The Phoenix

Freedom is, in theory, an effortless demand. An unadorned request that any being deserves, or rather, claims the absolute right to. Even with this said it is too well known that freedom is not given freely on a silver platter. One must struggle; veritably fight for liberty, sometimes with words and other times with fire. Freedom can drive a person mad beyond belief. Its complete isolation is an exquisite delight, but after extensive time alone, even a sensible man will be driven to insanity.

Fate Smyth awakens, prepared to not merely confront her past, but also the repentance that accompanies it. Her remorse is concealed beneath her painted face, an expression so disoriented that even the woman beneath the mask, her sheer façade becomes lost. Her vivid hazel eyes open; she groans a feeble whimper; however in her mix of emotions, there is bliss. This woman, you see, has found her freedom at last.

There is a faint moment where Fate’s scaled surroundings ignore the rousing wind and remain still. The reminiscence of her agony returns to her thoughts. The sound of her pale fingertips sizzling in the sienna flames echoes in her ears, as the Earth is hushed. The throbbing of the dying embers burying her crisp toes is restored. Ah, these precious memories, Fate thinks with a content sigh. The silence passes with the chilling breeze; Fate’s essence screams and dies again in a way of giving up.

With the vast colorless ashes blanketing her and another fair quantity wandering through the air, she lifts herself from the ground, the filth covered floor scattered with loose black and white tiles that formerly covered her darling manse. The woman rises from the wreckage. What once were her picturesque quarters, she cannot help but consider, are now scorched and lifeless. A gleam appears in contrast to Fate’s quiet expression. The woman peers down to find her once sallow, elegant gown now lacerated and splattered with a great deal of grime and soot.

The lady can distinguish her small bouquet of poppies, the flowers nearly concealed in the heaps of ruins. Each petal and stem is an element of her ceremony. She recalls being so far from her independence. The very thought causes her fragile palms to clench. Fate chuckles; her laughter is taunting and in a quite bizarre way, sinister. Limping, she moves to pick up the flowers in her left hand and clutch her tattered garment in her right.

With a gentle touch, her rough fingers trace the velvety petal of a scarlet poppy which she held with wariness. The woman looks up, seeing the untouched mantle, which held the fiery beast inside the bricks. There were white decorations that were now doused with ashes. A chill runs down her spine merely gazing at the décor. Fate sighs, reminding herself of her escape. The conflagration is a piece of her past, a part she would celebrate for ages. At the minimal price of murder, the girl found her freedom.

“Darling,” a sonorous voice speaks from the lingering shadows. It reveals the tone of a man, the sound low and fearful. In one dreadful instant, the poppies fall from Fate’s marked palms. Fate knows the man speaking, or the man who once spoke the word. She believes it to be an apparition perhaps, or possibly the fancy of her mind toying with her brittle emotions. Either of these conclusions would be, in perspective, logical. Whichever, reality or not, the petrified girl watches the ruins that were formerly her tranquil parlor. With each slight movement of the breeze, she envisages Byron approaching her warily. After the fire, she expected to be rid of him. Frankly, it was always the intention.

The voice reminds her of the eternal darkness that once surrounded her and the cage he formerly kept her in. She could not be placed behind the scratched, chilling bars once more. Her liberty is new, fresh into the world and barely ready to be taken out. I am alone in these ruins, she convinces herself. Not a soul haunts me, not a twisted word of his, not a crooked lie can penetrate my skin. These empty words of hers repeat in her mind, attempting to truly compel herself to believe them. She continues to stroll through the wreck, the ashes are of the hell that burnt to the floor and the silence is of the paradise that rose from the remains.

Small blazes enlighten her path as she walks through her genuine bliss. The hush, the quiet that was formerly nonexistent for a while, was renewed by the chilling breeze. Fate comes to a sudden halt, tilting her head at a single spark. Some debris serves as firewood, giving the tiny, somehow imperative ember a minimal amount of life. It does not disappear and Fate stands still as she stares into the illumination. Cat-like pupils become visible in an instant. The pair of eyes is vibrant, a cerulean color which shines over the luminosity of the flame.

Fate’s eyes now widened, her hazel orbs hiding more than tears as they easily gave away her uncertainties. His dreary, mangled corpse lay only a small number of yards away; his body plagued with blemishes and burns. This she knows well, but even with this, she cannot help but wonder as the pair of eyes resting in the fire begin to blink. She recalls the image of Byron smiling as he smoldered. She reminisces about the gruesome death and how it was a pleasure to burn him, but her fear resides. The fear is the loss of all she has worked for.

Her lassitude along with her anxiety carry Fate away from the indigo eyes. They belonged to Byron at one time and even if she could not comprehend the mirage, he is behind her. Fate can hear his footsteps; the deep tracks in the mud follow her. With each step, she can tell that he is coming closer. Fate never exits the boundaries of the residence’s wreckage. The walls, which constricted her, appear to close in as she circles the crumbling foundation of the manse.

Fate pants, beats of sweat dripping from her neat hair, the russet locks still braided and knotted as they were before the ceremony. Perfection is merely found in her beauty, as her mind is tainted and her soul is torn apart. She arrives in a corner, a scarcely standing wall confines her, trapping her with her demon. Byron could take away everything. Perhaps he really is a figment, simply an apparition, but even with that possibility at hand, Fate is horrified. Her fiend, the one thing she sought to destroy, has returned for a second torturing. She questions her paradise.

“Come now, love. No need to fear,” speaks the same malevolent voice that is all too notorious. Each blink returns Fate to the darkness yet again. It allows her to escape his face now forming though. Byron’s unkempt curls luster in the setting sun and cause his hair to appear auburn as it falls to shield his right eye. His pale lips are stained with dust as they curve to form a haunting gleam.

Fate’s shaking palms grasp the peeling, scalded wallpaper. Byron, the phantom in question, moves towards her. Memories of her dreaded past rapidly fill Fate’s mind. Captive, her thoughts spur in uneasily in Fate’s mind and as they do, a ghastly, nonetheless plausible idea arrives. The murder did not kill her fear, the absolute terror that freedom will never arrive. Perhaps death is, in fact, the conclusion. Fate considers, maybe not that of another, but that of herself.

The flames seem to calm the girl as she smiles. A comforting heat surrounds her figure, but Fate could never feel the fire. Her skin smolders, the pale flesh creates a diverse aroma. Fate’s fingertips reach out to suffer, but she cannot fell the grief as it fails to arrive. She recalls the pain to be her favorite element of death. Fate would not be with company a great deal longer. The appalling silence, the mist above the earth, and the demon, which disturbs her, would be gone at last.

The phoenix is damned to this reiterating life. It lives a morose existence of death and rebirth. With each death, there is a truly melancholy feeling that there will be no return. At times, the creature wishes not to return. Perhaps if freedom is the question, then death truly is the answer. Death is the lone escape in Fate’s eyes. There will only be darkness, but the shadows hide the fear. The silence remains, but her demon will disappear. Without Byron, her paradise prevails. Even with the possibility she will live through her death and be sentenced to her hell once more, the simple possibility of freedom is enough for Fate. The phoenix has died many times, only to rise again.





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