He watches the newest fire flicker, breathe in, and exhale with a cackling laugh that devours other life to feed its own. Even though it’s still daytime, he is careful to look to the side of the fire instead of directly at it.

Everything about today is bright, he thinks. The smell of smoke and ashes have seeped into every pore of his body, but today is so bright!, so he doesn’t mind.

He knows that despite what he’s done, nothing is perfect. There are things other than heat and smoke floating around. People call him various things – not to his face, of course, but he has seen their whispered words hanging in the air.

Some believe he’s lost his mind through being forced to grow up too soon. Others think he’s a tyrant hell-bent on ruining everyone’s lives. A few have even called him stupid and delusional for listening to a mere book, as if ink on paper could have authority over a human being.

Very few approve of what he’s been doing.

But to him, the book is alive, even more so than the fires he’s been igniting. So he continues to collect mountains of ashes from things that make others feel comfortable, and scatters them on graves. To him, it feels like he’s putting everything back in place, and it’s a very satisfying feeling.

There’s also something very decisive and very final in the act of burning. It’s more decisive than passing a new law, or going to war, or putting someone to death. A fire has the power to break traditions that never belonged to them in the first place. A fire can burn and erase until even skeletons aren’t left behind. A fire can bring completely new beginnings, because it also ends things with a great enough finality.

He loves the paradox contained within a fire. On one hand, it destroys and desecrates. On the other, it cleanses and produces clean slates, once the ashes are removed. He loves everything about it, and so he draws closer to the flames.


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