I wasn’t always this way. I led a normal life. I was perfectly happy before. I was even married. Yes, believe it or not, I had a wife. Oh, how I miss her dearly. I wish that I could take this curse from my life, but it will not leave. I wish that it had never come, never chosen me, but it’s here and it’s a part of me. I must deal with it as I go about my day and I must learn to pay the consequences.
This curse…the curse of the phoenix.
I rest on this bed with deep guilt in my heart. I once had a life. A life with color added to the white sheets in which I now sleep, a life with curtains upon the small window that I stare out of every day, and a life in which I could live myself without someone locking me in a room and assisting me. I never needed therapists or psychiatrists before. I never thought that I would end up here, in this room. I’m not crazy, and I don’t need to be in this place. However I say it, though, nobody will listen. Nobody will believe me.
About a year ago, I was just out of college and planned to start working in the construction industry. I planned to be an architect and I hoped to someday build the house that my wife and I would live in. Until then, we were living in a decent-sized house in Minnesota. She was already in work as a teacher as I worked hard at my dream.
It happened quite suddenly actually.
Resting on the couch in our living room, it was a cold winter night and I was staring into the fire burning within our fireplace. I’ve come to hate fire now, how it’s come to control my life. It urges me to destroy things, and I must obey. Fire burns in my soul and will control me as it wishes. It’s left my life in ashes and has left me with no one to turn to.
The fire cracked and snapped as I was just starting to fall asleep. I remembered that I should put out the fire before going to bed and stood up from the couch and walked drowsily to the stone hearth. As I crouched to put out the fire, I remember seeing a figure within it. I thought that I’d already halfway fallen asleep and wasn’t seeing clearly until a noise followed. It sounded like a bird calling from miles away, like a hawk almost.
I peered closer into the fire and jumped back when the figure of a bird suddenly emerged from the flames and stared directly into my eyes. I stared in reply with a deep silence. Its wings were engulfed in flames and showered flickers and sparks. Its cry sounded like the cry of an hawk mixed with the snap of fire and its eyes were empty with darkness. It had a fairly short beak with sharp edges and feathers frilled out of the top of its head.
A new feeling ignited within me that I had never felt before. A deep feeling of heat burned within me and felt as if it was controlling me. I needed to burn something. Fire was raging within me. The phoenix had introduced me to a new feeling. The power of fire was now clear to me. I had to use it. This feeling brought new energy to me, diminishing the tired feeling from my body. I felt as awake as ever, but I soon blacked out unexpectedly.
As I slept in emptiness, the feeling of fire taunted my dreams. As a pyro might dream, I saw fire emerging over the Earth. I was helping it spread as the phoenix watched from above. It soared through the air as it left a trail of fire from its wings and tail. It looked as if the end of the world was near, and I had brought it. This was not how I wanted to be! This wasn’t me! I wasn’t like this!
I awoke suddenly with fear in my eyes. I took in my surroundings and noticed that I was in an unfamiliar place. I was handcuffed to a wooden chair in the middle of a small room. There was a tall man leaning against the wall that walked up to me when he noticed that I had awoken. His eyes were the gray of night with no life expressed in them, and he had skin to match. He was old and looked dull wearing an unsaturated suit. Wrinkles poured down the stern expression on his face as he walked up to me with a firm step and questioned, “Why’d you burn down that house?”
It was so sudden and abrupt that I jumped in surprise. “What house? What are you talking about? Where am I? Where’s my wife?” I glanced around wildly trying to find some answers, however I found nothing but the white of the walls.
I’ve grown to hate the color white, as it’s all that I see now, here in my room in this hospital. There’s white on my bed and splashed on the walls. I’m forced to wear white, as it’s to soothe me. Nothing can soothe me now. My life is already gone.
“Why, you don’t know? You don’t even know what you’ve done?” the man replied with a snicker in his voice. “Your house is gone. Your wife is gone. You’ve destroyed everything! Burned it all to the ground! Why? I don’t know. That’s what I am trying to figure out. Why did you?”
Thoughts raced through my head. Was this all true? Was everything I loved gone? “No, that’s not possible!” I screamed. “What have I done? I-I don’t remember…No! It can’t be!” Random words spilled from my mouth without thought as I began to lose control. How could this have happened?
Later, I was led out of the room down a long, empty hall. I remember passing a man who was beginning to light his cigarette. He had it hanging loosely from his mouth with the lighter up to his face. When I heard the click, the fire within me ignited once more. I saw the phoenix emerge from the tiny flame and it told me in my mind what I must do. I must bring fiery destruction to this world. I must burn and destroy. I tried to fight the feeling, but it was too strong. Then I lost control.
I’ve lived here ever since. I heard that I destroyed that building along with my life and that I was immediately placed here. How can I live on like this? I have nothing to look forward to, and no one to hold dear.
People make sure that I’m kept far from fire, as they all think that I’m a crazy pyro. That’s not true, though! I know of the curse. I know of the fiery feeling that burns within me whenever a flame meets my eyes. The phoenix has taunted me, and I know what it plans. It uses innocent, helpless people to help burn the world. There is no such thing as pyros. It’s all a curse. They’ve all been cursed! A curse that cannot be asked for. A curse that cannot be taken away. A curse that ruins lives.
This curse…the curse of the phoenix.