I think I need a new name, he thought to himself as he sat down on the overlook he had just found.  He let his legs hang off the side and swung his bare feet back and forth like a child on a porch swing. A passerby might have mistaken him for some carefree spirit pondering the small nothings of a simple life, but, alas, there were no more passersby.  And carefree, he was not, for he was nothing.  He had nothing.  He felt nothing.  He felt nothing unless the fire was upon him, and he had no desire to call it forth.  He loathed it.  If ever he was capable of feeling anything at all, he was certain that he would hate the fire.

Maybe I should just let them have me.

He thought for a while about a name.  His old name was meaningless in this new world.  He had nothing.  His purpose had been taken.  His will.  His ambition.  His love.  He was nothing more than a rotting pile of apathy wandering aimlessly waiting to die.

Apathy.  That might be a good name.  Apathy.  No, even that is too much.  Nobody?  Nothing?  None?  Fuckface?  Dead Stupid Pathetic Empty Jackass?  Ugh.

He could see the city from that overlook, and it seemed almost normal, the barren chaos that it had become notwithstanding.  He dared not let his mind wander, so he began to imagine he could see little people in the far-off city, like little ants leading little lives.  Over there was a banker granting a mortgage to a newlywed couple for a tiny house just outside the city.  And over by the apartment were children playing some kind of game in the street while poor little Johnny sat by himself off to the side because nobody ever picked him for a team.  Oh, and there in the window was a man and woman arguing over what to get for dinner.  And next door, another man and woman arguing over a recent infidelity even though they were both guilty of it on multiple occasions and neither would ever leave the other. He looked over to the park in the distance and imagined a man stabbing a woman over and over again and he wondered if there would ever be enough holes in the woman for the man to be satisfied.

Damn it all.  He would find no peace.  It had been weeks since peace had left the world, and it was not returning.  And now they were coming.  He didn’t know how he always knew, and he didn’t really care enough to think about it.  His quiet respite would soon be interrupted, yet again.  He sighed.

It was almost second nature at that point, summoning the fire.  He called it from somewhere behind the pit of his stomach, deep in the recesses of himself.  He could not think of words to describe it.  He did not know why it was there.  He did not know why he could summon it.  But summon it, he did; for they were upon him.

The first to reach him grasped out and found nothing but air where he had once sat.  The fire had given him speed and in an instant, he was on the opposite side of them. They turned immediately toward him as if they had been expecting his sudden teleportation.  But he cared not for their expectation, and he let loose his fire.

A giant torrent of flame erupted toward them, yet still, they came at him, slowed but only a little.  And then, like always, the fire brought that damned emotion with it and his emptiness pierced his heart and he cried out to them.

“You have taken everything!  You have taken everyone!”

As if a dam had burst inside him, his flames poured forth with even greater intensity, and they began to melt and burn.

“You took my mother!”

They could no longer move forward for the force of his flames.  They still struggled toward him despite their inevitable demise.  Pieces of them melted into entrails of molten goo whilst other pieces burned to ash and dissipated into the gale of his fire. Yet, they did not cry out.  They did not falter.  Then all sensation became lost to him and he could only pay heed to his loss and his nothingness.

“You took my Samson!  You took my Persephone!”

Tears welled in his eyes and he could no longer see.  The flames turned white and illuminated the sky.


What remained of their forms began to disintegrate entirely.  Every bit was reduced to char and ash, even the molten goo, but the flames did not quell.  Even when nothing at all remained, the flames did not relent.  He found himself laughing, giddy on the raw emotion the fire had brought with it.

Am I enjoying this?

And with that thought, the spell was broken, and he released his fire and sat where he had been standing, still giggling to himself, in spite of the emotional vacuum left behind after releasing the fire.  So I am nothing and I have nothing and now I’m high on that damn fucking fire.  I couldn’t even turn the stupid thing off when there was exactly zero percent of the things left, not even a toe, not even a single bit of ash.  He smirked.  Ha!  I think I’ve just thought of the perfect name.

Alice Thorn

Even after a year, the castle still felt like home.  Having just stepped in the forward break in the wall, she took a moment to absorb the nostalgic emanations of her old home. An overabundance of kudzu and moss still covered the majority of the stonework and the same familiar crumbling walls and breaks in the ceiling greeted her eyes.  She smiled.  She didn’t even mind the mustiness or the heavy dew permeating the air.  On the contrary, she welcomed the old smells and smiled even brighter.

She turned her eyes upward toward the single remaining battlement where her training had begun.  For a moment, she became transfixed by old memories.  She had been so carefree then.  Even at the beginning, she had known what was coming, but at the time, it seemed so far away.  Her training was the solitary thing she had desired since she met her Master, and really the only thing she had ever dared to desire in her lifetime. She had been happy for the first time in her short, miserable existence.

She snapped her eyes back in front and found her old throne, as she had called it, though that wasn’t even close to what it really was.  She didn’t have time to reminisce.  She had a purpose in coming back here.  She somehow knew that it should begin in this place, and she also somehow knew that it was almost time.

They were coming.

She strode forth to sit on her throne, which was really nothing more than a broken stone that sort of resembled a chair with one armrest, and when she did so, she immediately felt their presence.  Suddenly, she realized she was afraid.  Doubts plagued her thoughts and she began to tremble.  Was she ready?  Was she destined to die here?  These were things never-before-seen in this world; was it even possible to be ready?  Her heartbeat thrummed in her ears and she found it impossible to keep her hands from shaking. She took her sword in both hands and attempted to grip it only to find that she could not. Tears welled in her eyes as the fear took over her senses and her heartbeat throbbed from her face to the back of her neck.  She could barely breathe.  They were close.

She forced herself to take a deep breath and Master’s words formed in the back of her mind. “Fear can be harnessed, shaped, and directed toward whatever you so choose.  As can all emotion, be it anger, love, hate, envy, lust, and so on. In fact, the greater the emotion, the more energy that can be harnessed from it.  You have strong emotions, as clearly evidenced by your non-stop crying just a few weeks ago (he’ll never let me live that down), and you must learn to use them.  Do not allow your emotion to control you.  Rather, let it spill forth in the direction you have need of it.  Let your anger fuel your desire for goodness.  Let your fear fuel your offense.  Let your pride fuel your defense. Let your determination fuel your speed.  Do not be afraid to experience emotion.  Indeed you should seek to raise it ever higher.”

She took another breath and waited.  She could hear them now; some climbing the walls, some peering over the breaks in the ceiling, some at the breaks in the wall.  Their raspy breath and incoherent mutterings could be heard like whispers from all directions.  She closed her eyes and allowed her fear to overcome until it drowned out her heartbeat and the whispers and she could no longer see despite her open eyes.  Then she took hold of it, shaped it, and channeled it into the pit of her stomach.  She had found her resolve.

She stood and brandished her sword as she poured her spirit into her hands and into her blade.  A bright blue light burst forth from the blade illuminating the tiny inner castle.  She could see them now.  She would prevail.

She held her glowing blade aloft and cried, “I am Alice Thorn! And I am ready! Come.”