There’s a girl at the bus stop when you get there. She scoots over to make room on the bench without looking at you.
She’s flicking a shiny steel lighter open and closed. Sometimes she’ll twirl it around her ring or toss it to herself before summoning the flame.
It’s a delightful orange flame, framed by thin blue licks. You only get to look at it for a second at most before she snaps it shut.
She looks at you. You look away. She goes back to her lighter. “You can look if you want.” She says, watching the lighter flip between her fingers.
She lets the flame stand for a few moments. There’s an engraving of a hollow heart with circuit traces extending around the lighter’s body. “It’s nice to watch the flame flicker.” You can barely see her green lips in the light smile before she snaps it shut again.
“You gotta be careful, though.” She swipes her finger through the flame. Smoke rises up. “Watch the flame like this too long, you can fall under its spell.” It dances in the wind. Every time she closes it, you wince. Like your brain froze and had to restart.
You hear the bus turn a corner a few blocks away. “It feels warm, doesn’t it? A flickering flame in your brain, washing all down your body. Every breath warmer and better than the last.” You see the corners of her smile. “But when the flame goes out, your brain turns-“ Click.