A youth who had loved the flames learns
|It had been years since I've smelled that smell. The burning ash, the flaming cinders, it had all been a flash in my mind as if it were a spark in the darkness. I had razed those fields and brought them to the ground. I'm not sure why the rest of village decided to let me live in spite of causing one of the worst famines this community had ever known but they spared me all the same.
It was a night dimly lit by the moon when I decided that I had lived the fantasy in my head to carry out the act that I had lived inside my head for as long as I can remember. I don't know why I was fascinated by the flames. Perhaps it was that it signified rebirth but also death in the same swift motion. Whatever it was it had been kept inside for long enough and it was time to fulfill my egregious act. I stole out to the stables hiding among the shadows. All had been to bed except for the stable boy who was meant to keep watch. I had noticed a pattern of how often he would be neglectful of his duties and it was fairly often that I would find him dosing and by chance, this was a night he would often regret going forward. I took the lantern and carried it out into the fields of wheat. Even in the moonlight I could tell how much work and effort it had taken this community to sow and grow these plants. Why was it that it was the very thing that I wanted to see ablaze?
Before I could give thought to this notion it had already begun. The field went up and that was that. I stood there watching, dumbfounded. It was something that I had never seen before, but it wasn't what I expected. I had hoped to be elated by the flames, romanized by its power but all I felt was helplessness as my village rushed to save what they had built. I had expected them to kill me on sight but they simply pushed me down to get to the fire quicker. It had not been about me in the way that I had envisioned, what I saw was a community coming together to save something the same way they had strove to create it.
It had been years in that cell after what had happened. I was used for whatever tasks I could accomplish when locked away. Each day it ate at me, why did they keep me around? An obvious danger and a nuisance. I had wondered this until that fateful night. It was never revealed to me if this had been on purpose or an accident but now the very same thing had happened. I could smell and see the smoke from my barred cell. The village fields had once again been all aflame. Then something happened that I could never have anticipated. "You there!" The man exclaimed as he opened the lock on my cell. "Get out here now!" What was happening? A pale was shoved into my chest as I was pushed out the door of the jailhouse. The commotion was all around as members of the community rushed to throw water and contain the flames. Without much though I began to help in same way. The flames were oppressive, as if one were being drowned by waves of an ocean that could drown you without ever crashing down. Each time the fire soared it felt like a crushing defeat. However as the time went on and more joined the cause the oppressor was beaten back. It had been hours before it was finally under control and the panic was all but gone. I had expected to be thrown back into confinement but something happened that I did not expect. They were letting me free. Stunned I could no more than stand mouth agape as the reality stood before me. Why had I felt alienated from these people for so long before I myself had committed that act? That feeling felt so far away now as I realized that they were never my enemy but were always a part of me. The flames were my enemy but I was always too blind to see it.