The fire is extinguished now, the building just a blackened, steaming skeleton.
Yet while the crowd disperses, something still blazes deep inside Chloe.
“Let’s go,” Joe says, taking her hand.
She shakes him off irritably, mesmerised by the ruins.
“In a minute.”
Unease chars the edges of his composure.
Could he be losing her? Has the conflagration reignited old embers, arousing some dangerously unpredictable spectre? Joe’s heard gossip… rumours.
Chloe finally turns away, energised and radiant, burrowing almost aggressively into his jacket.
And, inhaling the rancid petrol fumes on her hair, Joe understands he’s already lost her to her past.
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