January 10, 2006
Walking in a dark forest I see a small fire burning and have the strange desire to eat it. It is an irrational desire, I know that, but the attraction is overwhelming--like a child to ice cream.
I pick up the fire and hold it in my hand and am surprised by the cold it gives off even as I see it turn my skin black. The decision to taste seems inescapable. I do so quickly with one motion forcing it down with a gulp as I would a pill. All the way home I feel it in my stomach, but I feel ok.
In the bath I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror. My stomach glows, it’s now hot to the touch. A cold shower does nothing to control the problem. My skin steams.
Lying in bed I can feel the fire spreading throughout my body and in the stillness of the night, I hear it. The fire is louder than my heartbeat and breathing combined. My arms are starting to glow as are my legs. Then the hands. Remember when you, as a child, would hold a flashlight to your palm and look at your bones through the other side? It looked like that. I am sweating.
Flame bursts through my fingertips and then in an instant I am engulfed in an inferno. I am inside the fire. Oddly, I feel no pain, but worried about the house I run to the middle of the yard.
My skin sloughs off in large hunks. I fall. The fire burns through my muscles and innards until I am just bones. At this point I just want it to stop. The agony is more emotional than physical, but it is agony. The noise and smell are overwhelming. But even the bones burn. They separate; lose their form; and slowly I turn to dust.
The dust burns. I wonder how I can still feel. Is this what you mean when you talk of the soul? I ponder. Time passes impossibly slowly, but the fire will not die. Strange people live in my house, then new people, then more, then too many to count. At some point, without noticing how, the house is gone. The neighborhood is gone. Trees have grown up all around. I am in a deep forest… waiting.