Sunday, October 5, 2014

Strange Fire

The young man sat by the fireplace on an oaken stool, the left side of his face, red with the heat of the fire, the flickering flames dancing in the pupils of his eyes, eyes fixed on the wrinkled hands of the old man.

On the other side of the room, the old man reached down into the earthen furnace and withdrew the glass sphere that he had earlier planted there.  The fierce fire had since cooled, and the glass bulb was black with tar.

The young man’s eyes suddenly widened with astonishment as the old man rubbed the glass with his work worn fingers. As the greasy blackness of the tar rubbed off onto his hands, there appeared a faint greenish glow from within, dimmed by the film of soot. The old man removed a rag from his pocket, and firmly wiped the side of the sphere, and all at once a bright shaft of light broke from the cleaned spot as if ten candles flickered within.

The old man rubbed the whole sphere with a circular motion, and the smearing tar made weaving patterns of light and shadow on the ceiling of the hovel.  As he cleaned, the light in the room slowly grew brighter and brighter until it was as bright as day.

Satisfied with his work, the old man held up the sphere in front of his face and gazed at the stange forms within. The young man had moved his stool closer now, and was staring at the dancing, nebulous flames within the glass. He could not speak for some time.  Finally, he whispered, “What is it, sir?”

The old man paused, drew a deep breath, as if he were finally relieved of a heavy burden, and he spoke slowly, a faint smile spreading across his lips, “It is the fire…”  he drew another breath, his eyes fixed on the flames, “from deep within the world.”

*Reposted from my old writing blog, Kosmosis.