Midnight. A light wind swayed the trees from side to side, lulling the animals to sleep. In the black, almost cloudless sky, the full moon was visible, surrounded by countless stars, twinkling blue, red, purple, flooding the sky with multicoloured radiances that swayed, jumped, danced… Lived their ununderstandable, mysterious, starry life.
And what do we understand? We’ve been through centuries of wars, killing each other’s mothers and wives, robbing our children of their parents, stealing everyone’s peace, happiness, hope and future, but for what?… We are all cursed, like the dark folk who only live to be livestock to be fed to the machinery. But I’m probably wrong… Just as bad as everyone is. Humanum errare est, after all. And nobody’s point of view is perfect.
The pieces of the old sawn-down tree, which bloomed recently in its last year of life, crackled in the fire, fueling the flame more strongly, forcing it to live and breathe, calling the spirits of the fire that had long left this world, whom no one had seen for long ago.
Near the fire laid the guy; he was dressed simply: some dark raincoat, which did not even cover him completely, under it a simple vest, a shirt, ordinary rag pants without any frills.
His face was thoughtful, a little sad. Thoughts of home frightened him away; he tried to hit them, to make them go away as if they were pestering summer insects.
He looked up at the stars that had lived thousands of years before him and would live millions of years after… There is no eternity anyway.
Heat. Heat rose from the fire, its bright, orange-red light warming the ground around it. The guy was squinting contentedly. He was alone. And it was clearly not the first time that he was alone.
The guy pulled his hands out from under his head, bent over, and reached for his feet, which were lying near the fire.
“Hot …” he said, almost inaudibly.
The guy lay down again. The clicking of the wood was heard further. Calm, serene silence, unity with nature … Wonderful. Good. Thoughts of home flashed through his mind again, and he grinned, stood up, and shouted into the distance: “I’ll never ever go back there, do you hear?!” his voice boomed out. “Do you hear me?!”
He shouted louder and louder, laughing harder and harder until his ribs hurt, but he continued to laugh hysterically. There was a sinister, manic smile on his face. The guy raised his hands to the sky began to run around the fire without ceasing to make a devilish laugh.
The mountains around him did not cease to exist; their mighty summits looked at the boy in the forest from the top as if they knew that soon all this nightmare would end…
“I won’t forgive you! I won’t forgive you all! Burn, burn in hell!” the boy became totally hysterical.
Suddenly a tree swayed beside him. The guy whirled around. But there was no one there. He stood up, walked around the tree on all sides, and looked into the distance… But still nobody.
“Have I imagined it?…” he asked the void softly.
It didn’t answer. The boy sighed, put on his jacket, added more wood, and looked at the fire again. The flames grew brighter and stronger.
The sparks darted from side to side in a dance unknown to anyone but themselves. The crackling grew louder and then quieter, and the heat became a heat that seemed to come to our world from somebody’s infernal fantasies. The dance of sparks accelerated, hundreds of lights rising into the air again and again.
The boy looked up at the sky. Something strange started happening. The wind howled with renewed force, turning into a terrible hurricane, the trees began to tear off branches, the fire became a disaster that covered everything with its light. And the stars … the stars themselves began to dance… and began to fall one by one.
But at one point, a loud bang sounded in the air, and… A piece of the moon fell, shining blue into the void of the universe. It flew down with great speed, passing through the clouds. And the boy realized that the moonstone was flying straight at him.
The fire was not going to back off. It became brighter than the moon at night, more colourful than the Sun at day, more luminous than a thousand stars. It absorbed everything. The trees began to burn all around, and there was no turning back. The guy was surrounded; he was trapped by the flame.
“Goodbye, terrible… But, at the same time, wonderful… world.”, said the boy and stepped right into the fire.