Tangled sinews twist up beyond the ether. A match strikes & a flame gasps into life. The dripping rag takes the flame, becoming alive in deep orange light. The gleam of an oil painting in which he is both the viewer & the subject. His body is for a moment suspended in a crouch, eyes shining faintly in the contemplative light. Then his arm stretches, reaching through the broken panel of the doorway. In through his sweater the edges of stubborn glass shards graze his arms, marking him as the culprit if forensics were ever to bother looking. But they won’t. The heat on his outstretched hand is now unbearable. He drops the flaming rag & retracts. He is shaking his hand & licking the skin between sweater & glove where it is scorched. Another mark that only the bathroom mirror will find. Private crimes that climb into his own eyes & settle. They’re promises to the fiend inside. He has been true to the flames. Flames which now lick the edges of the laboratory, searching persistently for fuel & oxygen, to feed their need to destroy.


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