He watched from a distance, watched as the fire consumed the building in front of him. He heard the creaking of the structure as it was consumed, listened to the crackling of the flames that were deafening in the otherwise still and silent night. And beneath it all he heard the pleas for help, the prayers for salvation, the piercing shrieks of panic and pain. Yet he stood motionless before it all, always observing but rarely able to act, to interfere.
Glass from a window on the third story shattered, the shards reflecting the fire against the dark sky as they fell towards the ground. The screams rang out into the night, louder than before, and his heart began to crack. Just this once, let me save them. . . Thunder rang out, echoing across the plains as stormclouds rapidly formed overhead. I can’t let them die; just this once. . .
He moved towards the burning house, slowly at first, more quickly when the shrieks came to an abrupt end. No. They will not die - not tonight. It seemed only a second later that he stood on the front porch of the house, feeling the suffocating heat of the flames and listening to the tortured groaning of the structure. A blinding bolt of lightning flashed across the sky, and thunder rang out once again, cracking louder and more angrily than before. He inclined his head to the side, contemplating once again the situation before him. But when he heard a faint moan coming from inside the house, indicating that someone still lived, he squared his shoulders and walked fearlessly into the flames.
Moments later, he emerged from the house cradling a slim figure in his arms. Gently, he knelt and laid a young girl on the ground, her body badly burned and her breathing shallow. Meanwhile, while his clothes had smoldered and burned in the fire, now hanging off of his frame in tatters, his body was wholly untouched by the voracious flames. He stood unhurriedly, turning to head back into the conflagration, when the house groaned loudly once more before shuddering and collapsing in upon itself as more lightning and thunder cracked and rumbled around him.
Rain began to pour from the sky, drenching the girl and him in seconds. The girl moaned, shifting restlessly as her body registered the pricks of pain caused by the cold raindrops falling onto her seared flesh. In the background, the crumbled remains of the house hissed as the deluge put out the roaring fire. He looked at the rubble, face void of emotion, and then glanced down at the girl before him. Kneeling once more, he brushed singed hair back from her face, picked up the slight girl, and stood deliberately. As lightning flared and thunder reverberated, he turned and walked away, head bowed and shoulders hunched over the figure he held, until the darkness of the tempestuous night swallowed him whole. . .