In the driveway off the road, look at that little car, soft rust creeping over its chipped paint. See the rotting wood stairs, how they’d creak with age if anyone was left to climb them. The bones of a cat lying by a long empty bowl, coated in the thick gristle of decaying flesh. The dishes piled in the sink, with rich swirls of mold the only life left here. Let your gaze finally rest upon the overturned tea kettle, cheery bright blue.
Once, the kettle poured liquid love for its owners. Once, it was chosen for its color, favored. Blue shades are splashed throughout the house. Those accents only owned by the comfortably unaware. The dish towel, the welcome mat, the blanket tossed over the couch. The boiling water still pouring from the kettle has made its way there, hissing faintly under the sounds of the still running television. The channel flickers, news of a bombing in the deep South turning to a cheerful salesperson selling the latest microwave technology.
The woman seems distant, unaware of the boiling water making contact with her hand as it drapes over the side of the couch, unaware that the water is slowly swallowing her home. You would think her body vacant were it not for those eyes. Those terrible, terrible, open eyes, a scream felt in their frantic movements. She must feel it all, you realize. She must see how the kettle was wrong, all wrong.
Oh, that pretty blue. How it deceived her in the shop, lured her in. Somehow it was the shade she’d looked for her whole life, perfect for her. Ten dollars, the woman in the shop said, and she was so friendly, so kind. Of course the woman bought that perfect kettle, with its shining spout like an anglerfish.
She drove to her home in the countryside and thought only briefly of the heat creeping over her. A strange spike for October, she thought, but still, she took out her mug, measured out the leaves so carefully. A connoisseur, this woman of ours. Her tea comes from China, you know. She has it shipped over specially.
If only she were so careful with her other purchases. If only she hadn’t sat there while the water boiled, watching the news. She practically tempted it. The poor kettle can’t resist an easy target, and oh how enticing her skin was. Water loves to move, and fire loves to burn, and the woman loved her little things.
How long she’ll sit there, undying, not alive, with the water slowly taking more of her, one mustn’t guess. Speculation only distracts you from what’s important.
FIO CUMMINS GARBER is a teenage writer and poet in the Colorado area. Their work has previously appeared in student magazines and on Tumblr under the username honeysweetdisaster, where you can find their thoughts on love, soulmates, personal growth, and small acts of witchcraft.