Blood of Rome
What is it about fire that fills our kind with such dread?
I have, although it near cost me my sanity, thrust my own hand into the flames of the torch I keep in my ‘laboratory’. The pain was dreadful and, for a moment, I feared that its tongues would spread up my arm as if up an oil soaked rag. Looking now, however, I see that while I am, I think, more susceptible to the flames now than I was as a man, this fear was unfounded. I am not some creature of wood and tinder ready to be set alight by the merest spark.
So, why do I fear it so?
Certainly it is unpleasant. But is it any worse for me than it would be for a normal man? I suspect that it is not. Yes, the pain the flames cause me is, I think, greater than it was before my new life began but, looking now at my hand, I see that the burns are almost healed and my hand is as it was before – youthful and unmarked.
A man who had received such burns would never recover fully. The melted skin would remain, white and waxy, restricting the fingers movements and the pain would recur with each movement. I have seen men decades after receiving their burns still in pain and others who have died from the pain of burns that threatened no organ.
I conclude, therefore, that I have less to fear from fire than a man. Fire may kill me but so may it a man (and, in truth more die from breathing smoke – which I need not fear). Further, if I survive then I will recover fully no matter how bad the wounds.
So, why should I fear it so much more than a man does? In his hand it is a tool like any other and our inability to use it limits us and makes us less than we should be. I am drawn once more to my theory that we fear the fire because we believe in our own immorality and see it as a cleansing force.
I am not some creature of darkness that needs to be cleansed.
I will not be afraid.