I Favor Fire

I awoke on the floor, slightly confused. A thick orange light was oozing in through panes of glass to my left. I stood and walked to the glass placing my hands on its surface and feeling the warmth flow through, even though it seemed there was at least a foot of the stuff between myself and the roiling mass of chaos below. I gazed through my imperfect indistinct reflection as I contemplated the randomness in the patterns of orange, yellow, and black that twined in the molten earth playing there just a little way beneath my feet. To my eyes it was a beautiful dance an answer to all my questions and a relief to my worries.

Not everyone felt the same though, I acknowledged, as my eyes shifted to the small patch of blue high above. It hovered there forlorn among the dense billowing clouds of ash. A twinge in my soul was drawing me and with a heavy sigh I bid adieu to the dark self living in the glass. I entered the small service elevator that had been chipped out of the rock at the rear of the room and pulled the lever. There were only two stops it made, the room and the mountain side. When the door wooshed open I was in fresh cool air away from the toxic gasses that filled the caldera. I had a sneaking suspicion that the room below was breaking down, and as a result those gasses were invading and had caused my odd choice of napping location. The twinge had turned into a sharp stabbing, indeed it was almost time.

I turned to center myself on the direction of my pain and then gave a gentle push with my feet. The obliging Earth loosed its hold on me and I ascended. Soon I was surrounded by blue with the column of ash at my back as I faced West and waited. It did not take her long to appear this source of growing agony in my chest. She was swathed from head to foot in loose fitting ice blue fabric and the whipping wind that held her aloft, and battered at me, did nothing to even ruffle an edge of the gauzy veil that covered her face.

“You should not have come.” I did not raise my voice for I knew she could hear me. She was like a wild dog that bared its teeth and raised it hackles at a wolf. She knew she could not win and so she bluffed.

“You can not do this!” She retorted forcefully then in a softer voice, almost pleading, “You can not do this.”

“But I must.” I answered my voice calm with years of experience and my final conviction.

Anger rose in her eyes and she lifted her arms above her head in a swift jerk. Around us snow and ice that still coated nearby peaks rose and coalesced into a misshapen mass above and in front of her. She slammed her arms down and the conglomeration descended carried by a maelstrom of turbulent air. The woman followed close behind and I followed her. I found her standing almost at the center of what had been my beautiful lava ball. Now it was a shining expanse of luminescent white ice. I landed and eyed the reflection stretching from my feet. The ice, like the glass, made an imperfect copy of my form despite its smooth perfection. Here though I was a white light to combat the shadowed self in the glass.

The woman faced me and her chest heaved with the effort this had cost her. The winds died and she ripped the veil from her face.

“Look here I have dashed your plans! The others will be here shortly to make my patch more permanent.”

I nudged the surface of the ice already gaining a slim layer of water.

“I know you love the humans,” I began, but she interrupted.

“You are human too! Like me!”

“No. No, I stopped being merely human long ago. I can not chain myself to such a sordid and tawdry fate. They are cruel and careless and destructive, and there are too many of them.”

“And you would play God by deciding who lives and who dies? Why here? What have these people done to make them more deserving of this fate than any other?”

“Nothing, but you seem to misunderstand… This is not the plan, merely the catalyst. I am not going to pick and choose those who live or those who die. I am merely setting the balance back to even. After that the laws of Nature will take over and perhaps these humans will learn from their past. If not…” I shrugged.

I watched as sudden understanding dawned upon her face, my face. The only true mirror of myself really, and yet it was only skin deep. I had made the effort to distract her but I had always known she would come for she was the push to my pull. If she had not come perhaps we could have lived. She would have been able to assist her precious humans as they struggled back from this massive global eruption, and I could have continued on as a watchdog.

Now though I smiled gently at the sister who had come in to the world just a little behind me. I felt the lava rolling sluggishly toward the surface needing the smallest of nudges, and as she had earlier I thrust my arms high.

**

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This is my entry for the Flash Fiction Challenge from Terribleminds. I’ve never done one before but it seems like a good way to work on my 1337 skills (lol). The challenge was to randomly (used a random number generator) choose a motif (mirrors), a sub-genre (ecothriller aka wtf), and a setting (villains volcano lair) cheating is easy but this is supposed to take effort right so I worked at ecothriller although I’m not sure there’s much evident here, sorry. I used one of my favorite Frost poems ‘Fire and Ice’ as inspiration hence the name! Thanks for reading.

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