Alright, I’ve had enough of the happy. Bring on the angst. (Wood nymph AU.)
There was nothing left. Hard to believe - impossible, really - but everything from the swirling ashes to the tendrils of smoke forced him to. Of the house, the forest, the picturesque mountain view, his happiness; there was nothing left. Only the photographer’s instinct to capture the ruin for posterity remained.
The glow of still burning embers in the ground, for example, looked a bit like runes. And the charred archway that marked the entrance to what used to be his home - still miraculously standing - made a solemn, almost noble figure. It had endured, and it deserved the admiration, the praise.
Beyond the doorway, little landmarks reminded him of what he was looking at. There was the kitchen island. Some broken glass from blown out windows. The ceiling fan, on the floor, mangled. Here was the hallway, open to the gray sky above. And finally, the bedroom, with the bed a steaming, sunken ruin.
There he found the ring. A plain, thin gold band, sitting on the mattress. Perfectly formed. Unmarred by the fire, and cool to the touch. Exactly the way it had looked when he’d slipped it on her finger. And he thought, of course it would be here. She always hid in the bedroom when she was scared.
The ring became a blur. Something was building, building in his chest, rising up like a tidal wave.
She’d been scared.
He stumbled out of the house, into a scorched, blackened, and unfriendly world that he no longer recognized. His refuge. His place of safety. A realm beyond the false glamour of Hollywood where magic - real magic - had once existed.
She was gone. He cried, he rebelled, he got sick, and he cried more. But the scene remained unchanged. He couldn’t bring it back with filters and proper lighting. He couldn’t manipulate her into his life again.
There was no magic in him. There never had been.