The Fire Has Gone Out by Jack CJ Stark

“Never let the fire go out!”

That was the only command I heard from the Lord. He became Lord at 14, and remained there through all his years. He was Lord in title only. “The Unaware,” is what the peasants referred to him as. They laughed at him. They faked laughter with him. His castle crumbled around him. Patched up with twigs and mud. His rivers ran dry and his lands stopped producing. His aids worked day and night to keep it out of his view. To keep him distracted. They piled up Fool’s Gold to fool the fool.

“Never let the fire go out!”

He was not as unaware as he appeared to be, though. He saw his surroundings. He knew. He was too proud to ever admit it. Proud, or stupid? I’m not sure which. He distracted himself by drinking fruits.
“Never let the fire go out!”

I had only been working in the castle for two moons before I killed him. I didn’t mean to. I was working through the night. I was on fire duty. I hated fire duty. My job was to keep the fire lit, heating an empty room, and wasting fuel. It was his command. We were not to question it. But I dozed, for just two blinks, that’s all! It was enough for the fire to go out.

“The fire has gone out!”

Those that witnessed it said he burned from inside his pot belly out. The flames came from within him. The fire consumed his bed chambers, the hallways, the great hall, and everything around. By the time the flames settled down, nothing but ash remained. The ensuing power struggle caused the sky to fall, and soon we will all burn. Only this time, from the outside in.

All because I let the fire go out.


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Jack CJ Stark
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