On the west side of Sector Six, near the outskirts of the city, sits a two storey house in an otherwise unpopulated suburb. The streets around it are clean of litter and rusted machines, an oddity that can be blamed on the sole resident within four kilometres.
Despite the effort and determination, the attempted escape from reality is thwarted by unused houses scattered around, a small scale version of the city’s towers. Crumbling and chipped, they spoke of decay.
On a normal day the chill isn’t such a constant presence, and the inescapable smog is only a thin layer.
It’s not a normal day.
The fire roars, wrathful and angry as Enma takes another shaky step closer despite the painful heat pressing into his body, urging him backwards. His house is blackened char and yet the flames still rise higher, spitting out bright red embers before twisting and darkening into a black cloud of smoke and ash.
Enma suddenly has an all-consuming urge to step inside the fire and just let it all burn away.
That house –his home- was the only place he stored his notes and conducted his research. It held his entire life’s work, everything he’s ever accomplished and collected over the years. He poured his heart and soul into his experiments and he’s saved thousands with the perfected medicines.
Enma doesn’t know why anyone would do this. He’s not a good person, but that makes it even more confusing. People can buy him off, he would gladly work for someone and create whatever they want, be it medication or poison. There’s no reason for someone to destroy his work like this. Maybe steal, but not destroy.
He chokes on a sob and has to sit on the road before he falls down. The tarmac is rough and warm from the raging fire not a few meters away. Enma pulls his knees closer to his chest and clutches at his jumper, fingers digging into the soft material as he shivers in shock.
He sits there, not moving a centimetre as the house slowly cracks and crumbles, collapsing in on itself until only rubble is left. He sits there as the flames wane and flicker out, having consumed everything that it could. He sits there while his home glows a bright red that fades to pale white ash.
Enma takes it all in and then falls backwards, unable to look any longer. He stares at the sky instead, the bright blue mocking him. Telling him that everything will be okay.
The fire is gone and now he’s so cold.
It makes him sick - just makes him want to tear it all apart from the largest building to the smallest animal. He wants to leave nothing but rubble and corpses and fire and broken things, just so they’ll scream like he desperately wants to. Maybe if he paints a cry for help large enough on the ground someone will see it. Maybe if the words are red enough with blood someone will come for him.
Can he wake up? Can he please wake up now?
The sky is abruptly blocked out by a familiar face, her expression scared and worried. Tamika kneels beside his head and runs a hand through his hair, trying to comfort him with vague murmurs that don’t sound like anything at all.
All Enma can hear is the phantom crackling of fire as it eats away at everything that he is.
“Come on,” Tamika forces out, voice uneven as tears gather in her eyes. “Let’s go to my house, okay?”
Enma doesn’t know why she’s crying. She treats her job as something interesting, not like it’s a limb, she can’t possibly understand what Enma is feeling right now.
“Please, Enma,” she whispers, hands trembling as they cup his face. “Please respond. Tell me you’ll be okay.”
Oh. Tamika is crying for him.
“I’ll find them,” Enma rasps out, his throat sore from breathing in all of the smoke. “I’ll find whoever did this and burn them.”
It’ll be poetic.