FLARE • by Keturah Barchers

When Keegan is alone and his insides rumble in turmoil, he remembers the day he swallowed the spark. It charred his tongue with its smoky texture and smoldered down his throat to plunk into the acid of his gut. Delicious. Since that crispy meal, Keegan’s speech is accompanied by tiny sparks flying off his tongue. People watch him speak, in awe of the brilliant specks of heat flying out of his mouth.

In the beginning, there were many invitations to parties.

He’d strut through the door into the boisterous shout of, “Keegan!” Soft women draped on him, and chilled, glistening martinis were placed in his hand. During the length of the party, his sparks played off beer cans and bounced around the room’s surfaces, landing in small puffs of smoke. Occasionally one landed on someone’s skin, burying itself there with a deep sizzle. Not many complained. His sparks were entertaining to watch bounce around the room.

The attention emboldened him to make his speech more dazzling red. It took a few short months before Keegan learned how to fan the spark in his gut. Now when Keegan screams, yellow flames shoot out of his mouth, and the potent smell of burning eyebrows fills the air. Soft women no longer drape themselves on him. People talk to him by sending emails in fear of getting scorched.

He practiced projecting his spark further, and soon people received scorching emails with cindered words smoking on their screen.

When Keegan seasons a spicy dinner for one, he thinks his red-orange words a searing success.


Keturah Barchers lives in a world filled with imaginings that sometimes make it to paper. Flash fiction is one of her favorite forms. She can be found on Twitter for weekly stories.


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