In Reverse

The scent of evergreens surrounded Joseph Apoch as he chased after the woman he loved, Mikayla Nova. His lungs tightened from exhaustion and the thinness of the air. The canopy of leaves above blocked out the light from the sun, and fireflies flickered their butts around them. Mikayla’s white dress flailed behind her and her brunette curls bounced off her back from her footfalls. Joseph locked his eyes on her, while thrashing at the leaves from the bushes.
“Mikayla, wait!” he exclaimed, pushing through the dense underbrush. “We are wandering too far. We are getting to close to the barrier!” He watched the trees pass by him. The markings on the bark warned him, and he knew where she was leading him.
Mikayla screamed in agony as her fingertips emblazed in a red flame. The fire continued up her arm, leaving a trail of ash behind it. Joseph saw her blue eyes widen as her face was consumed to dust. He turned his head away to avoid the sight of his wife being eaten away from the outside in by the barrier. The tears in his brown eyes dripped in the palms of his hands. He glimpsed at the cloud of ash that settled to the earth, leaving a mound of what was left of Mikayla.
He felt the energy of the barrier behind him as he looked up at the multiple waves of red, orange, and yellow reach into the sky. His anger built inside of him knowing the barrier was a curse created by a group of men that feared their people, and greed turned their hearts into the same ash that laid before Joseph on the ground.
The sound of the birds above and the light breeze that kissed his cheek reminded him of Mikayla. He outstretched his hand towards the barrier in hopes of dying with her, but his fear ruled over his courage. He closed his eyes feeling the heat of the wall of electricity.
“I can’t,” he said, dropping his arm to his side.

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