The sky was blue, they assumed, as it was when the clouds were fewer. But today, the clouds covered it in a thick grey blanket. No sun broke through. The air was chilled; the mood dull. The clouds had been unceasing, hiding all beyond them for well over a month. And still, no rain fell.
Children gave keening cries for the lack of warmth, for the lack of the golden sunshine. The babies being born did not, however, for they knew neither the warmth nor the sparkling light. Lovers sighed against each other, staring forlornly at the browning grass, the fading flowers.
Violent acts rose in numbers as the cold and dreary half-light endured. Some, easily excitable, screeched that it was the end of the world, and God’s wrath was upon them all, as dark clouds roiled overhead.
Weeks more passed, then months, until it had been a year since any had seen the sky. Children no longer cried, for many had forgotten the beauty of that great ball of flame.
A single spark fell from two branches, dead and dry, rubbing together. Below them lay what was once a garden, now brown and shriveled. The spark caught; the garden ignited; fire spurted into being and upward.
A young woman watched the blaze, mesmerized by its sun-like glow. The fire grew, moving to engulf a tree, then another, then another. The inferno reached for the clouds, climbing higher. No one contested the reaching flames, dazed as they were by their incredible light. Small children picked out shapes in the flickering dance of shadow and light as they once had in the clouds above their heads: a panther, a ship, a face, a rabbit, a wolf.
The real creatures were long gone; only the roaring bear of heat and hunger remained. It consumed all before it, racing up hills and leaving a carpet of black ash in its wake. The fire thundered up a mountain, but died when the trees ended. With nothing more to burn, the fire faded into nothing more than a dark haze.
When the smoke cleared, people began to shout. The sky! The sky! The sun! The weeks-long fire had burned not only the ground, but the clouds. The clouds were gone! Such a beautiful sight none had ever seen. Blue, blue sky and that glorious gold circle that hung in the air to give life.
This, they agreed, had to be heaven.



Spokane, United States

  • Artist

Artist's Description

Contemplating light and darkness, fire and rebirth and death

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