The king made the fires in his furnaces as hot as his rage. He ordered them to burn seven times hotter than normal. The stone housing was red hot and seemed on the brink of birthing a new sun for the sky. Several of his men had died setting the blaze. The king did not care. His focus, his purpose, his demonstration, was fixated on the three men who had defied him.
A crowd gathered at a safe distance. They were silent. The king felt the heat pouring from the stone furnace, it made him sweat under his gold crown laced with jewels. Fear saturated his guards, and the crowd. The three men awaiting execution, stood, looking at the blaze as if they were watching the sun rise on a Thursday morning. The king didn’t understand why everyone but these few followed his orders. Everyone was to bow to his monument and honor him. Today, these three would be examples. Betrayal would have consequences. He poured his anger out in shouting, in hitting, and in fire.
The three men were still not afraid. They spoke calmly to the angry king. Their belief in what they stood for, and would not bow for, was so simple and perfect in their minds that they welcomed their fate. To yield to the king, would negate the value of what they believed in. The value of that belief was worth more than their lives.
So, they were thrown into the blaze. The fire grew into a sifting, swirling mass. The crowd seemed to hear it growl and hiss. An abstract vision of a dragons ghost. Heat and rage twist and writhe out of its formless body. Yet, the fiery creature does not devour the three men. They stand in its belly, as if they were standing on cool windy beach.
The king, had many times seen his furnaces lick the skin off of people. Lives were reduced to a scream, ash, and smoke. The three men, that he meant to kill today, did not die. He could see them walking around in the fire, but now there were four.
Beliefs, if they are true, can never be burned.
Copyright © 2017 Zachary W Gilbert