He wept, oh how he wept whenever he ignited the torch. He brought his face as close to the fire as he dare, feeling the heat upon his face, close enough to dry the tears, close enough to feel the fire’s pulse against his skin. The special smell of fire, so pure, so committed to him. It wasn’t the same smell as the raw, baked earth after a dry season. It was the deep, pernicious aroma under the smoke, the naked licking perfume of heat, changing everything it touched.
He hid in the rain, and the fire did not mind. The rain encouraged the fire, emboldened the flicker and dance; it was music. He worked in the shadows, and they were easy to find. He found them in the places where no one ever looked: the clammy corners of a rotted summer kitchen, behind corrupted tree stumps and blistered smoke houses, beside the buckled outhouses and corn bins. There were a thousand different places to find shadows. The fire exposed them all, and then erased them.
His erection was huge when he touched the fire to its food, because they were lovers desperate to consume one another. Was there anything more beautiful, more pure? It was purer, even, than the ferocious orgasm that pulled him to his knees and made him weep like a drunkard. The physical joy was nothing compared to the fierceness of the devouring flames, chewing, swallowing, spitting away the rubble in a vomit of smoke and black ash. Oh, to be that fire, and to be so fulfilled, so completely sated.
For a time.