“Phoenix,” she breathed. 

      And her eyes began to alight. At first Steaph thought it was just the fire, but this was no mere reflection. This was true; a well of power so deep within her flawless mind that neither blanket of smoke nor sheet of flame could conquer. The eyes of Phoenix shone a deep pine with motes of cerulean flitting about like faes in a forest. Then she began to dissolve.

      From her little fingers and smaller toes, bits of flesh disappeared in flakes of faint white light. Piece by piece she fell away, to where none could say. Safety. Bring my baby to safety. The translucent remnants of her being scattered, drifting almost aimlessly in all directions from her small form.  Steaph knelt, in partial reverence and disbelief of her own vision. She knelt before an altar of inferno. Phoenix was naught but chest and head now, weighing almost nothing to Steaph’s exhausted arms. She bent to kiss her babe one last time.

      Then Phoenix was gone. She did not know how long it lasted. It did not matter. It was time. Still kneeling, Steaph looked towards the ceiling into a roiling pitch sea of smog and soot. She beheld the fire, somehow stagnant, as if in contemplation of what it had just witnessed. She felt both were watching her, still within their natural paths, bending the laws of the world to pause and observe her self-destructing apotheosis.

        She rose to her feet, immersing her head into darkness. She did not wait for suffocation. Steaph walked forward, into the searing blaze of flame, and fell into fire as if it were the bed of a long-forgotten lover.   

The End

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