Vanity in the Bonfire

Beneath that column of smoke in the distance is a building fire, an engine crew, a little piece of hell. Inside that building, impossibly hot, labyrinthine, and dark, is a firefighter crawling through ash, embers, a thousand ordinary objects displaced.

There is a recall on the radio. The rescuer starts to leave but sees another firefighter’s light bobbing and shining at him from deep in the fire. The radio crackles with news of a lost brother amongst a cacophony of confused voices. Gut check and a fleeting thought for braces, shoes, and college tuitions.

Deeper into the fire the beast roars, the smoke thickens, the heat is all. He sees the victim now, the charred and costumed quixotic fool! Their future is now certain and intertwined. He reaches for the lost soul and touches the reality of his death. It is a mirror, he is Narcissus, and all is vanity.

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