The Pyre, or Farewell to Dawn
He stood behind the dense phalanx of firs at the forest edge, watching the thick gray smoke billow tempestuously into the cobalt sky as the first whispers of dawn crept over the mountains. The specters of curtains and loose papers wisped seductively in the scorched window frames like glimpses of veiled dancers tempting him in the still dark. Soon the second story would collapse in on the first, leaving an ashen burial mound atop the foundations they’d built together. He thought he could hear a faint, impossible whisper amidst the cracklings, but left it behind and turned, entering the wilderness.