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Why can't I be allowed to just forget? Tres asked the flames silently. Hadn't she done everything she could to put the past behind her? To start over anew? She wasn't that the six year old being screamed at for an accident. The eight year old bound to a chair until she wet herself. The ten year old whipped for just touching her sign. The child beaten and broken until the mere thought of her element made her flinch.

That child was dead and buried now, hidden under the shifting sands of time. Tres had put nearly forty years of effort into forgetting the girl she once was, the past that had all but broken her. She'd thrown herself head first into life at Fira, been adopted by a new family, grieved for their loss when they'd passed, befriended Leaders and gained status that broken little girl could never have even dreamed of having.

Tres reached out to let her finger tips hover as close to the flames as possible. She was a scout and a warrior, an Elder and a mother to her own beautiful little girl who would never know a reason to be truly afraid. She'd been and was loved by two of the best men she'd ever known. That was the woman Tres Firachild was, not that downtrodden child. So why was it that, whenever she dared believe she could feel safe, the past she'd abandoned crept back into her life?

Watching the flames leap and dance, Tres shook her head. “Not this time,” she whispered to the fire. “This time it won't come out. The past is forgotten and I won't let it be remembered.” It was too much of a weakness. It would change how her family looked at her. She wouldn't be the woman she was to them if her history came out, she'd just be the frightened little girl her brother and sister still saw.

That was not going to happen.

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Ann Rosa Starr

May 2012

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