He opened his eyes to find himself desolate and alone. His face, pressed against the hard, black sand left tiny imprints on his face as he pushed himself up. When he finally got to his bare feet, he brushed off the remaining grains off his body. With one sweeping glance, he observed with sickening dread, that he was lost. No, that's not true. He knew that this where he would end. The land was desolate, peppered with remains of vessels that met untimely ends. As far as he could see, there was no escape and the large, blood red sun was at its zenith. There was no time; if he didn't find safe haven soon in one of these metal corpses, he was as good as dead.

He turned and to his thinly veiled disbelief, a creature stood in front of him. His heart pounding almost audibly, he refrained to run. There was no point. The phoenix was at least three heads taller than him. Covered from head to tail with fire feathers, each plume radiated heat with an intensity that made him step back. The colors ranged from the tip of his tail to his head; a blazing motley of red, orange and yellows that broke off into tiny embers. His eyes were glowing obsidian; a blackness that extended beyond the end of time.

The beautiful and terrifying being lifted his great head and let out a screech that traveled to the ends of the wasteland. He looked at the mortal and spread his wings around him; pushing him closer to his smoldering breast.

The man gave no inclination to escape for he knew that any attempt was for naught. Instead, he let the being enfold him into its fiery embrace. He let the being hold him, painfully aware of the blaze that covered him head to toe, catching on his clothes, hair; anything that was once his. His air was stolen by the flames and his coursing blood leaked down his hands, chest and neck.

 In those last moments, he gazed into the phoenix's eyes and realized that they weren't a void as he once thought. Instead, millions of glowing stars, planets, galaxies beaded the surface. There was knowledge present in those eyes that the man knew he could never comprehend. Grief and joy. Life and death and vice versa. Beauty from ashes. Passionate, jealous love that conquered the darkest, most cruel hate. Anything and everything. Alpha and Omega.

As the phoenix encircled him, his flames burned away the past like paper. The Mistakes. Pain. Hatred. Lies. Guilt. Sorrow. Taken to the air like smoke.

There was nothing left. Nothing but Rebirth.



The End

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