David closed his eyes and lifted his face skyward, letting the drifting ash from the burning building caress his cheeks.  An expression of joy spread slowly across his features as heat from the blaze warmed his body and each breath filled his lungs with delightfully acrid smoke.  He had prayed to the flames for freedom, and they had answered, consuming the rooms and corridors of his prison like the sunrise burning away a morning fog.

He had tried to warn his captors what would happen if they did not release him, but they had mocked him instead, calling him “Schizo” and “Firebug,” laughing while they pumped him full of Haloperidol and strapped him to a bed.  Now they were nothing but greasy tufts of ash tickling his face and clotting his eyelashes.

They should have listened.

David turned his smile away from the building’s warmth and opened his eyes to the horizon, where the eastern sky slowly blackened as twilight deepened.  He shoved his hands into the pockets of his thin hospital pants and began walking.  He had work to do.  The sinister evening plotted to wrap the world in darkness, and only David’s prayers could banish the awful night.


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