As I was leaving my house in the afternoon, sending a quick habitual
glance at the sky, I noticed that the world was set ablaze: the clouds on
the horizon were flickering in a bright orange, reflecting the light of the
flames. I was immediately fascinated, although my interest is not easily
aroused these days; and this alone made me lighten up.
To get a better view, I left the door, walking a few steps down the driveway,
and wondered how this had been achieved. I myself had occasionally pondered the
possibility, but some altogether unreasonable urge or fear had always disrupted
such thoughts. Quite a folly, really. Now I could only watch.
I had arrived at a spot with a fine view, and so stopped to gaze at the clouds.
Seemingly, the fire was consuming the rear of the backdrop right now.
It would take some time still to make its way to the stage. I decided to abandon
the mundane matters that I had meant to attend to, and to remain where I stood to
watch this spectacle. The burning of mundus, in such a lovely orange hue even,
made taking care of them seem slightly ridiculous, or reeking of grandeur. I
could not decide which it was, but was in no mood to miss this sight for either.
I remembered having read that there usually is a draft in the direction
of a fire, so I decided to check the wind, and spat on my index finger.
I have often seen people lick at their fingers for that, but my hands did not
seem clean to me, as I had left the house, and I had always found that practice
to be disgustingly unhygienic, not to mention that salty taste... Oh, but I digress. I shook off some drops of saliva, and extended my arm. There was
indeed a wind in the direction of the light, but it was only a moderate breeze
yet, and there also was not much noise to be heard.
"What a pity about all that decoration", I could not help but think. That
azure sky had surely been expensive, with such a brilliant color, so
smooth, and above all so large. And, of course, the clouds, sometimes
so delicately wrought and so subtly structured, that one might be tempted
to lose oneself in the beauty of their keen brush strokes. From the
ground, it had always seemed that they would burn quickly, that, once
scorched, the flame would race through them, while the heat would make
them shrivel like cotton candy. After only a few seconds, nothing would be
left but one gust full of ashes.
The sky, on the other hand, seemed to be much heavier. It would burn
slowly, start to sag, and then probably melt. I imagined large blue drops
stained black by the fire, miscolored sealing wax, splotching down on all
the set pieces arranged around me. And grinned: most of them were trite or
ugly. In fact, it seemed that the longer the time the decorators had bothered
with them, the more dreary they were.
Of course, they would all turn into smoldering puddles quite alike, after
twisting in obtuse angles and bubbling until they were surreal, intriguing,
oddly beautiful caricatures of their former appearance, and finally sinking
The fate of the sun would be the most interesting. Would it curl up and fall
down, or maybe crack?
While I was standing in thought, the conflagration had approached more
quickly than I had anticipated; a powerful roar could be heard, a headache-inducing stench filled the air, and the heat became palpable. Before the fire,
which was now visible directly, a pasty liquid had accumulated, dark,
reminiscent of tar; and above, a cloud sizzled, mostly obscured by wads of
smoke, unhurriedly contrary to my guess.
I wiped the grin from my face, and decided to go back inside and move the easy chair close to the window.