can’t quite place what’s off, but everything feels suddenly audible but also completely and utterly frozen. The fire engulfs Yrag’s father first, next his mother. And though traditional fires can be extinguished by water, this is no traditional fire. There is only one way to settle an eternal flame. Creak. Yrag’s ears perk once more. Hmmm? What’s going on? Creak. Wait. Is that? Creak... Creak. No. Are they?. Creak Creak. No no no no no. Creak Creak Creak Creak Creak... $%@# No! The sound seeps through the walls, underneath the floorboards, out the windows. Thumping begins to follow. It’s just the furnace? Yrag’s globe near the adjacent wall begins to jiggle. ...Nope... That’s a headboard. Yrag attempts to smother himself with one of his pillows. Maybe I can just die? There was no stopping it. His parents’ are tending to their eternal flame... When the shaking subsides, silence returns once again, but Yrag's home is now burned, accentuated by a final whisper of “Happy Anniversary” seeping under the door. Maybe Yrag should have taken their offer to live in the basement. But then he would give up his great Tempurpedic mattress. Plus, he swears there is some sort of demon living behind the water boiler. However, a few inconvenient crossings with a poltergeist seem like nothing compared to the bumping of uglies happening between his parents. Take this story as a cautionary tale. For all those who feel safe in their own homes, know there is an eternal flame just waiting to engulf your family. So be careful, buy earplugs, and move out as soon as possible. You’ve been warned... Gary Simons is a senior in the College majoring in Psychology, Computer Science, and Film and Media Studies.