(originally posted September 12th, 2014)

They set the ocean on fire. The inks of navy and aquamarine and cerulean ignited and dissolved into flame that had no center, no core of neon blue energy. No cool spectrum remained, only the flares flipping into the air like beggars’ hands. An anguish articulated only by the crackle of burning groaned throughout the night.

At some point, the blaze died, leaving behind igneous rock where the water had been. The crust fissured in spots, spraying out steam and the occasional spark, a remnant from the arson. Ridges formed in spinal alignment, landslides revealed bulging cliffs indicating a head. The obsidian womb sloughed itself off more and more down bottomless ravines, leaving the cast of an embryo lying on a monolithic platform.

The sun baked the outline of toes, fingers, and tucked-in jaw until the stony coating changed to limestone. A storm came, not of rain, but of acid that sizzled against the fetus’s brow, against its buttocks and the nape of its neck. The acidic gusts whipped about in tornadic tantrums, melting the side of the fetus’s pedestal until it buckled and collapsed, sending its burden into an eternal tumble.

The gravitational force had a molasses consistency, making the fetus’s somersaults slow in their spin as if on a sticky, invisible axis. The torque threatened to rip the child apart, but it staid huddled and unaware of its danger.

Somewhere else, the arsonists high-fived themselves over their misdeed, and got drunk through suckling out old alcohol from each other’s blood in a perpetual cycle of cannibalistic inebriation. Let them. The embryo will shrink and shrink until finally reaching a size worthy of birth. With a cry, the infant will spittle up a pond that turns into a lake that turns into a sea. Let the pyromaniacs remain unaware of their futility as the baby grows into an adolescent. Warmth incubates life, and let the firestarters fool themselves into thinking they’re not fertilizers of the very thing they tried to destroy.

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