from "Death or Glory"

…“What IS it?” Kit's voice was soft with shock. He had come to a dead halt right in the middle of Prospect Street. No cars were coming, but I tugged at his elbow anyway and made for the curb.

“What's what?” My eyes followed the line of his intent stare.

A great pinkish glow was rising from the heart of downtown. Kit craned his neck, squinted hard, and remained disconcertingly mute and immobile. The hairs on his neck were bristling, I had no doubt. His energy had surged so rapidly, then tightened to such a keen pitch, I could feel it.

We watched as the glow spread, taking on more vivid hues. Kit grabbed my arm when suddenly the rosy flush was shot with orange. “It's a FIRE!” he cried, his eyes themselves kindling with excitement. “C'mon, let's hurry!” He pulled at me lustily. “C'mon! RUN!”

“Kit!” I hollered in protest, trying to dodge icy patches on College Street's steep descent, “I don't want to go gawk at a fire!”

“Why NOT?” he hollered back. “There's no danger, the firemen won't let anybody close enough for that!”

“I just don't need to see it,” I insisted, once I'd caught up with him. “If you must know, I used to have terrible nightmares about fire… I can't go watch one as if it were a circus or a TV show. Look. We're just a few blocks from my house. Why don't I go back and get started on our pie? You go see your fire, and come on up after you've had enough.”

“Oh, Pris-cilla, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! Come on...”

“You say that about every crazy thing you make me do,” I said wearily. “Just let me go home. I'm cold.”

“It'll be plenty warm down by that fire,” he wheedled, pulling at my arm again.

“Kit, seriously…! You've got to stop dictating what I want."

A fine tremor hummed through his frame as he bridled his impatience and stood gazing at me. There was a peculiar new expression in his eyes. Was it angry, sad, pleading? Or simply estranged, because his spirit was already on the wing toward that alluring blaze below us? I detected an uncharacteristic glitter that might be imminent tears…


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