The fire flared in bright red and yellow, casting tall shadows on the grove surrounding him. With a step, he backed away from the flames as it was reaching towards his face, burning against his skin. He quirked his mouth in amusement, imagining his wife striking him beyond the dead. She and the fire had many similarities, he realised; they were both beautiful, energetic and unpredictable. Perhaps the flames were the manifestation of her? It wouldn’t surprise him. She always had a way of reaching him wherever he could not.
Perhaps that is why it ended this way?
She had it all, the power and the freedom to do whatever she wanted – to meet anyone she wanted…
He frowned as his mind drifted away. She had been with a lot of men. He was certain. He’d accepted it because she’d always been there for him in the end. Though, his friend always said he was paranoid… but, of course, he would tell him so, he was but one of many men she met.
She always beamed after coming home from one of those meetings. What else did she do but break her vows to me and to almighty god?
“Praise his name,” he mumbled over the roars of the flames.
Suddenly, the fire flared, forcing him to cover his eyes. The flames were so bright… another similarity, he realised – she had been his light.
A tear trickled down his cheek at the thought of the flames eventually dying, leaving him in the darkness of the mortal bound – his sins unattended.
He would never see his light again… yet, he was contempt.
As if fuelled by his emotions, the bonfire towered ever higher towards the sky. “You will be there soon,” he said aloud, raising his hands towards the sky, imitating the flames.
Suddenly, something rolled up against his shoes, breaking his revery. He lowered his head and narrowed his eyes, a burnt watch hissed in the cool air, partly melted.
He grabbed the watch and rubbed his thumb against the glass, it was still ticking. It was a nice watch, he realised regretfully. For a moment, he wished that he had taken it, but he quickly dismissed the thought and waved his hand airily; he would not add stealing to his sins, and he threw the watch back into the flames.
“Ungrateful bastard…” he muttered. “It is more than you deserve! a death far too beautiful.” he roared, raising his hands into the air as the wind blew against his back, amplifying his voice and making the flames flutter in response to his words. It really was a manifestation of them both, he convinced himself, feeling at ease once again. They knew what they had done, and they were sorry, he could tell. He was sorry too. But in the flames, their sins will vanish and they will be accepted onto heaven.
Standing by the fire he suddenly lowered his hands and his lips flattened. What of my own sins? he speculated. There were no loopholes in the laws of god. Murder in any circumstance would always lead to damnation, he was certain.
He stared deep into the flames, purposely avoiding the centre of the fire. Just a little more… then his sins will go away.
For there can be no a crime when there is no guilt, and if there is no crime, surely there was never any victims.
© Christopher Stamfors