Embers and Infernos
As long as the fire has oxygen, heat and fuel – the fire triangle – it can burn forever. But all fires are not the same. Some fires are wildfires that rip nature apart, some fires are contained so as to provide sustenance for communities. Some fires don’t serve any purpose at all.
Once, when traveling in Arcadia, I came across the third kind of fire. There it was, a small orange glow, in the middle of some bushland. As it was at least emitting a pitiful amount of heat, I set up camp next to it and watched it. It did not grow. It did not shrink. It just continued. It had the oxygen from the air around us. It had the heat it was generating itself, and it had the shrubs and bushes around it, so it had enough to glow, but it did not have the often forgotten fourth part of the fire “triangle” – the chemical reaction.
It had one once, when the flame was new, but this fire was no longer a fire, merely just embers glowing in the night. Without a chemical reaction, it has no reason to ever reach the heights it once reached.
The Burned Man has the oxygen in his lungs, and the fuel of life to keep him going. He has the heat of that original incident all those years ago, but that chemical reaction that caused him to burn has long since died out. His son is alive, and he no longer burns the way he used to burn. His fire is still there, but it is only a glow, barely enough to heat a mouse. The Burned Man is but an ember, waiting for the fuel to run out.
My fire burns strong. I have the same oxygen and life to feed the fire as The Burned Man, but the heat for me comes from that anger I have for those that have wronged me, and continue to wrong me, and the chemical reaction was last week, when Tombstone and Igor ignited me inside that incinerator, thinking it would stop me. No. All they did was grow the fire that burned inside me, and fan me from an ember to a flame, and from a flame to a wildfire, and from a wildfire to a raging inferno.
The problem is, I’m not sure I’ll ever die down, as my oxygen and my fuel are eternal. They’ll never run out because I’ll never die, and that anger inside of me that provides the heat? That’s driven by that immortality. If all three are in such strong supply, this inferno will rage on forever, engulfing all that stands in its way.
The Burned Man. Your embers have endured for many years, but they too will be engulfed within the inferno that I have become. They will only serve to feed me and grow me more.
I’ll rage on, and soon, there will be nothing left but cinders and ashes, and Arcadia will be left as barren as my soul.
Ashes to ashes. Dust to fucking dust.