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Burning

It was 20 years and a month. The day I saw fire and light. The day I lost my humanity. The day I was enlightened. You could say I was born in a rickety old house. You could say I died at the market that fateful day. You could say I was born at the market, born in hell-fire and molten steel. You could say that I will die today- probably in minutes- from my wounds, but to that I say no, I think god has a higher purpose for me. However, if god is just another fairy tale we tell ourselves to keep us from temptation; my story will be lost forever.
Unless I tell it to you. It was over twenty years ago. That day in the market, the day I was enlightened. I was eight years of age. It was one of the few days we visited the market at night. Long shadows were cast over the bleak marketplace by its countless torches. I saw a spurt of fire in the air and knew immediately what it was. I eagerly shook off my father’s hand and ran to it. It was a fire eater, spraying a great pyre of flame into the air. My father tried to hold me back but I was too fast. Laughing I sprinted towards to the fire eater. My 42 year old father yelled to me to come back but I kept going. My family hated fire, they thought of it as the devil’s element, tempting humans to harbor it, then, when they least expect it, it would burn them to the ground. I loved fire, I thought of it as a source of light and joy. My 40 year old mother called me back. I ran to the front of the crowd. A man walked up to me and laughed.
“Let me show you a place where there is a fire that never extinguishes,” said the man in a calm voice.
I eagerly followed the man into a back room with a large furnace in the middle. I looked at the fire inside, it was huge. I felt primal looking at it. I could just feel its awesome power. Suddenly the man grabbed me by the throat. He ripped off my shirt and grabbed a metal rod from the fire place, at the end of the rod was a glowing piece of steel. The man said I could call him the master from now on. The master then laughed manically and pressed the steel against my bare chest. I screamed and cursed and sputtered at the pain. Slowly I started to see darkness and I fainted. I knew I must be in hell, all around my vision I saw pain and suffering, I felt as if the skin had been ripped off of my skin. When I woke up I was in a well lit stone room, I looked down at my throbbing chest and stopped. I had been branded. I could read what the brand said. I smiled at it and started laughing wildly, I loved it. It said this. (I apologize but this story requires an image, you can see that image here http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.ambigram.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/angels-and-demons-fire.gif&imgrefurl=http://www.ambigram.com/most-famous-ambigrams&h=180&w=180&sz=5&tbnid=7Nuz4M8bnPAN0M:&tbnh=90&tbnw=90&zoom=1&docid=IoCWHieCJOm29M&sa=X&ei=mH7bTtfvAofh0QGy-tT9DQ&ved=0CCkQ9QEwAg&dur=607)
Little did I know I would not
remember getting it.

The man who branded me injected strange chemicals into me with a long tube. Chemicals that made me forget everything I knew about myself. I forgot my family and my name. My name, I would do anything to learn it, but the master will not tell me. I worked with the master all throughout those 20 years, perfecting poisons and concocting corrosive acids. But always, always, always, we would study fire. We seemed to grow closer- the master and I- then one day he gave me the task of my life. If I killed two people, a couple in their early sixties he would tell me my name. I accepted the mission on the spot. The master gave me a picture of them and assured me no one would miss them. The master gave me information on the couple and I started the difficult task of preparing myself.


One month later I was ready to kill them. I entered the house. I saw the father reading in their sitting room; luckily he did not notice me. I crept off into another room and sat on the floor. I unslung the bag off my back. I reached into it and pulled out three vials. The first vial contained an unknown milky pink liquid, the second contained a silvery white power, the third was the most important, it contained an element known as gawsonium. I then pulled a large bowl made of solidified carbon. I then proceeded to mix the elements in the bowl. The second they met there was a burst of white hot flames. I calmly pulled a long piece of metal out of the bag, a brand, my brand. The same one I had been branded with. The master would not tell me who branded me and I could not remember the day I was branded. I then put the brand into the hellish inferno; the couple would not survive this. I had been branded with steel at about 400 degrees. This fire, within minutes, would warm the end of the brand to over 900 degrees. I waited a bit and then proceeded to grab the brand. I then walked over to the man. I then spoke the last words he would ever hear.

“Burn in hell,” I muttered. I then slammed the brand against his face. His body twisted in agony, he writhed and squirmed, unable to make a sound. The brand had sealed his lips closed. After mere minutes the writhing stopped. His face was now blackened with a large Fire scrawled across it. I smiled as I walked away from the man.



I was eager to finish the job and learn my name. I walked up into the bedchamber to find a woman awaiting me there. She smiled at me and asked me who I was. I gave her a sickly grin and told her I was death and had come to punish her for her sins. I then got onto the luxurious bed and slammed the steel down upon her stomach. She yelled out in pain and terror. I saw raw panic in her eyes. I brought the brand down harder, searing into her entrails. The smell of burning flesh surrounded the room. It was only then did I look up from her at a painting on the wall. A painting of an eight year old boy. I would know the person anywhere. It was me.
And then, with her last failing breath, the old woman uttered her last words.
“My son.”
And then she died. The realization hit me like an explosion. The childhood memories came back. I remembered everything. Everything, that is, but my name. I looked down at my dead mother. The ambigram written out across her chest is perfect symmetry, readable to the one who branded and the one who is branded, readable upon the waters of earth or in the fiery inferno of hell. And then, for the first time in 20 years, I cried. I had been fooled by the master into killing my own lifeblood. The very being who had brought me to life had died at my hand. I then performed the last act of my life. I brought the brand against my own chest for the second time. I am nothing. I do not deserve to be. I am lower than human. I am burning.





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