Tales from the unfortunate

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Flames

Keahi watched the orange sea crash against the wall. The waves absorb the air around them. The oxygen nourished them, allowed them to grow. The current possessed a yellowy-orange glow, transforming into a deeper red.

The process captivated Keahi. He had always liked the smell of gasoline. The man found comfort in the sound of a match being lit. The cracking sound of the fire devouring its surroundings delighted him. As soon as the first flames had sprouted, all tension was released. He had thrown quite the tantrum before he had felt the crippling desire to ignite the flame.

As a kid, Keahi would let the flame escape from his lighter. He used to stare at the lighter, mesmerized by the thought of what capacity the flames could reach. How fast things would crumble upon their touch. It gave him a sense of power. He could spend hours watching the flame dance right next to his thumb.

Candles had brought him safety during those long and cold nights. He remembered dipping his fingers into the hot wax. The burning sensation put his mind at ease. Peeling the dried-up remains of the candle had become a daily routine in his teenage years. It kept out the screams echoing through the house, trailing all the way up the staircase.

The first incident happened when he had turned eleven. During one of those candle-lit nights. The flame had entertained him once again. It had found a way to pacify all exterior noises that agitated Keahi. They had helped the young boy doze off. It wasn’t till the stench of smoke burned his nostrils, that the kid had been awoken. As he opened his eyes, he froze on the spot.

The flame had escaped the wick, dancing from one spot to another. They engulfed his curtains, climbing up to reach the ceiling. The brown couch in the far corner of his room had been granted an extra spark. He had never seen such a marvelous spectacle. The reds and oranges blended in impeccable with his decor. It was breathtaking. He remembered how devastated he felt when his mom had yanked him away from the sea of orange.

The eleven-year-old cried when the firemen extinguished the fire. His parents brushed it off as shock. They couldn’t see their kid was grieving. For the next couple of weeks, candles had been banished from his existence. The craving had never grown that intense. It impaired the young boy. He couldn't think straight without the comfort and heat of the flame. That’s when he had felt the real hunger for power.

The boy never lost his appetite. Not even when the blaze turned his parents to embers. That hunger could never be satisfied. Not when he had burned all flammable objects his house contained. Nor when he made a container erupt in flames. The desire only increased each time he was reunited with the flames. What had started as a harmless fascination had grown into compulsive thoughts.

Keahi exited the burning room. He would get a better look at the spectacle on the streets. He wondered how long the flames would take to consume the whole house. They were already hanging outside his windows like drapes. He grinned, pleased with his work. This was by far his biggest work of art. The reds and oranges formed a magnificent contrast against the pitch-black sky. He could hear a woman cry out.

The screams transported him back to his childhood. Parents too busy jumping down each other's throats. Having no clue whatsoever as to what their child had turned to. What they made Keahi do to put an end to those violent fights. If it all just happened to go up in flames, wouldn't that make it easier? After all, who would have pointed a finger at a harmless kid?

- confession of a pyromaniac -

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